Grant Geek

Demystifying the Letter of Inquiry


The letter of inquiry for a grant application can be a mystifying and daunting task. How do I summarize my organization’s need and mission in such a short space and how can I make a strong case for support? For many funders, a letter of inquiry is the first step in the grant making process. Many will want to review these letters before asking organizations to complete a full grant application. So while this process saves you completing an entire application, it is essential that you include the best information in the letter, while keeping it within the required maximum page limit.

So what should be in a letter of inquiry?

Introduction and “the ask”. You’ll want to clearly state how much you are requesting and for what purpose, making sure that the requested amount is under the maximum allowed, if stated. Give a brief description of your organization and what contribution you’re making to the community.

Describe the need and how your organization is the best partner with whom the funder can partner to support this objective. In a succinct manner, write passionately about the need and the impact of the funding on the agency, recipients and community.

Detail the organizational methodology. Describe how your organization would go about implementing this project. You should present a clear, logical and achievable solution to your stated need. Include a brief description of the main activities, initiatives and outcomes that you expect to deliver. This should include some information on your organization’s staff, annual turnover and populations served.

Outline budget information. Even in a letter of inquiry a realistic and accurate budget should be included. Given your space limitations it will have to be a very high-level overview of the budget. Further particulars can be included in the complete application.

A compelling closing statement. As with a full grant application, your letter of inquiry should close with a strong final statement about the impact of your request and the difference that your project will make in the world. You should thank the funder for their consideration and offer to provide further information if requested.

You will need to call upon your best writing skills to get the necessary details into a concise, well-articulated letter of inquiry. You want this first communication with a funder to be the beginning of a productive relationship built on confidence and trust. If you need help reviewing or writing a strong letter of inquiry, the staff at Resource Associates is here to help.

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