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Why Was Your Grant Rejected?

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

Do you find rejection intriguing? Intrigue is an excellent mindset to have if you are applying for grants.

Let me explain.

Grant-seeking is a life of Acceptance and Rejection. Some of your grant requests will be approved; however, many more may be declined. What you do when this happens has an impact on your future win rate and your mindset.

When I get a yes, of course, I celebrate. But I get intrigued when I get a No. Why did they say No? Was it a program issue? Did the funder dislike something about the organization? Did the application not align with their values? Learn more about the five most common reasons for grant rejection here. Mostly, it's not these answers because our team creates a Targeted List of Funders and comprehensively reviews each grant opportunity using our Yes/No Framework.

So, what can you do when a grant opportunity is good fit and your application was still were declined? Then we go deeper. I have found a few possibilities by reviewing the organizations that did receive funding.

You can find the grant awardees using the grantmaker’s website, press release, and IRS 990 (tax return). Pro-tip charitable foundations are required to list the organizations they funded, the grant purpose and the grant amount on their annual tax return.

Based on the funder’s current giving, you may notice a trend. For example, they may love to give to grassroots organizations or nonprofits with revenue below $300,000- to 500,000.

They may have a geographic area where a large portion of funding goes that ties to their local community or Alma Mater.

Or you may notice they prefer to allocate more money towards one of their identified priority areas.

I love to pull back a layer of the onion to unveil the truth of a funder's motivations and intentions. Investigating who did and didn't receive funding is forensic evidence of their future actions- you have to follow the breadcrumbs.

This level of scrutiny is most helpful after you get a rejection from an organization that is a good fit. Grant funders always say they got a lot of applications. Your program is excellent, and please try again next year. It's up to you to look at the facts and determine if you should.

If you want to learn more about how Sidnae Global Research can help your nonprofit secure more grant WINS, please take our simple survey here, and we will get back to you within two business days.

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