Fundraise Well #11: Why didn't I get the grant?!



It can be the MOST frustrating thing: you spend weeks, days, and hours preparing and perfecting your grant proposal narrative--not to mention pulling together the umpteen required attachments and a line-item budget. You know that your proposal fits perfectly with the foundation's interests and you have created a very strong, competitive submission; now it's just a matter of getting the foundation to agree and give you a check! 

Weeks or even months later, the award letter arrives. Like college admission letters arriving in the mail, you try to decide whether the thin envelope is good or bad. You open it and--sigh. It's a no.

In this vlog, we offer four reasons why you didn't get the grant:

1. The odds are, unfortunately, against you. There are only so many foundation funds available for the 1.5 million nonprofits in the US.

2. Subjectivity. Many elements completely out of your control come into play when the foundation's review committee or board is making grant decisions.

3. Other proposals were stronger. This isn't to say that your proposal wasn't great, but maybe the reviewers liked another nonprofit or program slightly better than yours. Again, this is a pretty subjective element you cannot control or try to analyze too much.

4. You were further back in line. The foundation you applied to may already have a big chunk of their funds committed to existing grantees--which makes the small pool of available funds even smaller. 

Please don't be discouraged! Just remember that the competition for grants money is fierce, and a grant rejection usually does not mean that your program or project was unworthy. It just means that the foundation had some very tough decisions to make with limited resources. The good news about completing a grant proposal is that you now have tons of great details and content to rework for the next funder! So, get to it. :)

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