4 Most Common Reasons Your Application is Rejected

Having a carefully crafted and passionately presented grant proposal rejected is never a cheerful experience. But don’t fret too much; you are not alone. In general, only approximately one in 10 grant proposals are accepted.

The Foundation Center’s Growth and Giving Estimates give insight into the average amount of grant proposals that are funded.

You may be wondering why your proposal was rejected. There are a few reasons proposals get rejected and we have compiled the most common ones here.

1. The application was not well-prepared

We have mentioned this in previous blog posts, but the most common reason for rejection is due to ill-prepared proposals. A weak application may include factual, data, or spelling mistakes; missing data; or an unconvincing argument—each of which can lead to rejection.

2. The foundation received too many applications

Despite the best-prepared proposal (even with the assistance of an experienced grant writer), oftentimes the reason for rejection is a simple one: the foundation received a large amount of applications for a limited amount of funds and your application was overlooked. According to the Foundation Center, of the foundations that received more than 1,000 applications, only 11 percent stated that they funded half of those proposals.

3. It just wasn’t meant to be

Did you conduct research diligently? Did you study the funder’s mission and goals? If the proposal is not a good match with the foundation’s mission, the funder will likely not have much interest in funding your proposal.

4. Miscalculations

Another common reason for rejection is a budget that does not add up. Foundations encounter many budgets and they can easily spot if something is missing or if the numbers are inflated and unrealistic.

Whatever the reason your proposal was rejected, it is important to stay positive. Contact the foundation and ask for feedback. Thank the foundation for their time even though your project was not funded—and then try again.


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