Why Grants Get Rejected

Nobody likes to get rejected.  Whether it is screwing up the courage to ask that special person to dance or deciding to write a grant proposal, the fear of rejection is always a possibility.  In this sado-masochistic world of grantseeking, no guarantees exist.  Nevertheless, it is a central question that every successful grantseeker must understand.

Why do some grant applications fail?

We pose this question in our grant writing workshops around the country.  We regularly hear these common reasons why proposals are turned down.

  • Bad ideas
  • Good ideas poorly presented
  • No documented need statement
  • Lack of measurable objectives
  • Target population not clearly identified
  • Methods not well thought out
  • Weak evaluation approach
  • Inadequate dissemination strategy
  • Inexperienced project director
  • A phantom collaboration
  • Failure to follow the guidelines
  • Poor budget justification

While we agree that each weakness would negatively impact a reviewer’s funding recommendation, our answer is “none of the above.”

The biggest reason why grant applications fail?  A lack of money.

That’s right.  Lack of money.  Grantmakers simply receive more quality proposals than they can fund.  Consequently, they must turn down strong proposals simply due to insufficient funding.

Knowing that finding is limited, your responsibility, as a grant writer, it to persuasively present great ideas that are well documented, who objectives are expressed in measurable terms that implement innovative methods to targeted audiences, with the resulting outcomes rigorously evaluated and widely disseminated to others stakeholders – all through a “lean and mean” budget.

That’s what our inaugural blog is all about:  offering you practical tips to win grants. We do this by sharing our cumulative 100 years of experience and as grant writers, workshop presenters, and frequent grant reviewers.

We practice what we teach.

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