You won’t win every grant application you submit. There are many factors that determine whether you are awarded a grant or not. Some are in your control, such as the quality of planning you have done and the quality of application you have written, whereas others are outside your control, ‘for example’ the quality of the other applications you are competing against (add ‘or’) or the funding bodies’ specific focus areas at the time etc.
How you respond to a rejection is one of those things that is in your control. It can have a huge impact on your organisation. One example of a client of ours who turned a rejection into secured funding is Pilbara Therapy Services. These wonderful people had a great project, and we wrote their Regional Economic Development Grant in 2021. It wasn’t successful at the time but instead of just taking the rejection, the team acted. They asked for feedback and then took the feedback and changed a few things about their project, updated the application and tried again. In 2023, they were not only successful in securing funding, but also in securing the maximum amount of $250,000.
Their persistence and willingness to ask for feedback and act on it definitely paid off. So what should you do if you are rejected for a grant?
1. You should always ask for valuable feedback.
Some funding bodies may not give you any feedback or even quality feedback, but you can ask an independent third party to review your application and give their advice as to what the problem may have been. To increase your chances of getting quality feedback, don’t just ask generic questions, be specific. Ask them which questions you did not score well on, was there anything in particular you could improve to increase your rating etc.
2. Review the outcomes of your proposed project against the objectives of the grant, Do they match?
Is your project heavily aligned to the intended outcomes of the grant program? If not, there really isn’t anything you can do so this is not the grant for you. But if they are well aligned, move on to point 3.
3. Try again! Don’t be put off by one rejection.
I know a lot of applicants who are rejected one year and are successful the next. Once you have the feedback, act on it and try again. Keep doing that as long as you can until you secure the funding, or you are explicitly told by the funding body that you will not be successful. Persistence pays off.
As always, if you need help crafting a quality application, contact us!