How to Deal With Grant Proposal Rejection

***This information pertains to proposals submitted to private grant making  foundations.

You have now lost count on how many proposals you have submitted on behalf of an organization. It is official. Your brain overheated and broke and is now oozing out of your ears. No sooner than you are able to recuperate, the rejection letters start pouring in. Some even delivered by pigeons and dropped directly on your head.

Dear “Fill in the Blank,”

We are not going to fund your proposal because we think you stink and have cooties.

Best Regards,

Entity that thinks you stink and have cooties.

Sound Familiar?

Yep. It’s ok. It’s does to me too.

This has even happened to me after an initial site visit from a Board President. For those of you that don’t know, board members contacting you to interrogate what you are about is a VERY good sign.

So, once this happens, and trust me it will, kindly deposit your paycheck into the swear jar and read what I think you need to do in the face of rejection…..besides find better words like “Jeepers (my new favorite,) Swell, and Shitake Mushroom. (Feel free to put more usable words in the comments section.)

Here is how you deal with grant proposal rejection.

First: If it is not stated in the letter, ask them what you did wrong. Some will be happy to give you feedback, some won’t. It’s the nature of the game.

Second: If you don’t receive feedback, what do you feel sabotaged your chances? Did you ask for too much? Did you not convey a precise mission, goals, time line, or baseline of measurement?

Third: I know you don’t want to think about it, but sometimes entities don’t receive the funding because of lack of transparency (this is a seriously relative term btw) or they may be some politics in the mix. Do you think that may have had something to do with it? Trust your gut feeling.

Fourth: Still stumped? Sweet Pea, your organization is not going to be what some people want to support and that is alright. I LOVE chocolate ice cream. I also know of people that hate it and I think they are crazy…. but….realize that you are just like chocolate ice cream. You are not for everyone.

Fifth: This is a seriously subjective and highly competitive process. Know that for every 30 “no’s,” you will get 1 “yes.”

So, go shoo the pigeons off your desk and keep moving. You are allowed to be mad and frustrated. For 1 day. I give you full permission. However, you are not allowed to unpack and stay in the land of ticked off.

Until next time,

Sarah C.

Bare Philanthropy LLC

PS- Make me proud and recycle rejection letters. They make AWESOME puppy training pads or birdcage liners.

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For more information on how to start and grow a nonprofit organization

Disclaimer ****The material appearing in this publication is for informational purposes only, and is not certified professional advice. Please do not act on any information contained herein without seeking competent professional counsel.

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