Grant Proposal Tips

 How to respond to Grant Rejection

How to respond to grant rejection? In this article, you’re going to learn ways to respond to it.

Grant writing takes time and effort, and it’s natural to be disappointed when the chance does not pan out.

Before moving forward after receiving a grant rejection letter, it’s always a good idea to acknowledge your displeasure. We frequently rush through the emotionally draining aspects of our jobs in order to move on to the next one.

Allow yourself to be sad if it arises. Discuss it with your team. They’re likely to understand what it’s like to be rejected for a grant. Sharing a few details about the grant’s conclusion may be enough to help you deal with the rejection.

However, don’t spend too much time dwelling on the bad aspects of the outcome. After all, one rejection isn’t the end of the world. Professional resources suggest that just 10-20% of grant applications are approved in the grand scheme of grant writing. While a well-crafted and intelligent proposal has a better chance of being accepted, even the most polished applications are frequently rejected for reasons unrelated to the application itself.

how to respond to grant rejection

It’s critical to respond to the rejection letter after digesting your initial sentiments and commiserating with coworkers. Continue reading for advice on how to write a concise, kind answer that invites you to learn more about why you were denied.

Why should you respond to a rejection letter for a grant proposal?

You can keep the lines of communication open by following up with the funding agency after a refusal. You might be wondering how you might strengthen your grant application and better prepare for future funding opportunities. A response letter demonstrates that you care about your client and want to provide the finest service possible. It also demonstrates that you have a credible offer. Your answer letter can help you establish trust with your potential donor while also allowing you to discuss future opportunities with them.

It’s natural to be disappointed when receiving a rejection letter, as indicated previously. It’s also understandable to wonder why your grant application was not chosen. After all, a grant review panel’s judgment is based on various factors.

Your grant proposal was rejected for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  1. The total number of grant applications submitted
  2. The total amount of money available for a specific grant cycle
  3. Organizational and/or project proposal alignment with funding opportunities
  4. Community impact of the project or organization vs. requested funding
  5. History of similar projects or award amounts completed by the organization
  6. The applicant’s organization’s overall reputation and confidence
  7. The grant request must be of high quality and the project description must be concise. 8. The financial system of the organization must be in place.
  8. There is no well-thought-out risk management and financial reporting strategy in place.
  9. Inadequate technical knowledge and capacity to carry out the project successfully.

Some of the above criteria have less to do with the application itself and more to do with underlying organizational challenges. When the nonprofits they work for lack nonprofit fundamentals like clarity of mission, leadership, and sound finances, many grant writers have been asked to fulfill an unreasonable expectation of obtaining enormous sums of funds. Even the finest grant writer won’t be able to “write around” greater organizational problems that result in rejections!

Apart from that, a well-written response should achieve two objectives: thanking the organization and requesting information about why the grant application was denied. This will provide you with useful input, allowing you to improve your future competitiveness. Some grant making organizations will even meet with you for a debriefing to discuss why your application was turned down and to offer advice on how to improve your next application.

Keep your response to a minimum. Only a few sentences should suffice. The response isn’t the moment to jump into a persuasive argument for why the funder should reconsider their decision. Always use a courteous and appreciative tone. Thank them for their time and thoughtfulness by being cordial and grateful.

Response to a Grant Letter of Rejection;

A sample email response to a grant rejection letter is shown below:

Dear Grant Administrator

Hanson Foundation

I am writing to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work with you.

Thank you for taking the time to evaluate Girls Impact Foundation’s project proposal titled “Girls Empower Project” for the Hanson Foundation’s recent grant application cycle.

We plan to apply again in the future; would you or another member of the review committee be willing to meet with us for a brief discussion about your decision and how we can improve our future applications? If this isn’t possible, could you provide some textual feedback or thoughts on how we may improve our application in the future?

Thank you for this opportunity and for your continuous support of our community.

Thank you,

Mary Philips

Grants Director

Girls Impact Foundation


Successful grant writers will develop the ability to reply to a grant denial letter, if reluctantly. You can, however, learn how to take some of the process’s lessons and apply them to future applications.

When Your Grant Proposal Is Rejected, What Should You Do?

The first stage in the process is to write a response to a grant rejection letter, but there’s a lot more you can do to guarantee that your next grant application is successful.

Following these actions after receiving a grant rejection letter can help you go forward with your next project and enhance it.

  • Consult with the Donor

If the funder is available for a meeting to discuss the application and its outcome, arrive with an open mind and prepared questions for the staff. Some questions are acceptable as long as you don’t criticize the review process or go too far.

Always keep in mind that you can often reapply for a grant or to a foundation after a certain period of time has passed, so you don’t want to burn any bridges by being obstinate, accusatory, or otherwise unprofessional when grant examiners take the time to meet with you.

Take down any suggestions made by the reviewer. Did the criticisms, for example, address the application’s writing or underlying organizational concerns? Or did the feedback suggest that there were simply too many applicants and insufficient funds? (This is frequently the case since community needs continue to outnumber available funds, making applications even more competitive.)

  • Consult with a third party

Some local nonprofit assistance organizations may be willing to review applications and offer advice. It’s a good idea to have a few other eyes check through your application, especially if you’ve had multiple rejections. A “neutral” reviewer might spot certain flaws in your application that you might have overlooked.

You can focus on enhancing specific portions of future proposals after getting comments from the grant maker and others. Perhaps you learned that you need to better explain how you plan to complete a project or provide a more detailed timeframe. Or perhaps you discovered that you need to provide more evidence to help evaluators grasp the planned project’s possible consequence.

  • Make a note of everything.

Make notes in your grants management database on the outcome of the application and the recommendations for the future, noting any waiting period that may occur before you can apply again, after you’ve taken stock of the rejected application and methods to improve.

In conclusion

Grant rejection should be accepted in good faith. It helps you learn about the process and better for future funding opportunities and also gain valuable feedback, so you can be more competitive in the future.

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