Why Didn’t Our Grant Get Funded?

Why Didn’t Our Grant Get Funded?

This is a question that is asked by every grant-seeking nonprofit organization at one time or another: “Why didn’t our grant get funded?”

“Why did our organization’s grant proposal not get funded?”

“I thought we had a really compelling argument, we did everything right, and I really thought we would get funded.”

Unfortunately, even the best grant applications may not get funded. There can be a variety of reasons for this and some of them are simply out of your control.

Reason #1: Deep Relationships Between Grant Makers and Organizations

One reason why your organization might not get funded is because there could be a deep relationship between one of the grant makers and another organization.

For example, there is an elementary school looking for grant applications. They come across a foundation that says they only fund primary education. Perfect. The elementary school contacts the foundation and feels like they are a perfect match. Then, as the elementary school goes through the application, they feel even more like this foundation was a match made in heaven. They fill out the application, turn it in on time, and anticipate hearing that they were approved for the grant. But, little did they know that one of the grant makers is on the school board for another elementary school in the community. This grant maker reads through all of the applications, but ends up going with the elementary school that they are on the board of.

Reason #2: Deep Connections Between Grant Makers and a Specific Cause

Another reason why your organization may have not been funded is because the grant maker has a deep connection to another organization’s cause.

Perhaps we have a foundation that funds organizations that are in the health field. This could include elderly homes, hospitals, research for a specific disease, etc. Well, we have two organizations that apply for the grant: (1) an organization that raises money and awareness for Leukemia, and (2) an organization that focuses on infant blindness. Both organizations feel like they are a perfect match for this foundation and expect to be funded.

Little did these organization’s know, but one of the people in charge of granting the funding just had a child who is blind. Each application was equally worthy to be granted, but second organization ended up being funded.

Reason #3 Another Organization’s Application Seemed Particularly Timely

A third reason why another organization may have been funded over yours may be because another organization seemed to have an extremely timely project.

For instance, two organizations are applying for a grant that will support their animal shelters. The application deadline is in April, but the awards won’t be dispersed until July. One organization is wanting to start something for the animal shelter to help bring in more animals. This is a project that could start during any time of the year. The other organization, though, is wanting to start a program where they take their dogs and cats from the shelter to welcome events at schools all through the month of August and September. This second project ended up being funded by the foundation because it seemed more fitting for the grant application round based on its timeliness.

What Now?

These are just a few answers to the question, “Why didn’t our grant get funded?,” even despite your organization’s best efforts.

But, rather than let it get you down, what can you do?

First of all, contact the foundation and thank them for the opportunity to apply for their grant. Also, consider setting up a time with them to discuss your application and what you could do better next time. This will help your organization build a relationship with their foundation. Then, perhaps next year they will think of your organization and award you the grant.


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