Writing successful grants is a process. An important part of this overall process is the post-award phase.
Even if your grant isn’t approved.
There are still things you’ll need to do that will leave a favorable impression with the representatives at the funding source. It will help you learn why your grant proposal wasn’t funded and increase your chances of winning an award in the next round.
1. Initiate and maintain a relationship with the decision-makers at the funding source.
Write a thank-you letter to the funding source’s Program Officer or appropriate representative. Express your appreciation for the time it took to review your proposal. Indicate you’d like to meet to review your proposal and will be calling to set an appointment.
2. Ask questions. Lots of questions.
A major reason for meeting with the funding source’s representative is to make yourself (and your organization) known to the powers-that-be at the funding source. Just as important is the opportunity it gives you to ask questions about why your proposal was rejected and how you can make it stronger.
3. Find out if you can submit a new proposal.
Ask if you can re-submit during the next round of funding. Make certain you implement all their recommendations before re-submitting. The reviewers will notice if you didn’t take their advice.
4. Put the Program Officer on your mailing list.
Ask if you can add the Program Officer to your mailing list. You want to keep your organization’s name (and efforts) in front of the Program Officer. You also want to keep them apprised of all your good works within the community you serve and provide proof you’re being good stewards of the public funds you’ve received through other fundraising efforts.
5. Ask if there are other funding opportunities.
Ask the Program Office if they are aware of any other opportunities for grants that match your funding needs. They may know of a good match with or introduce you to the decision-makers at another funding source. It never hurts to ask.
6. Don’t give up.
Most importantly: Don’t give up. Getting grants takes time. If you are not awarded a grant at first, take it as an opportunity to learn how you can make your proposal better and more effective.
It’s all part of the process.