top of page
  • Writer's pictureSara

Boost your grant chances: Eliminate these 5 errors and secure funding for your European project

Securing funding through grants can be a game-changer for organizations, providing vital resources to fuel innovation, expand programs, and achieve their missions. However, the grant writing process can be deceptively complex, and even experienced applicants can fall victim to common mistakes. Here at NETO Innovation, we're passionate about empowering organizations to achieve their goals. In this blog post, we'll equip you with the knowledge to avoid five critical pitfalls that can derail your grant application and guide you towards crafting winning proposals that resonate with reviewers and secure the funding you need. 

Securing grant funding can be a game-changer for organizations of all sizes. Whether you're a non-profit aiming to tackle social issues, a research institution pushing the boundaries of science, or a startup developing innovative solutions, grant funding can provide the vital resources to turn your aspirations into reality. However, navigating the world of grant writing can be a complex process. Even the most ambitious and deserving projects can fail at the application stage due to common mistakes. This blog post aims to equip grant writers of all levels with the knowledge to avoid these drawbacks and write high-quality proposals that stand out from the crowd. We'll explain the five key areas where mistakes frequently occur, offering practical solutions and actionable steps to ensure your grant application makes a strong impression. 

grant application

Mistake #1: Failing to align with funder priorities. 

The pitfall: Not thoroughly researching the grant maker's mission, focus areas, and funding priorities. This leads to proposals that don't resonate with the reviewers and miss the mark. 

The solution: Deeply explore the funder priorities. Before crafting your proposal, spend ample time researching the grant maker. Utilize resources like the European commission's funding & tenders portal to identify relevant funding programs and explore their specific priorities. Additionally, the EURAXESS service network provides valuable resources and guidance tailored to researchers seeking European funding. 

  • Review their website and annual reports for funding priorities, past awards, and areas of interest. 

  • Analyse their recent grant awards to understand the types of projects they typically support. 

  • If possible, attend webinars or information sessions hosted by the funder. This will provide valuable insights into their evaluation criteria and expectations. 

Actionable step: Tailor your proposal to the match. Every element of your proposal – from the problem statement to the proposed activities – should demonstrate a clear alignment with the funder's priorities. Use the funder's language and terminology when describing your project. In addition to the tips outlined above, consider exploring these valuable resources specifically focused on European grant opportunities and support services: 

Mistake #2: Weak narrative and unclear impact 

The pitfall: Focusing solely on project details without composing a powerful narrative that captures the reviewer's attention. Additionally, failing to clearly articulate the impact your project will have. 

The solution: Storytelling for impact. Grant reviewers receive a high volume of applications. A strong narrative helps your proposal stand out. 

  • Start with a clear and concise problem statement that describes the need your project addresses. 

  • Use vivid language and data to paint a picture of the current situation and its consequences. 

  • Introduce your organization as a solution provider with a strong track record of success. 

  • Clearly demonstrate the anticipated impact of your project, using quantifiable metrics whenever possible. 

Actionable step: Develop a strong impact statement. Craft a concise statement that succinctly captures the positive outcomes your project will achieve. This statement should be prominently featured in your proposal and used throughout to reinforce your impact potential. 

Mistake #3: Unrealistic budget and lack of justification 



The pitfall: Submitting a budget that is not well-defined, lacks transparency, or appears to be over- or under-budgeted. Additionally, neglecting to adequately justify each budget item. 

The solution: Transparency and detailed breakdown. Create a clear and detailed budget that reflects the true cost of your project. 

  • Break down budget items into specific categories (e.g., personnel, equipment, travel). 

  • Obtain quotes for major expenses and include them as justification. 

  • Clearly explain how each budget item directly contributes to achieving your project goals. 

Actionable step: Demonstrate financial strength. Consider including a brief overview of your organization's financial health and budget management practices. This demonstrates your fiscal responsibility and ability to manage grant funds effectively. 

Mistake #4: Inattentive proofreading and formatting errors 

grant proposal

The pitfall: Submitting a proposal riddled with typos, grammatical errors, or inconsistencies in formatting. These errors create a negative impression and cast doubt on the professionalism of your organization. 

The solution: Closely examine your work. Proofread your proposal meticulously, paying close attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation. 

  • Utilize spell-checking tools and have multiple people review your proposal before submission. 

  • Ensure consistent formatting throughout your document, adhering to the funder's guidelines. 

Actionable step: Maintain a professional presentation. Present a clean, well-organized, and visually appealing document. Use clear headings, consistent fonts, and appropriate spacing. 

Mistake #5: Missing deadlines or incomplete applications  


The pitfall: Submitting an incomplete or late application. This reflects poorly on your organization and can lead to immediate disqualification. 

The solution: Plan and meticulously manage deadlines. Start working on your proposal well in advance of the submission deadline. 

  • Develop a project timeline with clearly defined milestones for completion. 

  • Assign responsible individuals for each step of the application process. 

  • Utilize project management tools and calendar reminders to stay on track. 

Actionable step: Double-check everything before submitting. Before hitting submit, carefully review your application for completeness. Ensure all required documents, forms, and signatures are included. 

By diligently avoiding the five common pitfalls discussed in this blog, you'll be well on your way to writing a successful grant proposal that stands out from the crowd. Remember, thorough research, a captivating narrative highlighting your impact, a well-defined budget, meticulous proofreading, and a commitment to meeting deadlines are fundamental for success. 

Writing a winning grant proposal can be a time-consuming and detail-oriented process. But the potential rewards of securing funding are undeniable. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the application process, don't hesitate to seek help. At NETO Innovation, we have a team of experienced grant writers and consultants who can guide you through every step, from identifying suitable funding opportunities to crafting a polished proposal and navigating the application process. 

Let us help you turn your vision into reality. Contact us today for a free consultation and discover how we can transform your grant writing journey. Remember, with careful planning, attention to detail, and a little expert advice, securing the funding you need to achieve your goals is within reach. 

Follow us on our social media channels for more informative content like this.    


Linked In



References : 

  1. European commission's funding & tenders portal : 

  2. EURAXESS Service Network : 

  3. Enterprise Europe Network : 

  4. EuropaGrants: 

  5. Horizon Europe work programmes: 

  6. GrantWriter's guide to powerful proposals:

  7. The European Association for Grant Research (EURAG): 

  8. The European Commission's funding & tenders portal - guidance documents: 

  9. The OECD DAC evaluation criteria: 

  10. The European Commission's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on grant applications: 

  11. The European Commission's guide to proposal quality: 

  12. GrantSpace:  


bottom of page