10 common reasons grant applications fail

We’ve been assessing grant applications for a range of grant-makers for many years at GRIN, including the National Lottery Community Fund, European grant programmes as well as local and UK-wide grant schemes.

Our experience is that between 20% and 25% of all applications fall at the first hurdle. The following list, published by Groundwork UK and based on the 10 most common reasons that funders report on why applications fail, pretty much ties in with our experience as grant assessors.

The 10 common reasons why grant applications fail, as reported by funders are:

1. The applicant is not eligible because of its legal form, lack of charity status, size or geographical remit.
2. Projects appear to be poorly planned.
3. Applicants do not present their project clearly and concisely on the application form.
4. The applicant fails to demonstrate that they meet the criteria.
5. Applications are made without monitoring and evaluation processes in place.
6. The budget is problematic and/or unconvincing
7. The applicant misses the deadline.
8. The application form is incomplete.
9. The supporting documents are incomplete, inaccurate, out-of-date, contradict the application form or are simply not enclosed, and
10. The applicant is asking for too much.

Groundwork has a really useful page on applying for grants, entitled “Tips On Applying for a Community Project Grant”, which includes the above list. The page can be found on the Groundwork website.