5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for Grants

Mar 13, 2024 12:40:00 PM / by Kyleigh Rosado

5 common grant mistakes-USFCR

Applying for grants can be a rewarding endeavor for organizations seeking funding for their projects. However, there are pitfalls that many applicants fall into, jeopardizing their chances of success. In this guide, we'll explore five common yet critical, mistakes to avoid when navigating the grant application process. 

Missing the Letter of Intent Deadline

One of the earliest stumbling blocks for grant applicants is missing the Letter of Intent (LOI) deadline. Many qualified applicants miss out on a chance to apply for funding because they didn’t make the preliminary Letter of Intent deadline. Those new to grant applications may not even know to look out for this. An LOI serves as a gateway to the full application, giving the funder the chance to get a short and concise summary of your project before submitting a more detailed proposal. Failing to submit this document on time may disqualify you from applying for the grant.  

Not Meeting Cost Match Requirements

Oftentimes, State and Federal grants require applicants to chip into their project’s budget, with a cost match requirement. To those who are new to grant submissions, this concept is likely unfamiliar. A cost match requirement may be a percentage of your total project or a set dollar amount that the applicant is expected to contribute in addition to requested funding. It is crucial to be aware of this aspect of an application, as missing or miscalculating the cost match amount could be dire for your application. Failing to meet this budgetary requirement could disqualify your application before your project gets a fair shot. 

Unclear Objectives & Outcomes

Being able to clearly define the objectives and anticipated outcomes of your project is crucial for any grant application. Funders want to see a well-defined purpose and measurable results before committing to fund your project. Take the time to articulate your project's goals and the impact it aims to achieve. Surprisingly, many applicants fail to articulate their objectives and outcomes, failing to convey to the funder how the money will serve its intended purpose by the end of your project.

Incomplete or Outdated Financial Documents

A common mistake that many applicants face is providing incomplete or outdated financial documentation. This could negatively impact the competitiveness of your application, as grant funders value transparency. Before applying for grants, ensure all financial documents are up-to-date and accurately reflect your organization's financial standing. A comprehensive budget is vital for demonstrating your ability to responsibly manage grant funding should you be awarded. 

Last-Minute Pre-Registrations on Application Portals

State and Federal Grants require applicants to register within a designated portal, where your grant application will ultimately be submitted. Seems like a simple task; however, delaying this registration increases the risk of missing deadlines due to potential technical glitches and delays. Because deadlines are final, it's vital to ensure you complete your pre-registrations sooner rather than later, sparing yourself from scrambling on submission day. 

 Pro Tip: Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help  

Navigating the grant application process can be complex, but you don't have to go it alone. Don’t make the mistake of not having someone edit and review your grant opportunity before you submit. Having a second set of eyes reviewing your application materials can make all the difference in presenting a compelling and competitive proposal. By steering clear of these common mistakes and leveraging expert support when needed, you can enhance your organization's prospects of securing valuable grant funding for your projects.

If you are ready to go after grants, but need assistance in the process, USFCR’s Grant Writing Team can assist your organization’s unique program needs. 

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To speak with a Registration and Contracting Specialist, Call (866) 216-5343

Tags: News, Grants

Kyleigh Rosado

Written by Kyleigh Rosado