What Should I Do After a Grant Application is Declined?

Dear Experienced Grant Writer,


After being in a couple grant writing workshops, and then having received a letter that let me know of my declined grant application, I wanted to know if there are any questions to ask the declining grantmakers or if there should be a follow up after a rejection. Should I continue the communication I have with the grantmakers?



Grant Seeker


Dear Grant Seeker,


That’s a great question. It is always a good idea to follow up with an application. Whether a foundation, state, or federal grant, if you aren’t awarded funding you should always ask for feedback. It won’t always be provided, but it is worth asking. The way to frame the question depends on if the feedback on the decision making process is available. Some grantmakers use a scoring rubric (like federal agencies) and so you may very well be able to receive a copy of your score sheets and reviewer comments. Your questions can be derived from the places where you didn’t meet their criteria. Although rubrics are common with state and federal grants, It is often much less formal for foundations. 


On top of this, even when you GET the award, especially with government applications – ask for your score/feedback sheets as you want to see where you really excelled and use the feedback to help structure future applications. Following reviewer scores to the letter won’t guarantee your success, but it certainly increases your odds.


Best wishes for your grant seeking success,

Diane H. Leonard, GPC

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