Grant proposal writing is the “Go big or go home” of the fundraising world. When successful it can regenerate entire organisations and communities. When it goes wrong you have potential lost hundreds of hours of work and investment with very little to show for it.
The inherent risk of grant applications, especially in an increasingly competitive and professionalised environment, is that all of your work will be for nothing. Therefore it is perhaps surprising that when we receive a rejection letter from a grant making trust so many of us just accept it and move on. Is there something else that we could do that could mean that all those days and weeks aren’t lost?
Our experience actually shows that in some cases receiving a letter of rejection from a grant making foundation is not always the end of the road. We’ve compiled a series of actions you can take to revive your application if you receive the dreaded letter declining your proposal.
Contact the funder, ideally by telephone, to try to discover the reasons they have chosen not to support you. This insight can be invaluable and will help you to revise and improve your project for future applications.
Ask whether you would be able to visit their offices to discuss how the two organisations might be able to work together in the future. This will demonstrate a willingness to adapt as well as a commitment to working together that may provide dividends in the future.
Invite the funder to come and visit one of your best projects in action. Many funders love to escape their offices to go an witness exciting and innovative projects in action. If you can persuade them to visit and demonstrate the impact your work is making they are bound to remember you in the future.
Discuss with the funder whether they would be happy to receive a revised and amended application in the future. This is another opportunity for them to guide you on the way to creating a proposal that fits within their criteria. Conversely they may advise you that your project simply isn’t something they wish to pursue meaning you can move on to other targets.
(Ad) Are you still finding it difficult to search for donors online? Join Premium and use our powerful Donor Search mechanism to find relevant donors based on your country and location or keyword. Our specially developed algorithm will search across the internet for the most relevant and useful donors of your interest willing to fund your work. Learn more.
Engage the funder in a discussion around organisation, its beneficiaries and projects. Try to gain an insight as to whether there is another project or area that they are keen to learn more about that might be a better funding opportunity that your original proposal.
Propose that you keep them in touch with developments in your organisation and ask them if there is anything in particular they might be interested in learning about. The funding organisation may be concerned about a particular area of your NGO or project that they wish to monitor for progress for example.
(Ad) Not able to keep track of so may different grant opportunities and their deadlines? No problem! fundsforNGOs Premium has a handy tool called "Deadline Calendar." This tool will help you keep track of all upcoming grant opportunities and their deadlines and view them in a beautiful calendar format. Learn more.
What do you and your organisation do when your proposals are turned down? Share your experiences in the comments.
(Ad) Are you looking for readymade proposals? fundsforNGOs Premium has a vast collection of Sample Proposals from successful grantees around the world. These proposals are available for viewing so that you can quickly get new ideas, best practices, lessons learned and develop your proposal in the perfect manner. Learn more.
- FundsforNGOs collection of the best non-profit Associations
- NGO Management: Using Consultants in your Organisation
- Fundraising Essentials: Grant Fundraising Strategy Checklist
- Fundraising Essentials: Grant Exit Strategies
- Fundraising Essentials: Outcome Funding
- Fundraising Essentials: How to thank donors
- NGO Management: How to assemble a Board of Trustees