Do you say thank you when you don’t get the grant?

Before I became a fundraiser in 2000, I spent nearly seven years working for a regional grantmaking foundation.

When I came on board, the foundation had only recently transitioned from a casual, privately run organization with the founder and his wife sending out checks to their beloved charities to an organized grantmaking entity.

There were growing pains during those early years.  I well recall the delighted surprise of  organizations who received more than they had requested in their grant proposals, thanks to the luck of good timing.  You see, their requests had come in near the close of our fiscal year and we had discovered that we had not expended the five percent requirement.  Private foundations are required by law to distribute an amount each year based on five percent of the average value of their net assets.

I also saw and participated in the hours of research, discussion, and tweaking that went into establishing initiatives, program areas, and grant application guidelines.

Most of all saw how seriously everyone in the foundation took their roles – to the founder’s mission, and to the community – and the care that went into reviewing grant proposals.

Giving is a joyful experience – and we received many expressions of gratitude.  But it was rare that an organization took the time to thank a foundation for their review when a proposal was declined.

What a missed opportunity!

Establishing a solid base of foundation support for your organization will take time.  Many of the books and courses talk about how to pen the “perfect” grant proposal.  But, in the end, it’s a relationship-building process.  By neglecting to show appreciation for the review process, even when you didn’t get that grant, you’re missing out, not just on the grant but on the boat as well.

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5 Responses to “Do you say thank you when you don’t get the grant?”

  1. HwaSoo LEE says:

    It could be the “manner” issue , but this is the point many organization missed out.I agree with you,Pamela.

  2. […] Do You Say Thank You When You Don’t Get the Grant? [Pamela’s Grantwriting Blog] 0 Comments […]

  3. Shuttlebug says:

    Pamela, is there anything useful we can ask after our proposal has been declined? Most foundations seem to be trying to head off questions by giving vague “reasons” why a proposal was not accepted. I don’t think it would be reasonable for foundations to explain to each applicant how their proposal could have been stronger, but is there a polite way of asking? Or would you suggest a simple not saying thank you for your review?

  4. Pamela Grow says:

    It always depends on the situation. Are you just beginning to build your base of foundation funding? If you’re unable to connect via the phone, you can still send a thank you letter — it will set you apart. There will always be foundations you will never get an answer from. But I have obtained funding after as many as five declinations (and that funder became a regular funder). Persistence, constantly improving and tweaking your proposals, and connecting one-on-one with the funder when you can is key.

  5. You should always say thanks to whatever you ask whether is will be given to you or not.


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