How to Reject Proposal Politely via Email (with Template)

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the Importance: Recognizing the significance of rejecting a proposal politely to maintain professional relationships.
  • Email Structure: Step-by-step guidance on crafting a polite rejection email.
  • TemplateAccess a customizable template for your convenience.
  • Tips and Best Practices: Essential tips for maintaining professionalism and clarity.
  • Real-Life Examples: Illustrations of effective rejection emails in various scenarios.


Rejecting a proposal can be challenging, especially when trying to maintain a positive relationship with the sender. 

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to reject a proposal politely via email, ensuring that you convey your message clearly and respectfully.

Photo of a middle-aged Asian woman, dressed in a formal business attire, sitting at a sleek modern desk. She is intently typing a rejection letter for business proposal

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The Importance of Politeness in Rejection

Why it Matters:

Watercolor painting woman typing on a sleek black laptop

  • Maintains Professional Relationships: Politeness in rejection helps in preserving professional connections and future opportunities.
  • Reflects on Your Professionalism: It showcases your ability to handle delicate situations with grace.

Crafting the Email: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Subject Line: Choose a clear and respectful subject line. Example: “Response to [Proposal Name] Submission”.

  2. Greeting: Address the recipient by name to add a personal touch.

  3. Thanking the Sender: Express gratitude for their effort and time in preparing the proposal.

  4. State Your Decision: Clearly but gently convey that you are declining the proposal.

  5. Provide a Reason (If Appropriate): Offer a concise reason for the rejection, if it’s appropriate and can be constructively provided.

  6. Encourage Future Submissions: If applicable, encourage them to consider future opportunities for collaboration.

  7. Close Politely: End the email with a polite and professional closing.

  8. Proofread: Always proofread your email for tone, clarity, and any grammatical errors.

Example Email Template

Subject: Response to [Proposal Name] Submission

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

I hope this message finds you well. Thank you for submitting your proposal regarding [Proposal Topic]. I appreciate the time and effort you have invested in this.

After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that we will not be proceeding with your proposal. [Optional: Brief reason for rejection, if appropriate].

Please know that this decision was not made lightly. [If applicable: We are open to future submissions and would be interested in considering your proposals for other projects.]

Thank you again for your interest in working with us. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

Tips for Writing a Rejection Email

  • Be Concise: Keep your message brief and to the point.
  • Be Honest: Provide honest feedback if appropriate, but avoid overly negative or personal comments.
  • Stay Professional: Maintain a professional tone throughout the email.

Real-Life Examples

  1. Startup Investment Proposal Rejection: Highlighting the importance of aligning with current business strategies
  2. Project Bid Rejection: Emphasizing current resource limitations or alternative directions.
  3. Collaboration Offer Rejection: Focusing on current priorities and commitments.


Rejection is never easy, but with the right approach, you can decline proposals while maintaining professional relationships. Remember to be clear, respectful, and concise in your communication.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is a rejection letter for business proposal?

Answer: A rejection letter is a formal communication sent by an organization to an individual or company whose business proposal has been reviewed and determined not to be accepted. 

It informs the recipient that their proposal has been declined and provides a professional explanation for the decision.

Q: Why would a business proposal be rejected?

Answer: A business proposal may be rejected for various reasons. Some common factors that can contribute to a rejection include the proposal not aligning with the organization’s current priorities or strategic direction, the proposal lacking clear value or feasibility, insufficient evidence of the proposer’s capability to deliver the proposed solution, budget constraints, or simply because there were more competitive proposals that better met the organization’s needs.

Q: How should a rejection letter for business proposal be structured?

Answer: A rejection letter should typically follow a formal structure. 

It should begin with a polite and cordial opening, acknowledge the proposal submission, clearly state the rejection decision, provide a brief explanation or reason for the rejection, express appreciation for the proposal and the proposer’s efforts, and conclude on a positive note. 

It’s important to maintain a professional and respectful tone throughout the letter.

Q: Is it necessary to provide feedback or an explanation in a rejection letter for business proposal?

Answer: While it is not mandatory, it is generally considered courteous and professional to provide some level of feedback or explanation in a rejection letter for a business proposal. 

Constructive feedback can help the proposer understand why their proposal was not accepted and potentially improve their future submissions. 

However, the level of detail provided in the feedback may vary depending on the organization’s policies and the volume of proposals received.

Q: Can a rejection letter for a business proposal leave room for future collaboration?

Answer: Yes, a rejection letter can definitely leave room for future collaboration. 

It is common to express appreciation for the proposer’s interest and encourage them to submit future proposals if they align more closely with the organization’s objectives. 

This helps maintain a positive relationship and keeps the possibility of working together open in the future.

Q: Should a rejection letter for a business proposal be personalized?

Answer: It is advisable to personalize a rejection letter for a business proposal whenever possible. 

Addressing the recipient by name and referring to specific elements of their proposal shows that the letter has been tailored to their submission. 

Personalization adds a touch of professionalism and indicates that the proposal was carefully considered, even though it was ultimately rejected.

Q: How should a rejection letter for business proposal be delivered?

Answer: A rejection letter can be delivered through various means, including email, postal mail, or even in-person communication. 

Email is often the most efficient and commonly used method for delivering rejection letters. 

Regardless of the delivery method, it is important to ensure that the letter reaches the recipient in a timely manner and maintains a professional tone.