by Jill Ryan
Rejection. Obviously I am not referring to personal relationships or difficulties purchasing a new hybrid, grocery-getting, high gas mileage vehicle. Rather, I am speaking about the difficult circumstance of receiving a rejection for a funding proposal after spending a great deal of time and effort creating it.
Having recently sent our twelfth set of letters to citizens and groups that we were not able to fund, and reflecting on my own experiences of receiving such letters as I try to fund programs, I know these messages are difficult. Although I am sure this will be hard to believe, I actually find it more difficult to make these decisions about who we can fund and write the letters to groups we were not able to fund, than it is to have my own proposals for funding turned down.
Why is it so difficult to say no? 1) Because the proposals are outstanding and we simply don’t have the resources to fund all of them, 2) because I understand all of the time, resources, and effort poured into each and every proposal, and 3) because the volunteer groups and citizens that apply to GLAHNF are so important to the Basin’s aquatic resources and their local communities.
So please, if you do receive a “no” for funding, consider the following: 1) someone spent a great deal of time and probably several sleepless nights considering the proposals for funding and undoubtedly wished they had the resources to fund more of the applications, 2) if the funder is willing to discuss why proposals were not funded, a call is an easy way to garner ideas for improving proposals (if invited, don’t be afraid to call), 3) a rejection doesn’t necessarily mean the proposal wasn’t good; it may not have fit the funding priorities as well as other proposals did, the proposal may be better suited to another funding source, or there may simply have been far more proposals for funding than resources available, and 4) keep trying and get as much input on your proposals as possible.