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Understanding the Hurdles of Grant Writing

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For young nonprofits eager to make a difference, securing grant funding is often seen as a vital lifeline to kickstart their mission-driven initiatives. However, the reality is that new nonprofits face significant challenges in obtaining grants, and the grant-writing process can sometimes feel like a fruitless endeavor. In this article, CharityBox delves into the reasons why new nonprofits often struggle to secure grants and the potential pitfalls that can make grant writing a time-consuming and resource-intensive task.

1. Limited Track Record and Experience:

New nonprofits often lack a track record of proven success and tangible impact. Funders prefer to invest in organizations with a history of effectively executing projects and achieving measurable outcomes. Without a track record, new nonprofits might face skepticism from grantors about their capacity to deliver on their promises.

2. Limited Financial Stability:

Grantors seek to support financially stable organizations that can sustain their operations and programs over time. New nonprofits may not have a strong financial foundation or diversified funding sources, making them appear less reliable in the eyes of potential funders.

3. Intense Competition:

The nonprofit sector is highly competitive, with numerous organizations vying for limited grant funding opportunities. New nonprofits often find themselves competing with well-established and well-known organizations, making it challenging to stand out and secure grants.

4. Lack of Strong Networks:

Established nonprofits often have extensive networks and connections within the philanthropic community, giving them an advantage when seeking grants. New nonprofits may struggle to build these crucial relationships, hindering their access to funding opportunities.

5. Complex Grant Writing Process:

Grant writing is a demanding and complex process that requires significant time and resources. For new nonprofits with limited staff and resources, devoting extensive effort to grant writing might not yield immediate results.

6. Misalignment with Funder Priorities:

Grantors have specific funding priorities and objectives. If a new nonprofit's mission and projects do not align closely with a funder's focus areas, the likelihood of securing grants diminishes significantly.

7. Long Grant Review Periods:

Grant review and decision-making processes can be lengthy, spanning several months. For new nonprofits in need of immediate funding, this extended timeline can create financial strain and frustration.

8. Funding Restricted to Local Initiatives:

Some funders prioritize local initiatives and organizations rooted in the community they serve. New nonprofits without established local ties might face difficulties securing funding from such sources.


While new nonprofits may face hurdles in the grant-seeking process, grant writing can still be a valuable exercise in honing organizational goals, developing a clear mission, and refining project plans. By strategically approaching grant writing and seeking alternative funding sources, new nonprofits can lay the groundwork for future grant opportunities while continuing to pursue their mission and vision. While grants may not always materialize immediately, the journey of grant writing can be a valuable learning experience, helping nonprofits strengthen their capacities and resilience in the pursuit of positive social change.

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