Friday, May 9, 2014

Grants: Rejected! Done? Fini? Move on?

You've done your research. You found a great foundation that is a perfect fit for your organization. They have supported other organizations just like yours. You've even connected with the grants manager and they think you're wonderful. You have a fantastic program and write a bang-up proposal. Months go by and then you receive the following, dreaded response: "We receive requests from many worthy nonprofit organizations. We wish we could fund them all. Unfortunately, we cannot support your program at this time." Drat! All the planets seemed to be aligned. The heck with them! Next proposal...right? Wrong!

You need to find out why you were rejected. It may not be what you think. I found just such a foundation and the outcome was initially disappointing. But I called my contact and asked why we were rejected. I expected to hear something like this, "Although you are a great organization, ___________ (fill in the blank: "...your organization is not a fit, your program is not a priority, we are supporting XYZ organization that does the same thing, your proposal sucked, etc.")

What I heard was, "Your proposal was really great and it is something that we would really like to support. Unfortunately, we ran out of funds by the time we got to your proposal. Let's get together at the beginning of the next funding year and talk about it. I recommend you submit your proposal again just as it is. Don't change a thing."

If I had just moved on, reacted defensively, or just slinked off into the night with my tail between my legs, I would have never found out that it was still very viable. Now, not all calls reveal such great opportunities. Even candid, helpful, rejection feedback about NOT being a fit would be good for future proposals.

The point is ask, probe, follow-up.

No comments:

Post a Comment