Skip navigation

Tag Archives: grant readiness

This post is one of a series that explores reasons why grant proposals fail to win funding. It presents some of the reasons that relate to proposal development (writing and budgeting) and delivery (publishing). These reasons for funding outcomes are among those that are most amenable to a grant seeker’s influence or control.

Other posts in the series have explored other reasons for a proposal’s success or failure that have fallen along a continuum that is less and more within a grant seeker’s control or influence:

  • Choice of opportunities
  • Applicant attributes
  • Context and competition
  • Applicant readiness
  • Proposal content

 

A grant proposal may succeed or fail for any combination of reasons. Some reasons reflect aspects of the proposal as an act of writing and budgeting. Other reasons reflect aspects of the proposal as an act of publishing. These reasons are largely within the control of a grant seeker.

 

Development

Some reasons a grant proposal may fail to win funding pertain to the development of that proposal:

  • Its tone is too formal or too informal
  • Its narrative is too long or too brief
  • Its narrative includes too many extraneous details
  • Its narrative omits key details
  • Its narrative fails to convey organizational competence and/or staff expertise
  • It fails to convey the significance of a problem and/or its solution
  • Its grammar or punctuation is deficient
  • Its text has too many spelling errors
  • Its budget has too many arithmetical errors
  • Its contents are internally inconsistent (e.g., budget and activities)
  • Its content requires too much effort to read (e.g., no headings)
  • It uses too much technical jargon
  • It uses technical terms incorrectly
  • It uses too many acronyms
  • It does not explain what its acronyms mean
  • It omits required information

 

Delivery

Other reasons a grant proposal may fail to win funding pertain to the delivery of a proposal:

  • It uses incorrect application forms
  • It fails to provide all information required on application forms
  • It uses an incorrect document format
  • Its font type or size, margin size, or text-spacing ignore instructions
  • It uses an incorrect file format (e.g., .doc or .pdf)
  • It lacks required print or electronic signatures
  • It omits required attachments or appendices
  • It includes inappropriate attachments or appendices
  • It omits a required letter of transmittal or cover letter
  • Parts or all of it lacks page numbers
  • Its parts or sections are out of a required sequence
  • Required sections or pages are missing
  • It is uploaded far too close to an online application deadline
  • Its contents after uploading are incomplete

 

This is the last post in this series.

Advertisements

This post is one of a series that explores reasons why proposals fail to win funding. It presents some of the reasons that relate to proposal content (or lack of it). Content is among those reasons for funding outcomes that are most amenable to a grant seeker’s control or influence.

Other posts in the series explore other reasons for a proposal’s success or failure that will fall along a continuum that is less and more within a grant seeker’s control or influence:

  • Choice of opportunities
  • Applicant attributes
  • Context and competition
  • Applicant readiness
  • Proposal development and delivery

 

A grant proposal may succeed or fail for any combination of reasons. Some reasons reflect the proposal’s qualities as an instrument of exposition and persuasion; these reasons are largely within the control or influence of a grant seeker.

 

Content

A grant proposal may fail to win funding for reasons related to its content if:

  • It does not clearly fit a funder’s interests or priorities
  • It does not clearly reflect the funder’s interests or priorities
  • It lacks a well-defined goal
  • It does not link its goal to a funder’s goal
  • It lacks measurable objectives
  • Its expected outputs and outcomes are unclear
  • Its objectives are not attainable in the time available
  • Its work plan is not feasible in the time available
  • It fails to demonstrate a clear and compelling need
  • It presents inadequate data to make its case
  • It provides obsolete or incomplete data to support need
  • Its activities do not follow a logical sequence
  • Its timeline for activities or deliverables is unclear
  • It does not identify persons responsible for key activities
  • Its personnel appear to lack skills necessary for their roles
  • Time commitments of key personnel are insufficient
  • It fails to convey organizational capacity and accomplishments
  • It fails to base its strategies on proven approaches
  • It offers no plan to monitor progress or to adjust strategies
  • Its research rationale or literature review is out of date
  • Its evaluation design fails to measure attainment of objectives
  • Its identified evaluation instruments are inappropriate
  • Its budget is unreasonable (too high)
  • Its budget is inadequate (too low)
  • Its budget is not justified or explained
  • Its budget includes explicitly disallowed cost items
  • Its budget does not reflect the funder’s priorities

 

The next post in this series will explore the development and delivery of an applicant’s grant proposal as potential reasons for its funding outcome.

 

This post is one of a series that explores reasons why grant proposals fail to win funding. It presents some of the reasons that relate to an applicant’s state of readiness to apply for a competitively awarded grant – or to manage one if it were awarded. These reasons are among those at least partially amenable to a grant seeker’s control or influence.

Other posts in the series explore reasons for a proposal’s success or failure that will fall along a continuum that is less and more within a grant seeker’s control or influence:

  • Choice of opportunities
  • Applicant attributes
  • Context and competition
  • Proposal content
  • Proposal development and delivery

 

A grant proposal succeeds or fails for any combination of reasons. Some reasons reflect aspects of the applicant’s leadership. Other reasons reflect aspects of the applicant’s resources. Still other reasons reflect aspects of the applicant’s procedures.

 

Leadership

A proposal may not win a grant if an applicant’s leadership:

  • Lacks firm commitment to pursuing a particular grant opportunity
  • Wavers, procrastinates, equivocates, or acts indecisively before a grant deadline
  • Decides to apply for a grant too close to its application deadline
  • Lacks a pre-existing proposal submission approval process
  • Demands too much lead time or requires too many steps to approve submitting a proposal
  • Decides not to submit a proposal–or decides to submit one–but does so only at the eleventh hour

 

Resources

A proposal may fail for reasons related to an applicant’s access to resources if:

  • Available data do not substantiate need
  • Appropriately qualified key personnel cannot be identified or described
  • Appropriate partnering agencies are unavailable for a required partnership
  • One or more required partners withdraw from a proposal near its deadline
  • Partnering agencies cannot agree to terms on a memorandum of understanding
  • Qualifications of available and identified personnel are inadequate
  • Applicant is unable to adopt a required evaluation design (e.g., an experimental design)
  • Assets are insufficient to commit any to matching funds or to provide cost sharing

 

Procedures

A proposal may fail for reasons reflecting procedural readiness if the applicant:

  • Has fiscal management practices and products that are not audit-ready
  • Lacks formal human subjects research policies and procedures
  • Lacks formal confidentiality and privacy policies and procedures
  • Fails to submit a required letter of intent or a required pre-proposal
  • Fails to submit a memorandum of understanding endorsed by all partners
  • Does not secure authorized signatures are unavailable before a proposal submission deadline

 

The next post in this series will explore the contents of an applicant’s grant proposal as potential reasons for its funding outcome.

As a consultant, determining whether a client should pursue a competitive grant is not always easy.

 

At times, all signs are that a client is ready to compete. The leadership’s go-ahead decision is unequivocal and has broad-based support. All of the organization’s assets necessary to prepare a proposal are committed to the task.

 

At other times, the signs are more uncertain. Some outspoken leaders or stakeholders may be anxious about subsequent commitments if a proposal is funded. Internal or external critics may question the wisdom of pursuing a particular grant. And the organization as a whole may be reluctant or unable to commit significant time and money to developing a proposal that may or may not yield funding.

 

The more of the list-items below that a client can mark as present, the more likely it is to be ready to pursue a specific grant opportunity.

 

Organizational Readiness:

As an applicant organization, a client is probably ready to pursue a specific grant opportunity if it can:

  • Supply adequate proofs of its legal status and eligibility
  • Provide sufficient data to substantiate need
  • Propose creative and innovative yet realistic and practical solutions to problems
  • Anchor its choice of key strategies in the scientific research literature
  • Identify and describe appropriately qualified key personnel
  • Bring other agencies on board in a partnership, if required
  • Track and report on its funding and expenditures
  • Adopt and execute a sufficiently rigorous evaluation design
  • Measure and report on interim and final outputs and outcomes
  • Commit enough matching funds or other cost sharing
  • Monitor and protect confidentiality and privacy, as needed
  • Enact and enforce human subjects research protocols, if needed
  • Commit to continuing its initiative after initial funding ends

 

Leadership Readiness:

As an applicant, a client is probably ready to seek a grant if its leadership has:

  • Completed its process of selecting priority grant opportunities
  • Validated a specific grant opportunity as a viable option
  • Firmly decided to pursue a particular grant opportunity
  • Adopted a proposal submission approval process
  • A shared awareness of the commitments that a funded proposal will entail
  • Sufficient human and financial resources to dedicate to developing a proposal
  • Policies in place for ensuring fiscal and programmatic accountability
  • Sufficient technologies available to create and submit an application

 

This post has focused on organizational and leadership readiness. A later post will address strategic and development readiness.

%d bloggers like this: