8 Things to Do After Your Grant Proposal Is Rejected

Grant Proposal Is Rejected

Rejection sacks!! At Go Volunteer Africa, we are not a pro-grant proposal writers, but we have bragging rights over a number of successful proposals, including one, which fetched a cool USD$200,000 bounty!! In our close to 15 years experience we have been rejected a number of times! It really sacks and the rejection letter smells like real sh*t! But we should always keep in mind that philanthropy is not just about the happy moments when we get funds into our accounts.

Grant proposal writing is the “GO BIG OR GO HOME” of the fundraising world. When successful it can regenerate the entire organization and communities served. When it goes wrong you have potentially lost hundreds of hours of work and investment with very little to show for it.

Ethiopia Agriculture Volunteer Work

Rejection can be hard to take, especially when you’ve poured so much time and effort into a great proposal. You may not know how to proceed after putting your best efforts into a proposal that doesn’t make the cut. A rejected proposal is not the end of your funding search. It’s merely a bump in the road. Here are some tips on what to do after your proposal is rejected.


Remember that you still have other proposals out there. One rejection does not mean that all of your hard work has to go to waste. This opportunity may not have been the right fit, but something else out there will be.


Funders occasionally have to reject good proposals simply because they had too many great applicants and not enough funding. Some funders have a second round of funding in order to support promising proposals they had to reject in the first round. Make sure the rejection letter or funder’s website doesn’t mention a second deadline for applicants who weren’t funded in the first round.


You cannot improve on past mistakes if you don’t know what they are. Try contacting the foundation to request feedback on your proposal. If you established a contact during the application process, attempt to reach out to them first. Request them to comment on your proposal. Due to a large volume of submissions or a small staff, some funders do not provide any feedback on proposals. If that’s the case, take a look at some of the most common reasons proposals are rejected.


Once you receive feedback, don’t focus all of your attention on the constructive criticism. Focus on the positive comments as well. Learn what your strengths are and build on them in future proposals.


If the feedback on the proposal you received was overwhelmingly negative, don’t panic. It’s possible that the problem is not a poorly executed proposal, but that the project isn’t a good match for the funder. The funder’s goals and vision might not align with your project or program. Don’t spend time revamping a proposal that simply isn’t a good match for that funding opportunity.

Zimbabwe construction volunteer project


Check out the projects that did receive funding. Some foundations will even post winning applications to their website. Learn from the strengths of other proposals and try to apply that to your grant writing.


Keep a record of all the feedback you receive on your proposals. You can refer back to this when your crafting your next proposal to make sure you’re not rejected for the same reason twice.


Once you’ve assessed all of the feedback, both positive and negative, it’s time to move forward. If the opportunity wasn’t a good fit, it’s time to renew your funding search. If the funding opportunity is still promising, reapply after the designated waiting period. Apply everything you’ve learned from this rejection to future proposals.

Do you need help in developing a grant application or proposal? email us at: info@govolunteerafrica.org  or give us a call | WhatsApp | Telegram | Viber | Imo at +254-796-786292 to talk to a Program Specialist.