What Annoys Grant Applicants Most about Foundations Part III

To establish a prosperous relationship with a funder, communication is an important factor. You want to make sure the funder receives all of the information they require from you after you received your grant and during the application process. But you also want your funder to be a good communicator and be concise about what they expect from you.

This is the last part of the index list on Nonprofit AF, asking funders to consider their practices from the point of view of the applicant.


  1. You don’t assign anyone to field questions and provide support.
  1. You don’t offer feedback on rejected applications. We understand if you get 800 Letters of Intent and can’t offer feedback to each one, but full proposals and 12 attachments?
  2. You leave vague voicemail messages and then are hard to reach.
  3. You don’t respond at all to applicants’ questions.
  4. You don’t confirm if an application is received.
  5. You don’t email to announce changes of grant-making processes. It is helpful to email your grantees changes, rather than expect everyone to find out by looking on your website. We have dozens of funders and can’t keep checking all the time.
  6. You require excessive reports. Do you really need quarterly reports for a $5,000 grant?
  7. You force nonprofits to conform to your calendar. I had a funder give a grant in October, nine months after the application was due, and then expected a report in December to close out the calendar year.
  8. You don’t seek feedback on your application process.

We want your opinion. Do any of the points in the index list sound familiar? What do you find most annoying about the grant-making process? Let us know below or get in touch with GetEdFunding on Twitter.


Vu Le is a speaker, writer, the executive director of Seattle-based nonprofit organization Rainier Valley Corps, and author of the not-too-serious blog Nonprofit AF. With his tongue firmly in his cheek, he writes about his experiences working in the field of nonprofit organizations, both as an executive as well as an applicant. You can follow him on Twitter @nonprofitAF.




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