Some granting agencies require letters of intent before an organization submits a grant proposal. A letter of intent is a very short one-page letter that tells the grant funding agency that you are going to respond to a request for proposal or an RFP. In some cases these letters are required by government agencies, in many cases they are not. Private foundations however, often times require letters of inquiry. The letter of inquiry is a lot more detailed than a letter of intent. The letter of inquiry includes a compelling synopsis of your program. Includes similarities between your program goals and the funding agency’s goal. Some foundations require a letter of inquiry before the grant proposal is made. This is because the letter of inquiry is much shorter than a full proposal. This saves the foundation time that it doesn’t have to invest reviewing a long grant proposal. If the foundation likes the letter of inquiry then they will request a formal grant proposal be submitted to them later.
Letter of Intent
This document serves as a notice to a granting agency that you are planning to submit a proposal later. Some agencies post deadlines for the letter of intent and grant proposal in their announcement. Some government agencies use the letter of intent only as a way to determine the number of grant reviewers they will need going forward for a specific grant award. They state in their announcement that if organizations don’t submit a letter of intent that they are still welcome to submit a proposal.
Other federal and state agencies use a hard deadline to a limit on the number of grant proposals they will receive later typically those organizations can not submit a letter of intent by the stated deadline will not be eligible to submit a grant proposal at the later deadline in several conversations with grant agency staff I have found that both alternatives are used to assist the agencies in stream-lining mean and managing the review process more efficiently. Some government agencies provide the format that they would just organizations follow when submitting a letter of intent. Letters of Intent include:
– Address to Contact Person
– Paragraph of introduction and intent to submit proposal
– Your Contact Information
Letter of Inquiry
A letter of inquiry is typically addressed to a specific contact person. That person is usually listed in the guidelines of the grant announcement. Sometimes foundations include forms for you to complete as well and guidelines to follow for writing your narrative. If this is the case be sure to follow the guidelines to the left. In general, if you don’t receive forms to complete, your letter of inquiry should include the following components:
– Space problem or need that your organization is addressing or plans to address
– Summary of the project
– Potential Outcomes
– A reference to how the organization’s goals meet the goals of the ranting foundation
– Space Dollar amount your organization seeks
– Length of time the grant project will last, such as, 12 months, 2 years 3 years or more
– Grant type requested: matching, challenge, or other type
– Collaborating partners
– Other funding sources
– Request for a meeting
– Request for opportunity submit a grant proposal
Make sure you stick to the guidelines with your letters if specific details are required, such as proposal numbers, grant agency title, dollar amount of request and population served.