This post covers everything you need to know about a grant letter of inquiry (LOI)
Asking for a grant to fund your project is not easy regardless it is your first or 100th time.
But the good news is Nowadays, many grantmakers would rather receive funding assistance requests in the form of a letter of inquiry or a letter of intent than a comprehensive grant proposal.
This aids potential funders in determining whether they have a sufficient interest in the project to request a formal grant submission.
The fact that an LOI is shorter than a grant proposal should not deceive you into thinking that it is simpler to prepare because it “is only a letter.”
LOI is more than a letter. It is a sale pitch, an audition, and a weapon to convince fund makers to support you.
To write a winning letter of inquiry here I will guide you through the following;
- What is a grant letter of inquiry?
- Why is a letter of inquiry necessary for a grant request?
- Things to consider before writing a grant letter of inquiry
- How do you write an effective grant letter of inquiry?
- Grant letter of inquiry template
- Grant letter of inquiry sample
Let’s get started
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What is a grant letter of inquiry?
A grant letter of inquiry is a brief statement of facts written by a non-profit organization to inquire about the funder’s interest to fund a certain project.
Generally, in a Letter of Inquiry, a nonprofit organization asks a potential fundraiser, “Are you interested in learning more about our project?
Letters of inquiry are usually a few pages long (1-3 pages) and cover the essential features of a full grant proposal.
Though a letter of inquiry is shorter than a full grant proposal, writing it can take just as long because you must condense crucial information into a few pages.
After reading your letter of inquiry, the fund marker may request a comprehensive proposal for further consideration and decision-making.
The bottom line is that letter of inquiry is a sales pitch. You must sell your project to the grantmakers and get them thinking about the possibility of funding it.
Why do you need a letter of inquiry for a grant request?
The following are the reason why you need a letter of inquiry for a grant request.
- The letter of intent provides the funder with a high-level overview of your organization, the need you are addressing, and a summary of your project strategy.
- It provides the funder with a personalized inside look at your programming, issues, and mission.
- It also assists the funder in determining whether you are a good fit for their funding on the surface.
Things to consider before writing a grant letter of inquiry
The following are the important things to consider before writing a grant letter of inquiry.
Research the interests of the potential funder
Make sure the funder is a good fit for your project before you start writing your LOI.
Research for their eligibility criteria through their official website or do a physical visit.
Search the funder’s previously publicly filed tax returns to see what types of projects it has supported and how much it has awarded to each.
When researching for the funder’s interests consider the following questions:
- Is my project in line with the funder’s goals and financial priorities?
- Does my project match the funder’s eligibility requirements?
- Is my project relevant to the funder’s demographic?
- Is there foundation funding available in my area?
- Is my project compatible with the timeframe of the funder?
- Is the funder interested in projects similar to mine?
Gather important details
Gather your organization’s identification content, statement of need, target population, program description, recent program outcomes, program assessment techniques, a list of collaborators, and a list of current funding sources.
Meanwhile, gather grant application attachments such as your organization’s budget, IRS nonprofit status letter, financial audit, board listing, and other needs.
Keep all of these content components in files that you will update on a regular basis so that they are ready to go when you create an LOI or a full grant proposal.
Clarify your project and request
Before you draft your LOI, make sure your project request is clear.
Which type of funding — support for ongoing operations or support for a specific project — are you requesting?
Goals: What do you aim to accomplish? Set quantifiable goals and objectives for the project.
Amount: How much money are you asking for?
Who, for instance, embodies the desire you will satisfy? Have a brief success story or description of a person who fits your target demographic available to use in your letter.
Understand the funder’s instructions
Each funder establishes its own formatting and submission guidelines.
Make sure you follow them exactly.
Otherwise, your LOI may be rejected based on technicalities rather than merits.
Some funders have their own prescribed form instead of a letter.
Whenever you are writing your letter make sure you are observing the following instructions;
- Page margins
- Font size and type
- Line spacing
- Page count, word count, or character count
- Page numbering
- Cover sheet and attachments
- Submission instructions
How to write an effective grant letter of inquiry
A grant letter of inquiry is written in a business letter format. Begin your letter with your address and contact information, followed by a date and the potential funder’s address, and state that you are writing to request a grant. Explain the motives behind your request and show how the grant will benefit your cause.
Finish with “Sincerely,” followed by your name and signature.
REMEMBER! The primary goal of your grant letter of inquiry is to establish that your project is a good investment for the funder.
Thus the following is how you can write a winning grant letter of inquiry
- Provide your name/organization, address, and contact information
- Include the date of the letter
- Include the potential funder’s name, address, and contact information
- Introduce yourself or your organization by highlighting your main activity/mission.
- Indicate the project name and short description
- Explain how the project aligns with the funder’s interests and guidelines
- Highlights your goals or things you want to accomplish with your project
- include concrete examples of the problem you want to solve
- Explain what will happen if your project will not be carried out.
- Specify the amount of grant you need
- Explain how the grant will help you (The funder would like to see where the money is going)
- Attach all relevant documentation
- Make the Letter as Personal as You Can
- Maintain a professional tone
- Be honest
- Express your gratitude and appreciation
- Provide an invitation for additional questions
- ask for the opportunity to submit a full proposal
- include a brief list of other entities your organization has contacted for funding.
other useful tips
- Address the correct person
- include extra information like pamphlets or booklets This allows your potential funder to learn more about your organization and determine whether their values align with your project.
- Use the captivating stories to connect with a funder
Grant letter of inquiry template
Your Organization Name
City, State, Zip Code
[Funder’s Street Address]
[Funder’s City, State, and Zip Code]
Dear [Funder’s last name]
My name is [name], and I work for the [Your Organization Name] in the capacity of [position]. We are a [City, State]-based nonprofit organization. It is a great enthusiasm I’m writing this letter to request funds from your organization [Funder Organization Name] in the amount of [$#] for our [project name] project to [short project description].
[Your Organization Name] mission is [explain your mission] to [describe your targeted population: Name the group (children, adults, girls, etc.), gender, age population] at [focused location]. We currently operate [# number of existing projects], serving [X number of people] [annually/monthly/quarterly]. We have offered [state outcomes met by current projects] through our services.
There is currently a clear need for [insert the current need here] among [the target population] in the focused area]. We are aware of this need due to [explain how you are aware of the need, using data, conversations, case studies, etc.]. If this need is not met.[Explain the effects and outcomes of the issue if it is not handled]
Our [project title] project aims to deliver the following services: [name your program services here]. These services will help the [target population] with the [issue or need] by [explaining the activities you will conduct to deliver services]. We anticipate [name your program outcomes here] with the execution of our services through [program title].
The entire cost of the program for the first year is [$#] of which [$#] will come from other funders. Through this letter of inquiry, we are asking [Foundation Name] for [$#] for [describe how the requested funds will be used].
Kindly contact me through [email] or [mobile] if you have any questions. I will be more than happy to share with you additional useful insights on how you can support our project to [describe the min objective project].
Thank you for your time and consideration regarding this matter.
Enclosed with this letter [list the attachments]
Grant letter of inquiry sample
Dear Mr. Kingsley
My name is Bob Brown, and I serve as Chairman for ABC Child Hope. We are a nonprofit with our headquarters in Encinitas, California. I’m writing this letter with great enthusiasm to ask your organization, World Child Support, for funding in the amount of $55,000 for our child empowerment program, which will aid in the development of children’s leadership skills, knowledge of civic engagement, and ability to bring about long-lasting change in their community.
The mission of ABC Child Hope is to invest in the lives of children and youth, create the healthy environments they need to thrive and give them the tools they need to make long-lasting improvements in their own lives and in the lives of others. We currently operate Health and education projects, serving 1,000 children annually. We have offered health and education supports through those projects.
In Encinitas, there is a definite need for children to be empowered. We are aware of this since, due to a lack of skills, 80% of the children in Encinitas fall into the poverty trap. Children won’t be able to overcome their surroundings if this need is not addressed, perpetuating the cycle of poverty for another generation.
Here are some ways we work to empower children
- Game and sports
- Youth Council
- Financial education and responsibility
- Community youth reporter
These services will help to empower the Encinitas children through teaching leadership skills, knowledge of civic engagement, and the ability to bring about long-lasting change in their community. We anticipate truly ending generational poverty with the execution of our child empowerment program.
The entire cost of the program for the first year is 500,000 of which 400,000 will come from other funders. Through this letter of inquiry, we are asking World Child Support for $10,000 to purchase sports and games equipment and hire personnel.
If you have any questions, please contact me at Brown@childhope.com or 816-786-1000. I will be delighted to provide you with extra valuable information on how you can support our mission to empower children.
Thank you for your time and consideration regarding this matter.
Enclosed with this letter
- Booklet- A 1 year Project execution plan
- Project budget
- IRS nonprofit status letter
- Financial audit
ABC Child Hope
Grant letter of inquiry pdf