Many foundations prefer grant-seeking nonprofits to submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), before sending a complete proposal.
The LOI allows the foundation to screen potential candidates for funding to ensure that it fits with the foundation’s mission. The LOI helps the nonprofit organization get an invitation from the foundation to submit a complete proposal.
Tips for writing a good LOI are:
- Follow published foundation guidelines for an LOI.
- Type “Letter of Inquiry” at the top of your letter. This helps make it plain that you are submitting an LOI, and LOIs receive a very quick initial screening in an effort to weed out irrelevant mail.
- A typical LOI is three pages, plus a budget, and includes the following:
A Brief Title – the title should catch the attention of the reader and draw him into continuing.
A one- or two-sentence summary of your project – that is concise, and compelling.
The summary should:
- Answer the question, “What are we doing?
- Receive your utmost attention. Put the most effort into writing the first sentence of the summary. Write and rewrite it.
- Strike a tone suitable to the foundation’s interests.
- Don’t use “unique,” “cutting edge,” or “raises awareness.”
- Include facts and sentences that show action.
An explanation of the issue you are addressing and how you will do it.
A description of your organization.
A budget. This may or may not be required. Refer to the foundation’s instructions.
- Make the LOI concise, not wordy
Your LOI can make or break your relationship with a foundation because it will get you in the door, which is the most important step of all.
Karmen A. Booker is an Attorney, Business Consultant and Owner of Compu-Perfect Professional Services, a business consulting firm specializing in Business Entity Formation (Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Nonprofit Corporations), Completing 501(c)(3) Federal Tax Exemption Applications, Grant Research and Writing services, and more.
Attorney Karmen A. Booker has developed a Report entitled “Fundraising Tips”, which provides information regarding:
- Developing a Fundraising Plan
- Writing a Fundraising Letter
- Specific Fundraising Tips such as selling advertisement space in your newsletter and on your website, and more.
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