A letter of intent (LOI) for a grant is a formal request of a nonprofit organization that seeks financing for its charitable purposes. It is generally sent to foundations that require submitting a letter of intent before sending a formal application with a full grant proposal. Some foundations might also call a letter of intent a “pre-proposal”.
A letter of intent helps save time for organizations who want to convey their ideas to a granting foundation without the need to spend a lot of time on a standard proposal. Grant LOIs are quite short – generally, from one to three pages. Organizations whose grant LOIs are considered worth attention will be invited to submit a full proposal service.
A letter of intent is also a way to go for candidates who want to reach out “cold” to a foundation that offers good conditions for applicants. The letter helps prospective grantees introduce themselves in the best way.
Grant LOIs have different lengths and types. Some foundations might require them; others not. Regardless of the requirements of organizations, sending a letter of intent will help the committee determine whether the candidate is a good fit upfront.
Read the article further to learn the contents of a letter of intent and where to find a free fillable letter of intent template.
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An applicant writing a letter of inquiry for a grant should keep in mind the main goal – to captivate the committee and get an invitation to start a full grant process.
There is no standard form for a grant LOI, which is why contents and length are optional. But what is recommended to include in a grant LOI is:
An additional piece of information that might be included in the grant letter of inquiry is a copy of an IRS determination letter. It is the letter that makes nonprofit organizations exempt from federal income tax and lets investors claim their financing to the project on their annual tax returns.
As well as that, the LOI might include a line-item budget of the project for the financing requested. Such a budget lets group the financial statement by category and shows the comparison between the past financial information and estimated numbers for the future.
There are certain tips every applicant should keep in mind regardless of whether they send it as an email letter or an application form provided by the needed organization.
Make sure that your letter is brief (preferably, not bigger than one page) and clearly indicates your main grant proposal. However, if the requirement of the organization is more than one page, it should be followed.
Follow the structure of a business letter: put the address of your entity in the top left side of the LOI and the address of the foundation beneath it.
Learn the names of people in charge of receiving grant LOIs and don’t use generic wordings such as “Dear Mr./Mrs.”
If there are any directions on writing letters of intent provided by the organization, they should be followed strictly. Make sure you understand the expectations of the foundation before drafting a grant LOI. For instance, don’t try to overdo the first impression by attaching materials that are not required by the organization. However, if budgets and other attachments are required in a LOI, they are necessary to include.
Learn how much financing you should ask for before putting together the budget by analyzing past awarded projects similar to yours. This will help make necessary adjustments to your project’s budget.
Before sending a LOI, you should carefully proofread it.
Pay attention to the executive summary in your LOI. It is the part of the letter that goes first and it should be an attention-grabber that will make the readers continue reading.
Make sure you specified the name of the grant you are applying for and a short description of your project along with the arguments on how the project will match the interests of the funding organization.
Provide details of your project by including major activities, names, and titles of key project staff members, target audience, geographic area, statistics, etc.
Analyze how your programs are different than other similar nonprofit companies operating in the same field. Define all the outstanding features of your projects that make you look different in the eyes of the foundation and prove that you make a difference for your target audience.
Letters of intent should show how the budgeting will help accomplish the goals of the nonprofit.
As a common courtesy, include thanks to the recipient for taking their time and considering your LOI with the appropriate closing statements such as “Sincerely” or “Respectfully”.
Use the LOI template provided on our website to get an idea of what to include in your LOI.
A letter of inquiry for a grant should be crafted thoroughly in several steps.
Step 1 – Name and address of the sender and recipient
First, provide the name of your organization in the top left corner of the letter. Then, include the effective date of the LOI. Beneath it, write down the name and title of the person who represents the foundation with regards to giving grants and the address of the foundation.
Step 2 – Subject
In an email LOI, make sure to write the subject of the LOI. Generally, the name of the grant would be enough.
Step 3 – Purpose
As we have mentioned, the LOI should respectfully start with “Dear [Name of the person]”.
The first section of the LOI should tell the purpose of this LOI, the type of nonprofit that seeks funding, and the mission.
Step 4 – Goals
The next paragraph is called the statement of need and it should tell how the organization’s goals will be reached with the use of the financing. Here, it is appropriate to provide information about the staff members, geographical area, numbers that the nonprofit wants to reach, etc.
Step 5 – Closing
After details of the project are provided, it is appropriate to write that the prospective grantee will be honored to submit the full proposal to the foundation requesting the application and any additional materials.
The last thing to do is to write the name of the head of the organization that seeks funding.
If you need a customized letter of intent for a grant, use our online document builder. Take several minutes of your time to answer several questions and get a ready-made LOI that is easy to download.
From: Patrick Smith
Chief Executive Officer
11 Upper Cibolo Creek Rd,
Boerne, TX 78006
April 4, 2021
To: Bob Loware
Head of El Paso Private Foundation
El Paso, Texas
Dear Mr. Loware,
We are requesting $10,000 (ten thousand dollars) for a community-built playspace in our neighborhood located at 12 Wintergreen St.
El Paso, TX 79915. We believe this request fits under your giving area of the El Paso Area Community Enhancement Program because we pursue the idea of making our community a better place to live, like you do.
Our mission and vision are central to our efforts in generating funds for this playspace. We strive to improve the appearance of our neighborhood, enhance public and especially children safety, and benefit under-served populations. We believe our mission and goals align with the same of your Foundation.
A new, safe, and accessible playspace is needed in our community for the following reasons:
With this grant, we intend to build a playspace with around ten (10) play activities. This playspace will serve 150 families in the neighborhood. This community-built playspace will employ ten volunteers who will build the structure under the guidance of a certified play equipment installer. We also have collaborations with the S&B Engineers and Constructors company to help us make this dream come true.
I will contact you on April 5, 2021, to confirm the receipt of the letter and will gladly answer all the questions. I can be reached at +155667799 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org in case you need to get in touch with me. Thank you so much for your attention and participation.