I remember the sigh of relief when I would submit a final grant proposal. All the research, writing, rewriting, proofing, and other task that come with completing an application was done!
Then it was just a waiting game. All the anxiety and stress become a distant memory as you wait for the grantor’s response.
Then you get it and it is a no. What do you do?
I can tell you what I did with my first rejection. I cried. All that work for a no but this is what I have learned over the years to be more successful in the grant-seeking process.
1. A part of your grant research should involve a human component. Talk to the program officer prior to grant submission to ensure your project aligns with the grantor’s focus. If you are dealing with a foundation find out who serves on their board and start a cultivation process with their members. If it’s a corporate grant application like Target or Walmart, make sure you introduce yourself to the Store Manager and let them know about your application prior to submission. Many of them get the opportunity to weigh in on what projects get awarded.
2. When you receive a no you still need to reach out to the funder to say thank you for taking the time to review your application. This will separate you from the pack for the next time. Also, while you have them on the phone ask for feedback on how you can make your application stronger for the next time. You can also start the cultivation process with them by inviting them in for a site visit so they can see your programs in action. This may lead to a new grant application opportunity that aligns better with the funder’s priorities.
3. Submit your grant application to more than one funding source. Remember that old saying don’t put all your eggs in one basket. To avoid the problem of duplicate funding individualize the budget and add a separate component of the program for each funder.
You can fully embrace these tips and rejection will still happen. It is the nature of the beast but simply following at least one of these will take some of the sting out of the rejection.
I hope this helps. If you know of other grant success tips let me know in the comments. Sharing is Caring.
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