Tips on writing a letter of inquiry for a grant
Prior to submitting a full grant application, some grant making foundations request that interested applicants send in a letter of inquiry. A standard letter of inquiry should introduce the applicant nonprofit organization to the grant maker and provide a brief summary of the activity a potential grant could fund. Based on the information provided in the letter of inquiry, the grant maker will determine whether or not the applicant should submit a full grant proposal.
A letter of inquiry typically has the following components:
Introduce your organization. How long has it been active? Where does it operate? What does it do? How many people does it serve in how large an area?
Explain the connection
Mention how you heard of the grant making organization, and why you think your organization’s funding needs would be a match for the grant maker’s grant program.
If everything goes right, you will be invited to submit a grant proposal. In order to get to this step, however, you have to demonstrate that your organization is credible and productive. To this end, summarize recent accomplishments that relate to the funding agency’s goals and list any accolades your organization has received.
Briefly describe the proposed project and related need
What need will the project address? Back up your assertions with data.
Then, explain how the funding will be used. Be clear, but concise. Provide overviews rather than details. This is not the place to get into the nitty-gritty details of project implementation, but rather to share your overall vision with a potential funder.
Request their consideration
Express your organization’s interest in submitting a full proposal for the grant maker to consider. Note – you are not requesting a grant at this stage, but rather, the opportunity to request a grant by submitting a grant proposal. You are asking for their consideration, not a check.
Provide contact information, thank them for their time, and make sure they know you are available to talk to them.
The ideal length for a letter of inquiry is debatable, but we typically suggest 2 to 3 pages. Print the letter on your organization’s letterhead, and have your Executive Director (or a similar role) sign it.
As part of our Free Consultation Service, we can look over drafted letters of inquiry. In addition, we can help you identify grant makers that match your funding needs with our Grant Opportunity Search service. Contact a Grant Helper for more details.