Grant Application Denied? Maximize Your Potential for Success

So, your grant application was rejected. There are a lot of reasons grant proposals may be denied funding and most of them are because of simple mistakes. When you are learning to write grants there is quite a learning curve. Do not be surprised if your first or even your tenth grant proposal is not awarded. To illustrate, something as seemingly small as not checking eligibility can stop your application long before it begins. However, there are steps you can take after your grant is rejected to increase the chances of your next grant application being awarded. After all, perhaps the best way to move forward after a rejection is to learn why. Knowledge is power!

Top 8 Reasons Grant Applications Are Rejected

  1. You Are Not Eligible – First off, did you indeed apply for a grant you are eligible for? Each grant process is different and at the grant funder’s discretion. Thoroughly review the details of the grant including the eligibility requirements. Contact the grant funder if you need to ask for any specific details not listed.
  2. Deadline(s) Missed – You will not be considered for a grant if you submit your proposal after the deadline. Organize upcoming deadlines using the Grant Calendar feature. Keep in mind that often grant applications also require your organization to participate in an interview or submit an LOI. Keep track of these critical dates as well.
  3. You Proposed An Unrealistic Budget – Is your proposal realistic? Provide proof that the grant will provide a return on investment. Will your organization achieve your goals with the submitted budget?
  4. Poor Quality Of  Writing – Check your application for spelling and grammar mistakes. Ask individuals outside of your organization to read your application. Was it comprehensive? Did the reader understand your message?
  5. Format Guidelines Not Followed – Guidelines are in place to ensure grant funders can review applications thoroughly. Above all, follow directions.
  6. Cause Not Aligned – A common reason grant applications are rejected is due to the grant proposal not aligning with the funder’s mission. The best way to avoid your grant application being rejected for this reason is to research the funder before you apply.
  7. Missing Items – Did you include all of the required documents? For example, many grant applications require a budget and a mission statement to be included.
  8. Unable to Verify Your Organization’s Legitimacy – The grant funded will check for your organization’s legitimacy online. While this may not be a required item to apply, many organizations are overlooked without an online presence.

Contact The Funder 

Now that you are familiar with the most common reason for a grant application to be rejected, you will likely already know where your application fell short.  However, if you still have questions, believe it or not, contacting the funder is the most straightforward way to discover why your grant application was rejected. You can also place a classified ad to connect with a grant writer. When you contact the funder it is best to have your questions prepared beforehand. Below are helpful questions to ask a grant funder after your grant application is rejected.

1. “Do you think I should apply again?”

2. “Was there something I did wrong in my proposal?”

3. “Do you have any suggestions for where else I might apply?”

Improve Your Grant Application Process 

If you are not able to establish contact with a grant funder, do not give up. You can still make critical changes to your grant-seeking process that will improve your chances of being awarded a grant. For example, start by penciling in time to network and build relationships with decision-makers in your community. Then build a grant cycle by creating a list of other opportunities. You will naturally improve your grant writing skills with every application you submit. Practice makes perfect, and grant writing is no different.

How To Build A Grant Cycle

There is a limited amount of funding and grants are very competitive. Because of this, having a pipeline of grants to apply for is the best way to secure funding for your organization. Always keep applying! Build a personalized grant watchlist by using the My Grant Alerts to ensure you are aware of grants that pertain to your needs.

Refine Your Grant Searches

First off, you must find grants you are eligible for. Locate a grant with the SMART Advanced Search filter by searching for grants by recipient type, location, category interests, funding source type, and deadline date. On the grant detail page, you will see eligibility requirements, the deadline, the application, and more.

Research The Funder Before You Apply

Use GrantWatch’s 990 Finder and Foundation Search to locate nonprofit 990 reports. Learning how to Navigate 990 Reports document will help you ensure a grant is aligned with your cause.

Consider A Grant Writer

Now that you know how to apply for a grant, one question remains. Do you hire a grant writer to search for and apply for grants or do you apply for a grant on your own? Consider your writer as an extension of your organization. They will coach you throughout the entire process and curate the project to fit your needs. If you would like to hire a professional grant writer, visit and post a classified ad. By all means, be sure to vet your candidates. Subsequently, hire the individual who has the qualifications you desire. A good grant writer has industry knowledge, creativity, strong writing skills, and a proven track record.

About GrantWriterTeam

Are you a nonprofit or small business in need of some help? If you are searching for grants but are feeling overwhelmed, hiring a grant writer may be the perfect choice for you! Grant writers thoughtfully grant opportunities and consider the pros and cons of applying and the chance of success. Consider your writer an extension of your organization. They will coach you throughout the entire process and curate the project to fit your needs. Your grant-seeking success is our priority at GrantWriterTeam. Disclaimer: There is no guarantee that grants will be awarded as a result of this information.