Yes, it’s true, you need to ask some funding sources on a date before you actually go on a date. That’s what a Letter of Intent is all about. In order to get a date - you need to ASK for a date!
A Letter of Intent is what some funding sources require prior to submitting a grant. This Letter of Intent is not to be confused with the Letter of Inquiry as discussed in Episode 58: How to Knock your Letter of Inquiry out of the Park in 10 Steps. These can be interchangeable to some extent, but a Letter of Intent is more commonly requested from federal grants, for existing grants; and a Letter of Inquiry is more common for Private Foundations on (sometimes) an open, rolling basis.
The other differences between Letters of Intent and Letters of Inquiry are the intentions of why the funding source is requesting either one.
Well, why do they request these?
- To see if your project meets the priorities of their grant program.
- To have a better idea of how many grant reviewers to recruit (like an RSVP)
- For your nonprofit's benefit, you are now on their mailing list and receive updates!
How to Write a Letter of Intent
Disclaimer: Always refer to the funding source. The following description is a general description when you have no additional requirements or required framework. Always read the funding opportunity announcement or specific requirements for the Letter of Intent.
1. Put it on your nonprofit's letterhead and include; date, a point of contact, salutation & address (to whom it may concern should never be written)!
2. Have an attention-grabbing hook for your first sentence and then get right into it.
3. Articulate how your nonprofit's project meets the agency's priorities.
4. Include a brief statement on what you are requesting money for.
5. The Need! Now get into the need and include statistics, survey information, and/or testimonies showing the need for your project.
6. Write about the objectives.
7. The activities that need to be completed for each objective.
8. The budget (tip: use a chart!)
9. Write out why your nonprofit is awesome sauce to carry out this project. Be sure to show that you can manage money and run projects.
10. Review and follow the requirements. Be sure to keep it succinct (one-to-three pages). You will likely get rejected because you don’t follow directions.
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