This Is What You Should Do After A Grant Application Is Rejected

Sure, it’s a painful experience when your grant application is rejected, but it’s a normal one. Every grant writer faces rejections during their career. Sometimes, even the most excellent of proposals are denied simply because they are out of the funding organizations to reach (as far as budget is concerned). Even the national average is surprisingly low with grant writing success rates ranging anywhere from 10-30%. 

Many seasoned grant writers will tell you that there are so many elements of grant writing that are out of their control. They’ll tell you they felt confident they had a win on the horizon, only to be dumbfounded a few weeks later when they received a rejection letter in the mail. It happens to the best of us. At the end of the day, grant writers are making requests, not demands, so there’s no guarantee of a win. Nevertheless, here are a few things that can be done to set you up for success for the next round of applications. 

Follow Up With The Grantmaker.

It is always a good idea to follow up with a grant application. Whether it’s a federal, foundation, or state grant, you should always ask for feedback if you aren’t awarded funding. Sometimes they will say no, but that’s the worst-case scenario. Some grantmakers use a scoring rubric so you may be able to receive a copy of your score sheets and any comments left by the reviewer. With a copy, you’ll be able to see where you didn’t meet their criteria and use that to improve for the next time. 

Even if you are awarded funding, ask for your feedback sheets so you can see where you excelled and use that feedback to structure future proposals. 

Consider Different Funders.

If your application for a grant was unsuccessful, it could be that your chosen funder wasn’t the best fit for your proposal. Be sure to do in-depth research on the organization you choose BEFORE applying for the grant. This could save you loads of time, and possible rejection. It’s always a smart idea to try and obtain funds from a grantmaker within your industry. Who knows, your organization’s work may perfectly align with one grantmaking foundation’s mission. 

Do Some Training. 

Look for courses aimed at writing grant submissions so you can learn new and effective ways to reapply after a rejected application. Our Story-Based Grant Writing course is a great place to start. We’ll help you develop a simple but effective strategy for securing consistent year-over-year funds and MUCH more in this course.


Join a group of grant writers and nonprofit professionals to gain advice and support. This could be a national, local organization, or even a Facebook group such as the Nonprofit Grant Writing Support Group. 

Talk About The Rejection. 

Discuss the grant rejection with colleagues, mentors, and others who may be able to provide emotional support and give you feedback that will help you reapply for the grant when you feel ready.

AscendNBS wants to be your grant writing ally for social change. Contact our team at or 210-610-2440 to learn more about how our power and expertise can help you advance your mission and services. Visit us at to learn more.