Why Are My Applications Being Denied?

Grant writing is not easy; it’s not *just* about finding a grant, writing, submitting, and then repeating.

Rather, the grants profession is very competitive.

While there are many funders supporting a wide variety of fields of interest; they often care about certain geographic areas (i.e. – one city, one state), and often only provide certain types of funding (i.e. – capital, programmatic).

To help you stop and analyze your application denials and think about how to strengthen your future applications, here’s a rundown of the common mistakes we see made in denied grant applications:

  1. Your grant proposal lacked research to support your need statement.
  2. The particular grant you chose didn’t align with your organization’s strategic mission.
  3. The funder you chose doesn’t share the same vision and mission as your organization.
  4. The funder doesn’t fund the field of interest or area you chose to write the grant on. In simple words, you chose the wrong funder.
  5. You didn’t follow the grant maker’s application requirements.
    1. Exceeded page limit
    2. Wrong font style
  6. You chose the wrong project to align with the funder’s priorities.
  7. Your budget was not effective at telling your story.
  8. You were just looking at the money and not strategic alignment and sustainability. (Yes, this can be true.)
  9. Your budget and narrative didn’t match.
  10. You didn’t write a compelling story.


  1. Your organization lacks financial stability.
  2. You are not grant ready.

Take our GRASP Tool to help you determine how grant ready your organization is and what areas of improvement you should focus on to increase your competitiveness.

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