Why do good grant applications fail?

Why good grant applications fail.

Yes, every grant you write will not be funded.  That is a reality.  I know, you and I both wish that they were, but that’s not always the case.

According to The Fund Raising School at the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, these are some concrete reasons why foundations decline funding applications:

  • Failure of the applicant to follow foundation guidelines.
  • The project does not strike the reviewer as significant; statement of the project does not interest him or her.statement of the project does not interest him or her.
  • The applicant failed to include other prospective client groups in the planning of project goals.
  • The proposal is poorly written and hard to understand.
  • Proposal objectives do not meet goals of funding source.
  • Proposal budget is not within the range of funding available.
  • The funding source does not have confidence that the organization submitting the proposal can carry out proposed application activities.
  • Project objectives are too ambitious in scope
  • Proposal writer did not follow guidelines provided by the funding agency.
  • Evidence that the project can sustain itself beyond the life of the grant is insufficient.
  • Evaluation procedure is inadequate.

While it seems like this is enough to say it is not worth preparing proposals, it is.  Your organization must put in the time to research and adhere to the guidelines of each funding source.  Doing so will result in a much higher funding rate.  It behooves those who cannot do the proper research, or is unable to craft a detailed proposal, to outsource a particular proposal, or all of their grant writing needs to a professional.

A professional has the expertise to understand foundation priority areas, and can craft funding applications meeting the foundation’s requirements.  Also, professionals can propose collaborative partnerships that build confidence with funding sources increasing the rate of foundation success.

For more information about the grant writing services that I offer, check out a list of select winning proposals that I have written throughout my career.

Here are some more tips on preparing your proposal before it even goes out the door!


4 Responses to “Why do good grant applications fail?”

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  1. More and more, the failure to articulate and measure outcomes is a reason grant proposals are not getting funded. Fewer foundations are willing to fund one-off events/programs, and/or ‘quality of life’ programs.

  2. robinc says:

    Very true Carla. Thank you for your comment. A good lesson for those seeking “one-off” funding.

  3. Kayla DiNardo says:

    Interested in talking. I founded a non profit and wondered if you write grants on a commission basis
    Thank you

  4. robinc says:

    Hi Kayla,

    Thanks for your comment. I do write grants, but not on a commission basis. According to our professional standards, it is unethical to do so. Please contact me at rcabral@developmentconsultingsolutions.com, if you are interested in learning more.


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