Grant Writing Mistakes to Avoid- Common Pitfalls and How to Fix Them

Securing Government grants is an important lifeline for many startups and companies to fund their ideas, initiatives and projects. In the US, all the budding entrepreneurs look for government grants to raise funding for innovative ideas that work for social development or economic growth. However, despite having a solid plan with a social objective, they failed to win the grant award. The biggest reason behind this failure is a lack of proper knowledge about writing grant proposals and making common mistakes. A grant proposal is the most important part of your grant application that tells the concerned agency about your idea, objectives, strategies and expected outcomes. It’s important to follow the grant guidelines, write a creative proposal, add the necessary details and submit it before the timeline. However, many people make some kind of mistakes while writing grant proposals that reduce their chances of winning. In this blog, we will shed light on the most common mistakes that grant seekers make, providing practical advice on how to avoid or correct them.

What is Grant Writing?

Grant writing is the process of writing a grant proposal to obtain funds via government grants. In this, the business or the individual has to write a pitch-like proposal that not only includes the information and objectives of the company and project but also defines how and why your project stands out from the crowd. It should include information like business name, description, goals, objectives, methods, strategies, fund allocation, and a blueprint of the procedure you are going to follow to achieve the desired goal. Besides the organization’s information, the grant proposal should clearly define how your project will fulfill its social objectives and aid in social development. The grant should be creative, impactful and strong enough to encourage the funder to make you win the grant. You can visit to learn about the recent government funding opportunities and find the one that aligns with your project idea.

Most Common Grant Writing Mistakes to Avoid

Grant writing is a complex process that includes a variety of details and information. There is high competition between people applying for government grants. To improve your chances of winning a grant, avoid these common mistakes that can jeopardize your grant application.

Not Reading and Following instructions

The application form includes the instructions you have to follow while writing the grant proposal. Many grant writers ignore reading and following the instructions and guidelines and make mistakes while writing the grant. This is the most common error despite being the easiest to prevent. On the other hand, government agencies receive thousands of grant proposals every year. They have to choose the ones that follow their instructions, fulfill the grant objectives, and provide all the information in a clear and creative manner. They first separate the ones who do not follow the instructions from the professionally written grants who follow instructions. Therefore, read the instructions carefully and follow them while writing the grant proposal.

Fail to Understand the Funder’s Interest

Another common mistake people make is failing to understand their funder agency and their interests. Each government funding agency and grant has an interest in a particular area, and it’s crucial to know that specific area of interest in order to align your grant proposal to that. For example – it is not sufficient to write simply scientific research when asking for a government grant for a scientific research project. You should understand which types of initiatives they prioritize and prefer and the criteria behind choosing the winners. This helps you add information that corresponds to the funder’s goal, vision, and values.

Inadequate Planning

Another mistake that reduces your chances of winning the grant is inadequate planning. This basically means that the grant writer fails to provide a detailed project plan, step-by-step procedure, proper budget allocation, expected progress of the project, etc. It’s not as simple as it may seem. You have to do in-depth research, gather supportive data and resources, add proper abstract, narrative, and timeline and tell how you are going to use the fund for various activities. Poor planning makes you write an inadequate and incomplete proposal that may not communicate your idea and information clearly.

Using Technical language and Jargon

It is a misconception that using technical language and jargon makes your grant proposal look professional. The reality is grant readers expect you to write the proposal in a clear, simple, and concise manner and avoid using jargon. Using things like jargon, acronyms, technical words, and complex sentences makes your grant proposal difficult to understand. When grant readers fail to understand your proposal, there is a high chance that they simply avoid reading it completely. Therefore, it’s important to avoid using such things and write your proposal in an easily understandable language.  

Lack of Clarity in Objectives

Many grant writers do not even have a clear idea of their objectives which is clearly reflected in their grant proposals. To win the grant, it’s crucial to have a clear and realistic goal along with an innovative and structured plan to achieve it in a specific time. Lack of clear objectives or setting unrealistic objectives depicts that you have not worked on your project research process and are not serious about it. This is a big red flag for funders while selecting the award winners. Therefore, set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals and declare your objectives clearly in the grant proposal.

Fail to highlight the Impact


A winning grant proposal should include information about the impact of your project on the economic or social development of the country. Clearly stating its impact on the target audience, society, and the funder helps you give justification about why funding your project is a worthy decision. Therefore, provide clear outcomes and the changes and advancements it will bring to society.


We have covered all the common mistakes people can make while writing grant applications that make them decrease the chance of winning a grant. A proper sequence from reading the instructions to highlighting the impact of the project plays a crucial role in getting you the government grant. Government agencies receive thousands of grant proposals, and they choose the ones that fulfill the requirements and leave a strong impact on their mind. Sometimes, even the best grant-writing proposal may fail due to various factors. However, designing your projects without making these grant writing mistakes is a major plus point.