How to Address Common Proposal Criticisms


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Ways to Prevent/ Address

Proposal is hard to understand.

Write clearly. Don’t repeat. Be specific. Avoid jargon.

Funder doesn’t believe organization is capable of executing project.

Prove management capabilities Use examples of previous successes

Proposal doesn’t look professional.

Check budget for mistakes and proofread narrative. Be sure it’s bound in the manner requested.

Project does not appear realistic or meaningful.

Show how project fits your mission.

Timeline is absent or unclear.

Show milestones and endpoint on schedule of tasks.

Amount requested isn’t clear or appropriate.

Make sure your request fits the project scope and the funder’s range.

Proposal is long and boring.

Imagine yourself as a funder wading through proposals. Read it aloud or ask someone outside your organization to read it.

Project doesn’t match funder’s priorities.


Don’t distort your mission or the funder’s. Be sure you understand what the funder wants to accomplish.

Personal contact has not made a good impression.

Be formal in all communications.

Proposal is too desperate.

Request, don’t beg. Focus on strengths and positive outcomes.


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