What to Do If Your Project Isn't Funded?
a message from McKenzi Kumpf, Community Development Specialist
First and foremost, do not get discouraged that your application was rejected. It doesn’t diminish your project’s worth! There are many applicants for one funding opportunity, and we need to understand the fact that not every project can be funded. Oftentimes, it’s a matter of scoring criteria and competition. An application with a lower score may get funded this year because the competition was low, while a high-scoring application may get rejected next year because more competing projects applied. In grant writing, persistence is key. Breathe, dust yourself off, and get back up again.
The great thing about grants is the funder usually presents an opportunity to sit down and provide feedback over your application, or at the very least will send written feedback via email upon request. Take this opportunity! In fact, ask for it! The worst the funder can say is, “No.” And they usually won’t. In gaining that feedback, not only will you learn how to create a stronger application and make improvements where needed, you establish a connection with the funder. This gives you the opportunity to have a contact to reach out to should additional questions arise during the application process.
Take Feedback and Look for Improvements
After you receive feedback from the funder, talk through the feedback with your team while going through the application. The feedback will give you a fresh perspective on your proposal, and you will be able to see what the funder saw, strategize and make the necessary updates.
Wait for the Next Round of Funding or Search for New Opportunities
You’ve taken the breath, received the feedback and made the improvements to your application. Now, it’s time for the next round. When the next round is announced, review the grant guidelines for any new information that may have been added from the last and get to work. Keep in mind, you are not limited to apply for the same grant. Another opportunity may come available before the next round of funding that fits your project proposal and eligibility requirements. Should that opportunity arise, go for it! You’ve done the groundwork. You’ve done the hard part. No un-funded grant application is a failure because you now have a starting point, messaging and data to use to apply for future opportunities.
Grants have the ability to help businesses and organizations through difficult times, jumpstart projects and change communities. Your project is worth pursuing, but it’s not always easy. There are occasional roadblocks that will pop-up even though we try our best to avoid them. The project may not receive funding the first time around, but that doesn’t mean the dream is dead. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t be afraid or too discouraged to try again.
About McKenzi Kumpf
As RJL's Community Development Specialist, McKenzi specializes at telling communities' stories. Within her first year at RJL, she has been able to obtain millions of dollars in funding for various communities throughout Indiana. A talented grant writer and natural storyteller, she works closely with all departments at RJL Solutions to correctly tell each client's unique and individual story. McKenzi becomes the wordsmith many clients need to achieve their goals and find opportunities. Not only that, but her hidden talent lies in video design in editing.
McKenzi is a graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College where she received a degree in Professional Writing. Her course curriculum and internships strengthened her interest and skills in the grant writing industry. In her free time, McKenzi coaches volleyball at The Academy Volleyball Club in Indianapolis. As a former student athlete, McKenzi’s competitive edge is lined with grit and grace which she brings each day to the RJL Solutions team.
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