Last week we publish the first five reasons why funding bids are unsuccessful. Part Two of this list is below and if you missed Part One, click here to read those reasons before coming back to these reasons.

1. Lack of supporting documents​

You have a solid application that meets the criteria and you have answered all the questions. However, if you dont submit all the supporting documents along with your application, you again run the risk of being unsuccessful. For example:

- Submitting an application to work with children and young people, make sure your Safeguarding policy is up to date and stored somewhere you can easily access. 

- Looking to cook meals for the community, remember you will need all necessary food hygiene certificates so you can do so safely. 

2. No method of evaluating/monitoring the project​

The majority of funders are keen to fund organisations and projects which are well planned and likely to make a strong impact. Ask yourself how you will show the outcomes of your project and the impact that the project has had on your beneficiaries and/or the wider community. For example;

- Case studies

- Beneficiary surveys

- Quantitative data (eg meals supplied, trees planted)

3. Your application is not presented clearly

Most funders now use an online application form that guides you through the process and sometimes has strict word limits meaning you will only have so many words to use. However, some funders give you the option to submit a free form written application, for example, no more than 10 pages. This requires a more structured approach which, if not followed, can make it extremely harder for the funder to understand your project, the benefits it will be or why they should fund you. All this means is that it will be easier for the funder to reject the application. 

Additionally, check your spelling, grammar, and the use of technical terms that may be unfamiliar to a funder. Our advice is to find someone like a teacher/solicitor who is used to reviewing documents for their second opinion, not on the content of the application but how it reads, flows and to pick out any spelling mistakes.

4. Make sure your budget adds up

Keeping this one short, if your budget doesn't add up or is difficult to understand, the funder will have a hard time justifying why they should fund you. Check the numbers before you submit the application and make things as easy for you as possible. 

5. You're not always going to be successful

Lastly, on average only 1/10 funding applications are successful. You can follow all nine of the above points, provide a fully costed application, define the problem you are solving, how you will do so, and with processes in place to measure outcomes and compact but the fact of the matter is, grants are becoming more competitive with many of them being oversubscribed. This will mean that some applications cannot be funded by the funder. 

If those tips have been useful for you, let us know by emailing us on [email protected], giving us a call on 07908 209908, or let us know the next time we catch up with you. We wish you the best of luck with your application but following the steps above will make your life easier! 

Alex Murray


Lead for W3RT CVS, work for Watford and Three Rivers Trust. Helping to strengthen and support the local voluntary sector in #Watford.