5 reasons grant applications are rejected

There’s plenty of articles online about why grant applications are rejected. After reading through a number of them, we thought that this article by Canadian business support and financial management agency, Wave, provided a useful set of reasons why applications are unsuccessful.

1. The grant proposal didn’t meet the deadline

Grants have strict deadlines, so if you submitted your proposal late—even by a minute, that likely disqualifies you.

To help meet your deadlines going forward, try breaking down the project into smaller steps before you begin. Then you can do a little work every day leading up to the deadline, instead of trying to do it all at once.

Tip: Don’t forget to plan for deadlines..

2. Your proposal was too vague

When a grant funder gives away a lot of money, they want to know exactly how it’s going to be used. If your writing didn’t clearly spell out the organisation’s use of the funds, that likely contributed to your rejection.

Tip: For your next grant proposal, be specific and list measurable goals, so everyone knows exactly where the funds will go.

3. You included unrealistic plans

If your proposal was for a big, grandiose project, the funder might have doubted that your organisation would stick to the plan. It’s easy to talk big and make your plans sound amazing in a grant proposal. But if it’s not realistic, you won’t get the money.

Next time, describe in detail why your organisation is capable of pulling off the plans you propose. Be aware of anything that might sound too good to be true, and explain why it’s not.

Tip: Everyone wants to change the world. But, in terms of grant funding, you need to focus on a clear “how”. While your project may cause a ripple effect in the community, leave out these uncertain potentials from your proposal.

4. Your proposal didn’t match the goals of the funders

Funders typically have particular goals in mind when they award grant money. If your organisation’s plans for the grant money don’t align with the funder’s goals, your proposal is going to get rejected.

Tip: When looking at future grants to apply for, be honest with yourself about how much your visions match up. If they’re too different, it’s probably best to wait and find a grant that matches your plans better.

5. Your proposal didn’t follow the directions

Application directions for grants are notoriously tricky. And for a good reason; funders want to know you can follow instructions. If you can’t do what’s asked of you in an application, they won’t trust you to follow instructions for spending their money.

Tip: For your next grant proposal, read the guidelines multiple times. Then, come up with a plan early on to make sure you don’t miss a single thing.