John D. Jorgensen, Consultant for First Nonprofit Foundation (FNF), offers insights into the top reasons why there are lots of ‘nos’ to thousands of grant applications
As grant funders, we never jump at the chance to state no. We accept firmly in the critical work not-for-profits are doing everywhere throughout the nation, and we need to see them succeed. However huge numbers of the applications we get don’t fit the bill for financing, regularly in view of issues that could have been stayed away from with some planning.
Here Are tips to follow on your next application
- They don’t follow the guidelines.
By far the number one reason why applications get rejected, not only for FNF but for most granting organizations, is a failure to follow the guidelines. “Too many people search for grants, find us and hit ‘Apply,’” John says. “And they’re requesting support for items that do not fit our guidelines.”
Think about it: If you’re requesting thousands of dollars in grant money, you need to take the time to read the basic funding guidelines published by the organization. Broadcasting applications to organizations that aren’t a good fit wastes your time, and theirs.
“We work with the client to ensure that a substantial element of the grant would be conducted here in the States, and it worked. But that process took more than a year.” The number one tip for getting your grant approved? Read the guidelines.
- They lack required documentation.
“The documents we require are the ones most funders will require,” John says. “Organizations should have these in order before beginning the grant application process.
- Articles of incorporation showing your IRS status.
- Meeting minutes.
- Financial documents.
Research early and get all of your documentation in order before applying.
- They don’t have a project budget.
Your project budget should include detailed documentation to support the actual expenses your project will require. A ballpark request for funds to support a project or initiative will be rejected no matter how great the goal or idea.
Compile a detailed account of what your project will cost, including documents showing the basis of your expenses.
- They don’t allow for the grant cycle timing.
Grant funding is rarely a quick process. From initial application to receipt of funds takes months, sometimes the better part of a year. Start your grant application research as early as possible and plan ahead for the organization’s funding cycle.
- They don’t meet local requirements.
“Many applicants don’t realize that in most states charitable nonprofit organizations are required to register with their charity officials. Discovering this too late can mean the difference between a successful application and a rejection. “Applicants should verify what is required locally and make sure they have those documents up to date and in order,” John says.
- Lack of project specifics.
Lack of specifics is a major reason for application rejections. Many organizations focus on sharing their overall mission, challenges, and activities without laying out a specific project and expenses they want to fund. “I’ve received complete grant statements that told me all about the organization and never got around to what they want the money to do,” John says. “That’s an automatic ‘No’ as well.” Describe the specific project you want us to support in detail, including the resources required, the anticipated response and the timeline of the project.