The Biggest Grant Writing Mistakes (and How to Do It Successfully)

Learn what the biggest mistakes in grant writing are, why it matters, and how you can make it easier by applying with Grantify.

Megan Williams
April 25, 2024
grant writing mistakes

Are you thinking about hiring a grant writer for your business grant application? Or even tackling grant writing by yourself?

We can see why it’s tempting.

Grants are a powerful, and yet often overlooked, option for small business finance.

You don’t have to give up any company equity, and unlike loans, there are no repayments.

You might also be surprised by the amounts on offer - anywhere from £10,000 for smaller projects, and up to £2 million for innovation funding.

In fact, the UK government spent £172 billion on grants in the financial year 2021 to 2022 alone.

However, writing a grant application by yourself, or even hiring a grant writing service, will cost invaluable time and money you’ll never get back.

What’s Involved in a Grant Application?

The short answer? A lot of work.

Depending on the type and size of grant you're applying for, you’ll be asked to produce:

  • A convincing articulation of how your product or service solves a pressing problem, not already served by the market.
  • Robust statistics to back up your market research.
  • Financial forecasts.
  • A commercial strategy for growth.
  • Technical breakdowns (for innovation projects).
  • Detailed costings for how you will use the grant award.

Aside from the depth of information required, your application also needs to be well written and engaging.

Invigilators read hundreds of applications, and one that tells a well-crafted story with a polished and confident tone will stand out from the rest.

A comprehensive company breakdown, business plan with justified projections AND editorial skills? For many small businesses or startups, this is a huge ask, and an almost prohibitive time-sink.

Why Winning Applications Need Professional Help

Writing a winning application requires an understanding of not just what, but how, to write.

Even experienced business owners may find themselves unable to write in the formal academic manner that assessors expect to see.

The most common pitfalls include:

  • A lack of guidance on 'big questions' posed by applications.
  • Applications not being focused enough.
  • Failure to understand the brief and criteria.
  • Failure to understand how to show and demonstrate the financials of the project.

When you consider the sheer time, effort and manpower needed to complete an application, which could all be used to better effect elsewhere in your business, it’s no wonder many businesses turn to professional grant consultancies for help.

But even this isn’t a foolproof option.

What to Avoid

Professional grant consultancy is a must if you’re serious about success, but no matter what stage of growth you’re in, here are the challenges:


We’ve known businesses to be charged in the tens of thousands for larger applications. With little market regulation, prices can vary wildly between consultancies especially as time often drifts beyond quoted hours.


‘Onboarding’ a grant writer into the complexities of your business takes time, to ensure the writer understands what you do to the level required.

Grant writers often ask applicants to read long open-ended instructional PDFs that are generic and not always relevant to specific proposals. Expect long explanations of the process and guessing what information the writer will need from you, resulting in lengthy back and forth.


With your application materials being managed by a third party, you may find the lack of oversight a concern. If changes are needed, you’ll find yourself constantly rebriefing the writer on the minutiae of every aspect of your business plan.

The Solution for a Winning Application

So, is there an alternative to traditional grant writing or the DIY approach?

Yes - using Grantify’s all-in-one application portal.

We established Grantify to eliminate these time and cost issues associated with grant writing.

Grantify’s platform breaks down the complex application process into short, simple questions, using model answers from past winners as examples, and even writes sections of the application for you.

We offer free access to your own Statista account to reliably source crucial data to help build your case.

Grantify’s reviewers have worked on hundreds of winning applications, and our comprehensive feedback analysis process means that our platforms and guidance reflect exactly what funders want to see from a successful application, across all the grants we work on.

You have full and total control over when and how your application progresses and you can be reassured by our results.
All for a transparent upfront fee.

To find out which grants you can apply for, take our 90 second quiz to find out if you're eligible for funding and application support with Grantify.

Don’t waste any more time on traditional grant writing – step into the future of grants with Grantify.

Take our 90 second quiz
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