One Fatal Mistake in Writing a Grant

What one thing you should not do

C. L. Beard
3 min readMay 18, 2022


Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

This fatal grant writing error is made by far too many NGOs. It’s a serious mistake that can result in NGOs missing out on important funding year after year. In the end, this blunder can be fatal to your grant writing efforts’ long-term success.

Fortunately, it’s a basic grant writing error with a straightforward fix. Fixing it could mean the difference between your nonprofit succeeding or failing.

The most common grant-writing error is failing to approach a grant funder after receiving a rejection. This is because you will receive considerably more rejections than acceptances when writing grants. This is frequently due to intense competition and little funding.

Inexperienced grant writers will either ignore a rejection or resubmit for the next grant round with the identical application. Or they’ll simply stop applying for that funding. Both approaches are serious grant writing mistakes.

To correct this grant writing error, simply contact the sponsor and inquire as to why the application was rejected. They can then send along any notes or criticisms they made throughout their review session. It’s possible that your story has to be refocused. Alternatively, return with a stronger evaluation section next time. Then you can figure out what’s wrong, change it, and try again.

Making contact and obtaining information will therefore boost your application. It could also endear you to the funder. They’ll see you’re serious and responsible. These are two crucial factors that may help you stand out from the crowd. It could be slightly above the funding threshold.

Turn rejection into Success

A grant rejection is not the end of the world. The grantor grants written are still useful on their own, and they can be resubmitted with sufficient care.

Grant writing for foundations is as much about developing a relationship with the foundation as it is about writing well. It takes time and work to get there, as well as several rounds of submissions and changes.

So, if you’re rejected, contact the foundation. Foundations routinely give impersonal, form rejections. You still have a chance to get financing in the future unless they say anything like “Your work does not correspond with our funding priorities.”

Inquire about the rejection in greater detail when you call or email the contact person. Inquire if they would encourage you to reapply in the future and if they have any advice. You should also inquire if they are aware of any other foundations that might be a good fit.

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C. L. Beard

I am a writer/artist living on an island in the Salish Sea. I write mostly on nature and programming languages.