By Sarah B Lange under Fundraising, Grants on April 1, 2021

Grants are the primary source of revenue, yet in a marketplace where the rejection rate has climbed above 50%, you’re more likely to get a rejection letter than a check. And when you DO get a check, it’s probably for less than you wanted, and far less than you need. What’s a grant writer to do???

Here are the top 3 reasons you’re likely to get a rejection letter:

1. The marketplace has become incredibly congested. In the US, there are 1.5 MILLION nonprofits, and most of them are vying for foundation funding. Pair this with the volatility of the stock market, and foundations may find themselves with fewer funds to distribute. Bottom line: congestion + poor investment performance = less money. And now with the pandemic, many foundations have changed to whom and how they provide funding!
2. Your request did not meet with the funder’s areas of interest. I’ve seen situations in which nonprofits mail out the same proposal to a bunch of funders and hope that they’ll land a few grants. I have yet to see this strategy pay off. Literally. Not a dime.
3The applicant did not follow instructions. Each foundation has its own guidelines. Some have their own forms. Some have online applications. They all want various documents. If you want to get the grant, you need to follow the directions.
As you may have noticed, reasons # 2 and #3 are completely avoidable – which also means they’re easy problems to fix! However, fixing problem #2 and #3 isn’t enough. In today’s competitive market, you need to know how to write a grant that’s not going to put your readers to sleep. The model of grant writing we were taught is fine, but it’s BORING. And that won’t cut it in today’s market.

Before I even write Word One, I do a serious amount of homework to make sure I’m not wasting my time – or my client’s money. When I craft my proposals, I use donor psychology, marketing techniques and other out-of-the-box strategies to keep my readers awake and engaged. As a result, the vast majority of the time, my clients get checks in the mail – and we usually get the amount we asked for.

Ready to learn how to write winning grants – even in a pandemic? Join me for Writing Winning Grants in a Pandemic: What You Need to Know on Saturday, April 10 from 9:30 – 12:30 EST. 
You’ll learn how to write a winning grant and how to approach funders during the pandemic so you can land the grant money you need to continue running your programs and services.

Even if you can’t attend in person, go ahead and register – we’ll be sending out a recording on the Monday following the workshop! To learn more and register, click here.


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