The Top 15 Reasons Grant Proposals Get Rejected-Mistakes

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The Top 15 Reasons Grant Proposals Get Rejected If you'd like to see ways to get your proposal accepted, please click here. While no one can guarantee that you’ll get a grant, there are ways to guarantee that you WON’T get one. We’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes that people make during the grant writing and submission process. If you read and avoid these pitfalls, your chance of securing a grant will raise dramatically. Mistake #15: Poor grammar, spelling errors, or factual error
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  The Top 15 Reasons Grant Proposals Get Rejected If you'd like to see ways to get your proposal accepted, please click here.While no one can guarantee that you’ll get a grant, there are ways to guarantee that you WON’T getone. We’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes that people make during the grant writingand submission process. If you read and avoid these pitfalls, your chance of securing a grant will raisedramatically.  Mistake #15: Poor grammar, spelling errors, or factual errors.  Nothing will put a Grant Officer on guard faster than a poorly written Grant. You must make sure thatyour writing style is clear, correct, and to the point. If you appear uneducated or are unable to expressyour goals, you are unlikely to obtain financial aid. As incredible as this sounds, many people fail tospell-check their Grant requests, and some people even make mistakes in their financial figures! If youdon’t take the time to make your proposal look professional, you can hardly expect a Grant Officer totake you seriously. How to fix it: Proof-read your proposal. Double-check your figures. Get a friend to read through your  proposal, or even hire a professional Grant Writer.  Mistake #14  Cost padding/insufficient cost research. Grant Officers aren’t stupid, and they deal with grants on a daily basis. Never guess or inflate theamount you need to accomplish your goal. For example, if you’re applying for a business grant, don’tclaim you’ll need $10,000 for a piece of equipment if in fact the equipment only costs $8,000. TheGrant Officer will research the actual price, and then you’ll look either incompetent or dishonest.Either way, you’ll probably be rejected. How to fix it: Research your legitimate costs, and never inflate them.  Mistake #13 Failure to follow instructions precisely. As amazing as it sounds, one of the main reasons that Grants are rejected is that the applicant didn’t bother to follow the instructions for requesting the Grant! If you were going to a job interview, or trying to get your driver’s license renewed, you’d certainly follow the instructions provided. You’drealize that failure to do so would result in not getting the job or the driver’s license. Grants are thesame way. If you don’t follow the instructions exactly, odds are you’ll be rejected out of hand. How to fix it: Read and follow all instructions. If in doubt, call the Grant agency and ask.  Mistake #12 Failure to clearly state goals. Grant Officers don’t want to guess what you’re trying to accomplish. You MUST state your objectivesclearly, succinctly, and directly. If the Grant Officer can’t grasp your goals in the first paragraph, oddsare they won’t bother continuing on to the second. How to fix it: Write an outline of your goals, stated in six sentences or less. Then expand upon theoutline.  Mistake #11 Failure to meet submission deadlines. Of all the mistakes made by first-time Grant writers, this is the most frustrating. It doesn’t matter howgood your idea, how worthy your cause, or how well you’ve written your proposal. If you fail to getyour proposal in by the submission date, you may as well not have bothered. Late submissions don’t  even go before Grant Officers. They go in the trash. How to fix it: Be aware of the submission deadline before you even consider applying for a Grant.  Mistake #10 Grant proposal incompatible with donor. If you’re looking for a scholarship, don’t submit your proposal to the Small Business Administration.That seems like a simple enough concept. But many, many first time Grant writers simply send outtheir proposal scatter-shot to any agency they can find. This is a good way to rack up a lot of rejectionletters, but it’s NOT a good way to get funding. How to fix it: Matching up your needs with a donor is easy. The guide you’re reading now makes it asnap to make sure you’re contacting the correct agency.  Mistake #9 No business plan included. If you’re requesting a business loan, it’s not enough to simply say “I want to open a coffee shop”.Donors expect a fully realized business plan, showing that you know what you’re doing, and have areasonable expectation of being in business six months from now. Donors exist to help you, but theydo NOT exist to throw money at lost causes. How to fix it: Draw up a business plan, and include it with your proposal.  Mistake #8 Failure to show benefits/results of proposal. Grant agencies do not exist to simply throw money at you. It is important that you realize that theGrant Officer who reviews your proposal will be looking at the bottom line. Who does your proposal benefit, and how? For example, if you’re seeking funding for an Adult Education program, the donor will probably want to see proof that there’s a need for such a program in your area, and what theimmediate benefits will be. How to fix it: Include a prospectus outlining the end results/benefits of your proposal.  Mistake #7  No long-term plan Donors like their donations to mean something. They like to know that the business they fund will bethere next year, the non-profit entity they’re creating will continue to benefit the community, or thestudent they’re sponsoring will continue on to be a valuable member of the community. Thesuccessful Grant proposal shows how the Grant will benefit either the individual or society on a long-term basis. How to fix it: Include a five-year timeline, showing the goals of your project.  Mistake #6  Over-reliance on grant funding. Most Grants exist to help you get started. For example, you might be able to obtain funding to build ayouth center, but supporting the youth center after it’s built is up to you. Most donors will require youto show how you intend to support your project after the grant money runs out. For a small business,this means that you’ll need to prepare a profitability outline showing projected profits. For non-profitventures, you’ll have to show where you intend to procure funding after your initial Grant. How to fix it: Prepare a long-term financial outline.  Mistake #5  Grant trolling. There’s a common misconception that a person can write up fifty proposals (or one proposal, and sendit to fifty agencies) and end up rolling in free Grant money. This simply isn’t true. Grant Officers can  instantly recognize a generic Grant proposal, and just as instantly reject it. There’s plenty of Grantmoney out there, but Grant donors like to know that their money is going to valid projects. How to fix it: Make sure that you actually qualify for the Grant you’re applying for. Don’t send outgeneric proposals.  Mistake #4  Sloppy preparation. Grant Officers are human beings just like the rest of us. If they think that you didn’t take your  proposal seriously, they’ll resent the fact that you wasted their time. You simply must put forth thetime and effort to present a well-prepared proposal. No matter how worthy your cause, you can ruinyour entire effort simply by failing to take the time required to prepare your material in a professionalmanner. How to fix it: Give yourself plenty of time to assemble your materials. Many copy centers can helpyou with presentations, cover letters, etc.  Mistake #3 Proposal lacks a “hook”. You must remember that donors see hundreds, sometimes thousands of Grant proposals a year. If youwant yours to stand out, you have to show how yours is unique, srcinal, or better than anyone else’s.If you can get the Grant Officer interested in your proposal, your chances of success shoot through theroof. How to fix it: Show how your particular proposal is different/unique.  Mistake #2 Failure to recognize donor. Very few people will give you something for nothing. Grant donors like to know how they’ll berecognized. For example, if you’re building a center for the blind, your donor will probably want toknow if they’ll be recognized as having donated the money. For example, they may want a plaqueacknowledging their Grant, or they may even want the center named after them. Be aware that you’llneed to make concessions to their ego. How to fix it: Include a section describing how the donor will be recognized.  Mistake #1 Killing the goose that laid the golden egg. There’s nothing that will kill your proposal faster than trying to push for more than your donor iswilling to give. It’s better to ask and receive $1,000 than ask for $1,000,000 and be refused. Youabsolutely must have realistic goals before you approach the donor. How to fix it: Know a general amount that the donor generally gives.
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