How to Write a Grant Letter of Intent to a Foundation

How to Write a Letter of Intent for GrantsHow to Approach a Letter of Intent for Grant Opportunities

I was recently asked my thoughts on how someone considering a grant should approach writing a letter of intent to a potential funder. Below are my thoughts. Please add your own thoughts in the comments.

Do your homework – it’s not about what you want to do, it’s about what the funder wants to support.

  • Research their website. Look at what they currently support. Look at who is on their board and see if you can make any connections.
  • Give the program officer or foundation representative a call or email. Many are happy to answer initial questions about how your project might fit their goals.
  • Dig deeper into past grants by finding news releases, past newsletters, any quotes from program officers or board members, etc.
  • Know the exact grant opportunity specifications – does the funder state the average amount and length of grants? You don’t want to ask for too much or too little.
  • Dig even deeper – foundation 990 tax returns contain an unfiltered view of who has been funded and for how much. Even though a certain dollar amount might be publicly suggested the 990 will show you if any exceptions are ever made.

Write a compelling letter

  • Compelling means heart-felt, detailed, and specific.
    • Heart-felt – show your passion by succinctly describing the issue(s) the people/population you or your organization face and how you will address these issues
    • Detailed – demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of the issue be highlighting important facts and figures
    • Specific – but balance these facts and figures with specific stories or examples of the problem and how you will address the problem
  • Highlight how your project fits the funder’s area(s) of interest.
  • Concretely define what success looks like for your project.
  • Make a definite ask.
    • Define what it is you will do, how you will do, when you will do it, your audience, and what the funder could provide to make your project a success for the people you serve.

Follow-up and prepare for next steps

  • The letter is just a first step. You made be given a flat no, but you made be asked for more information, or given a qualitative yes.
  • Be prepared to respond thoroughly and in a timely manner.

Say Thank You

  • Regardless of the response you receive, say thank you. Hand-written notes work well and keep doors open.
  • Of course, say thank you if you are asked to submit a full proposal and be prepared to deliver a great one!

If you would like any help with your letter of intent, please email me at [email protected] or fill out the form below; I am happy to take a look through your letter of intent.
Download the PDF version of this article: How to Write a Grant Letter of Intent to a Foundation
[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Body of Letter’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

2 thoughts on “How to Write a Grant Letter of Intent to a Foundation”

Comments are closed.