Denied by a funder? Why that’s a good thing.
By: Marcy Gardner, WGW Grants Specialist
After spending hours, days, and sometimes weeks working on a grant application, it can be crushing to receive notification that your request was denied, but rest assure, it’s not all bad.
Here are five reasons to look on the bright side:
- Invaluable Feedback:
When you receive notification that your request has been denied, it opens the door for you to find out why. There’s no harm in reaching back out to the funder and asking for feedback. Was there something specific you requested that didn’t align with their mission? Was there a glitch in the format of your proposal? Did you go over a character count? Take their feedback and use it to your advantage during the next grant cycle. Your proposal will be that much stronger and your chances of receiving funding undoubtedly increase. It also shows the funder that you’re persistent. Most organizations don’t reach out for feedback, so this already sets you apart. Persistence can speak volumes about you and your organization.
- Establishing a Relationship:Even if it’s to notify you that your request was denied, you’ve now established a relationship with the funder. Most often, funders do not notify you if your proposal was rejected so you’re already a step ahead if they took the time to notify you — consider this a good thing! Relationships take time to build and you’ve now laid the foundation.
Talk with the Team: With every rejection, comes room for improvement. If the funder does not provide you with feedback, consider your own team members. Send copies of the proposal to members of your team and ask them to send you feedback. Were the program details specific enough? Were your impacts measurable? Could the budget have been tighter? Was the need expressed urgently enough?
- Open Invitation:When you reach out to the funder to gather feedback, you could also invite their trustees to visit your organization in-person and see your programs in action – if it geographically makes sense, of course. Words can be moving, but seeing the impact of your organization firsthand can make all the difference.
- Investment in Time:Remember… grant writing is an investment. The time it took to write the proposal, get rejected, reach out for feedback, and reapply next year with a stronger proposal — it’s an investment in time that could pay dividends for years to come. When you receive discouraging news, keep this reminder at the forefront of your mind.