7 Tips for Successful Grant-Writing / 7 Reasons Why Your Proposals are Rejected

  1. Failure to follow directions – When the funder says no more than 10 pages, that doesn’t mean type in 8 point type to fit 14 pages into 10. When they have a deadline, you better believe they mean it.
  2. Bad math. Check and recheck your budget figures to make sure they’re correct. They also need to be realistic and consistent with the average size of a foundation’s grants.
  3. No plan for the future. You have to demonstrate a long-term plan; that you have prospects for future funding so the donor can feel its money was wisely invested.
  4. Wrong issue. Make sure you know a foundation’s area of interest (and disinterest) and don’t submit unless it’s a good match. And don’t just spout back their language – it’s got to fit.
  5. Not Klear & Compeling. Check your grammar, your spelling, make sure your writing is clear and compelling, with no bush league mistakes that will make you look unprofessional.
  6. Lack of clarity. Make sure you state clear goals and show the benefits of your program. Don’t just talk about problems; talk about solution, too.
  7. Being generic. Even if you’re sending your proposal to multiple funders, make sure it doesn’t look that way (every funder has a story of receiving a proposal with the wrong foundation name).
  8. Bonus tip — Tell a story. It’s a compelling way to make your case and make it real.
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