I recently requested feedback from a funder when I learned that my really good request was turned down. My proposal was strong, the fit with the funder was excellent, but I knew the competition would be intense. I just didn’t realize how intense. Nonetheless, it is still a best practice to ask, so ask I did.
The funder responded that she had received more than 1000 applications nationwide, and they could only fund 140 total. In New England, she had received 150 proposals, and could only fund 4! So right from the get-go, that funder was only going to fund 2% of all the good proposals that were submitted.
Does it make sense to apply to this funder in the future, vis a vis my client’s time and/or budget? Probably not. If I didn’t ask the question, how would we make the decision on whether or not to apply next year? Wishin’ and hopin’ make for neither good resource management nor good grant strategy!
Here are six other best practice tips to implement for 2017:
- Tailor each proposal to the funder – do not photocopy the exact same proposal to each funder to whom you wish to apply.
- Call to speak with the program officer (unless they indicate that phone calls are not welcome) in advance of the proposal submission about your idea, to obtain relevant feedback.
- Send your proposal in well before the deadline, in order to leave time for questions or requests for additional or omitted materials.
- Make sure at least one other person proofreads the proposal prior to submittal. Two proofreaders are better.
- Include a quote(s) from someone who has been impacted by your program.
- Always write a thank you note after being notified of the decision, regardless of whether it is an approval or a rejection.