Dealing with Failed Foundation or Corporate Funding Requests

By Beverly A. Browning

Program officers from local foundations are usually more than willing to discuss the reasons a grant proposal was denied. However, some foundations and corporations that fund throughout the nation explicitly state that due to the volume of grant applications anticipated, they won’t provide feedback on declined applications.

Never, ever throw a rejected foundation or corporate grant request into your files, walk away, and give up. Instead, do the following:

  • Go back and do another funding search to identify a new list of foundation and corporate funders you can approach with your grant request.
  • Convene your stakeholders’ planning team to discuss the failed attempt with the first funder or funders. Sometimes, other people in the community have funding leads to share with you. After all, they want to see your project funded as much as you do.
  • Beef up your original foundation or corporate proposal to meet the requirements of state or federal funding opportunities. This means writing more narrative and adding more research to support your statement of need. You also need a new project budget based on federal or state funding limitations.

Foundations or corporate giving entities probably won’t provide reviewers’ comments; the Freedom of Information Act applies only to grant applications submitted to local, county, state, and federal government agencies.