How to Interpret a Grant Funder’s Rejection

Betsy Baker

In this guest post, our favorite grant writing coach, Betsy Baker, explains why you shouldn’t give up after your grant application has been rejected.  ~Kivi

Guest Post by Betsy Baker, President of Your Grant Authority.

Yes, I’ve been right there with you.  A grant funder that I was really excited about and just knew my organization had in the bag had the audacity to reject my application.  The nerve!

My husband can tell you that I ask “why” – a lot.  Some examples, “Dear, why didn’t you use the credit we had at Petco to buy the dog food?  Dear, why don’t you like to go shopping with me?  Dear, why did you buy white bread instead of wheat?”  Exciting stuff, huh?  But in any event, it’s in my nature to question something that doesn’t make sense to me.

So when this grant funder turned our application down I was determined to find out whySo I called and asked. And the answer both pleased and frustrated me.

It turns out the grant funder, in this case a local city government, was just finishing up a five-year plan.  In this plan were certain benchmarks and goals to be met.  They were funding local organizations with grant money to provide programs to help meet their goals and better the city.  Unfortunately, while our application was just right for meeting one of the goals, the funder was at the end of the five-year plan and that certain goal had already been met.  They had to fund other organizations to provide programs to meet other goals that had not yet been met.

The stinger was that my organization’s application received the highest score in the competition – yet we still weren’t funded.  We were encouraged to apply again next year and, lo and behold, when we did, we were awarded the full $75,000 request.  It was simply a matter of timing.

Don’t give up on a funder after just one rejection.  A funder’s pass can simply mean “not now” or “try us again with a different approach.” When I found out that my perfect application had been rejected, I could have given up right then and there never knowing why we were turned down.  I encourage you to please not do that!  Grant funders are happy to answer your questions about your applications – especially when you’ve researched the funder and know that your priorities are the same as theirs.

To learn more about building a winning grant program for your organization, or to add the skill of award-winning grant writer to your resume, be sure to check out my Grant Writing Bootcamp – a step-by-step, systematized and affordable training program that will have you writing winning grants in no time. Deadline to register is Tuesday, November 8, 2:00 pm Eastern.

Betsy Baker is President of YourGrantAuthority.com. She has a Master’s in Public Administration from Auburn University and is an author, trainer/coach, public speaker and grant writing consultant raising $10 million in grant funding. She is dedicated to demystifying the grant writing process and encouraging fund raisers to write winning grant applications. She also coaches fellow grant writers in becoming grant writing consultants.

Author: Kristina Leroux, Community Engagement Manager

I am the Community Engagement Manager at Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com.

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