A Letter of Inquiry is a gateway to funding. This Letter of Inquiry, not to be confused with Letter of Intent, can be the difference between a foundation accepting a full application from your nonprofit or shutting you down.
These are 10 steps to Write a Successful Letter of Inquiry that will secure your Invitation to Apply for a Grant
No, I am not talking about formatting alignment (we will get there later), but I am talking about does the foundation align with your nonprofit? Just because there is tons of money out there, doesn’t mean you should apply to every single foundation in the world.
#2 Overall Tips on Format
Be succinct. No flowery prose here. Be logical and make sure you include an objective, goal, and budget. Do not use cute, flowery, or whimsical language. Save that for your blog or journal.
If you would like more information click on episode 042: How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal.
Include the date you are submitting at the top of the page, as well as the person’s name and title of who it should be addressed to (find a NAME – never just write ‘To Whom it May Concern’), and the address of the foundation. Utilize the good ole' fashioned, “Dear NAME of PERSON”.
#4 Introduction (one short paragraph)
Unless otherwise required by the foundations you will include steps #3 through #9.
Your opening paragraph is where you get the attention of your reviewers from the foundation. Keep this paragraph very short. Do not explain the need and how you will roll out the project, yet.
#5 The Need or the Why (2-3 Paragraphs)
Now get into the need. You’ve already stated what you need, now state why you need it. Give a few stats to back up the need. Try to utilize stats or surveys that are within the previous five years.
#6 Project (2+ paragraphs)
- Explain your goal
- List the objectives
- List the activities
- List your Partners
#7 Outcomes and Evaluations (1–2 paragraphs)
What are the main outcomes? This outcome would be that five containers will allow your 900 community members to continue hunting and storing whale in a safe and protected manner, as well as provide food for your community members at no monetary costs. How will you evaluate this?
#8 Validation of your Nonprofit (1–2 paragraphs)
The last part is where you get to explain why your nonprofit is a rock star. Tell why your nonprofit is the best to carry out the activity.
#9 Budget (1–2 paragraphs)
Most funding sources would like a snapshot of the budget. If you have space include a little snapshot of a graph of the money.
#10 Conclusion (1 short paragraph)
These are the 10 steps to completing a successful Letter of Inquiry.
The other thing is by doing this Letter of Inquiry you really have to get clear on your project. The 15-page grant will feel like a cinch after doing this Letter of Inquiry!
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