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The Ten Most Common Reasons Grants are Declined

  1. "The organization does not meet our priorities."
      Research thoroughly before applying.

  2. "The organization is not located in our geographic area of funding."
      Get the guidelines before applying, or at least check GrantSeeker.com or your grants guide.

  3. "The proposal does not follow our prescribed format."
      Read the application information very carefully and follow it exactly.

  4. "The proposal is poorly written and difficult to understand."
      Have friends and experienced people critique the grant before you submit it.

  5. "The proposed budget/grant request is not within our funding range."
      Look at average size of grants of the funder.

  6. "We don't know these people. Are they credible?"
      Set up an interview before submitting the proposal and have board members and other funded organizations help you establish a relationship and give you credibility.

  7. "The proposal doesn't seem urgent. I'm not sure it'll have an impact."
      Study the priorities and have a skilled writer do this section to make it "grab" the funder. Your aim is to sound urgent, but not in crisis.

  8. "The objectives and plan of action of the project greatly exceed the budget and timelines for implementation."
      Be realistic about the programs and budgets. Only promise what can realistically be delivered for the amount requested.

  9. "We've allocated all the money for this grant cycle."
      Don't take this personally. It is a fact of life. Try the next grant cycle. Next time, submit at least a month before the deadline to give ample opportunity for questions and a site visit.

  10. "There is not enough evidence that the program will become self-sufficient and sustain itself after the grant is completed."
      Add a section to the proposal on your plans for self-sufficiency and develop a long-term strategy.

Adapted from California Grants Guide, Grant Guides Plus, 2000.

Originally appeared in the Grantseeker.Com Learning Center Home Page.  



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Last revised 08/08/08

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