How Can You Learn from your Previous Grant Applications?

Sometimes you do not get the results you would like when it comes to grant writing. So, what can you learn from your previous grant applications? The chance of winning a grant can vary depending on how many people apply and the caliber of your proposal. These odds do increase with the more grants you apply for, so try not to put all your eggs into one basket. If you’re sending the same ‘copy and paste’ proposal to funders, you can expect disappointment.

Analyze your winning grant proposals for similarities:

The staple of grant writing is following the funder’s guidelines and instructions. No matter how well-written your proposal may be, grant reviewers cannot approve funding for any application that fails to meet the eligibility criteria set out in the relevant grant guidelines. You should learn as much as possible about the grant before you start an application to make sure you are eligible. 

The program guidelines will include all the information you need to apply. They’ll detail all the requirements you and your project will need to meet. Strong applications take time and effort to get right. It can be difficult to write a clear and compelling proposal when you feel rushed. If you’re unable to prove to the funding source that you have the ability to invest the necessary traits into your writing, you will most likely fail to be awarded the grant.

Grant reviewers often have to read many grant applications. Any unnecessary detail makes it hard for them to assess an application. For this reason, funders prefer it when you follow the “three C’s” when writing your proposal. Too frequently, grant applications are often rejected for simple mistakes and missing items. Having a checklist should be an essential part of your process before you submit your grant proposal.

If your grant proposal was rejected, there are still options available:

Think of rejection as an opportunity – and not a reason to give up. There are steps you can immediately take to help you recover. This can even forge a relationship with the funding source moving forward.

Review your previous application and make sure you didn’t make any mistakes. Make sure you’re not courting rejection out of ignorance or oversight. If you submit a poorly written proposal, your application will be unlikely to be funded. Even if you have met all of the application guidelines and prepared a compliant proposal, your application may not be shortlisted for further review due to making a simple error.

Did you follow the directions for your previous application? One mistake could knock your proposal out before it even reaches the desk of the deciding program officer. In the future, consider hiring a professional grant writer for help with the development and overall polishing of your grant application.

3 Tips for Next Time:

Even if you weren’t successful in your last grant application, do not let it discourage you. See previous applications as a learning opportunity for the next time. 

  • Seek feedback from us if available. You may be able to ask for details on why your application wasn’t successful. Even if the feedback is limited, it may still help you improve future applications. 
  • Review everything again afterwards. You may notice things you missed when you first wrote your application, especially if you were rushed. Keep these notes to help you improve your application next time. 
  • Be proactive. Keep your project or business plans up-to-date. That way, you’re ready to act as soon as you find a new opportunity. This is especially important for some grants that may run out of funding before the close date. 

Remember — If you don’t learn from your mistakes, you will make them twice!

To learn about new grant opportunities as early as possible, visit on a regular basis to search for grants. You can also subscribe to their newsletter to receive updates and details on new grant opportunities. 

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