A large part of reviewing and approving grant proposals for funding is subjective on the part of the foundation. But there are some guaranteed ways to get your grant proposal rejected.
Each foundation brings its own perspective to solving the world’s problems. Some want to address immediate needs, for example, while others hope to address root problems. In this way, your proposal might be a good fit for one foundation and a terrible match for another. You should always carefully read the proposal guidelines. And you can even contact the foundation if you’re unsure of something. This is also a great tactic for getting your foot in the door if you haven’t applied with that funder in the past.
But there are some guaranteed red flags for any foundation, which almost always lead to grant proposal rejection. These include:
- Weak financials. If you have a singular income stream or are running a deficit, the foundation may have questions. Many want to see three years of financials. Without this, you may see your grant proposal rejected.
- Addressing your proposal to the wrong person. If you’re not sure who is on the receiving end, call the foundation and ask.
- Mismatching budget and activities. If you name activities in your proposal, they should be reflected in your budget. And budget items should follow logically from your proposal. Read our tips for matching your grant narrative to your budget.
- Unclear outcomes. Lay these out as succinctly and clearly as possible. Read our basics for writing goals and objectives. Without this aspect, you’ll certainly get your grant proposal rejected.
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