How to Respond to a Rejected Grant Proposal
Grant Proposal Tips

How to Respond to a Rejected Grant Proposal

How to respond to a rejected grant proposal if you encounter one as this article simplifies the steps you need to take.

Every organization, researcher, or individual who has pursued funding through grant applications has encountered the daunting prospect of rejection.

How to respond to rejected grant proposal
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Though it might feel like a setback, a rejected grant proposal doesn’t signify the end of the road. Quite the opposite, it provides an opportunity for constructive feedback, reassessment, and the creation of a stronger, more competitive application. But how do you effectively respond to a grant proposal rejection?

Understanding Grant Proposal Rejection

Before diving into the response strategy, it’s essential to understand that grant rejection is common. There are many reasons why a grant proposal might not be approved.

The proposal could have been out of scope, lacked a compelling narrative, or simply faced stiff competition. There might have been budgetary issues or inconsistencies in your proposal.

Rest assured, rejection does not necessarily reflect on the worthiness of your project or your capabilities.

Responding to Rejection

When responding to a grant proposal rejection, professionalism, graciousness, and strategic planning are key.

Following are the steps to take:

1. Assess the Feedback:

Most grant reviewers provide feedback explaining the reasons for rejection. It’s a valuable resource for understanding the areas that need improvement. Read this feedback carefully, noting areas where the proposal fell short.

Example: Suppose the feedback indicates that the proposal lacked a detailed project timeline. In your response, you can acknowledge this shortfall and emphasize your intent to address it in future submissions.

2. Express Gratitude:

Write a thank you note to the grant committee. Acknowledge their time and effort in reviewing your proposal. This shows professionalism, respect, and can maintain a positive relationship for future opportunities.

Example: “We sincerely appreciate the time you spent reviewing our proposal. We understand the effort it takes and are grateful for your feedback.”

3. Acknowledge Their Perspective:

In your correspondence, indicate your understanding of the reasons provided for the rejection. This shows that you respect their decision and are open to improving.

Example: “We understand from your feedback that our project timeline was not adequately detailed. This is a valid point that we plan to address.”

4. Indicate Your Plan to Improve:

Share briefly how you plan to use their feedback to enhance your next proposal. Don’t offer excuses or try to justify the shortcomings they pointed out.

Example: “With your insights, we will revise our proposal to include a more detailed project timeline in our future applications.”

Revising Your Grant Proposal

Having responded professionally to the rejection, the next step is to revisit your proposal. Here’s what you can do:

1. Revise Based on Feedback:

Address each point raised by the reviewers. This could mean making the project objectives clearer, providing more detailed timelines, aligning the budget more closely with the project activities, or improving the overall structure and narrative of the proposal.

2. Consider Expert Review:

Engage a grant writing expert or consultant to review your proposal. They can provide valuable insights, help strengthen your narrative, and ensure your proposal meets the funder’s expectations.

3. Research More:

Look for additional or alternative sources of funding that may be more aligned with your project. Sometimes, rejection comes simply because the proposal doesn’t fit the grantmaker’s focus areas.

Resubmitting Your Grant Proposal

Once the proposal has been revised, consider resubmitting it.

Here are the steps to follow:

1. Confirm Eligibility:

Ensure that the grantmaker accepts resubmissions. Some funders have restrictions on this, while others welcome it.

2. Follow Guidelines:

Adhere to any specific resubmission guidelines provided by the funder. This might involve submitting a revised proposal within a particular timeframe or highlighting changes made since the previous submission.

3. Include a Cover Letter:

Along with your revised proposal, include a cover letter explaining the revisions made. This helps reviewers see that you’ve taken their feedback seriously and made the necessary changes.

Example: “In response to the feedback received, we have provided a more detailed project timeline and made a clearer connection between our project activities and budget.”

4. Seek Advice:

If possible, seek advice from successful grantees. They can provide useful tips and potentially review your revised proposal. Networking within your field and attending industry events can facilitate these connections.


Grant writing is an iterative process. Each rejection is a step toward a successful proposal, providing valuable feedback and an opportunity for growth. A crucial aspect is maintaining a resilient mindset, viewing each rejection as a learning experience rather than a failure. Remember, resilience, patience, and perseverance are key in successful grant writing.

In summary, respond to a rejected grant proposal professionally, take advantage of the feedback provided, revise your proposal accordingly, and confidently resubmit when ready. With each cycle, you’re refining your grant writing skills, improving your project plan, and getting closer to your funding goals.

Your journey towards a successful grant proposal is a process of growth and development, with each iteration improving upon the last. So, take that rejected grant proposal and view it as an opportunity to learn, improve, and succeed.

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