Grant proposals can be extremely competitive, and the cover letter is often the first opportunity you have to make a good impression on the reviewers. If your proposal is not accepted, it may be because your letter was poorly written, lacked relevant information or didn’t make a compelling case for funding.
This blog post will provide tips for writing an effective grant proposal cover letter, as well as some samples to help you get started.
What is a Grant Proposal Cover Letter?
A grant proposal cover letter is a letter sent along with a grant proposal that introduces the organization and provides an overview of the main points.
In addition, the cover letter is typically used to explain why the proposal is being submitted and to highlight any special qualifications or experience that the applicant has.
It is important to remember that the letter is often the first impression that a funding organization will have of the applicant, so it should be well-written and effectively convey why your application is a contender for fundin
Check out some sample cover letters and download our free template as a guide on your next grant application.
Grant Proposal Cover Letter Objectives
1. Introduce your organization to the funder
When you're writing a grant proposal letter, it's important to introduce your organization to the potential funder. This is your chance to give them an overview of your work, and explain why you're the best group to receive their funding.
Be sure to keep your letter concise and to the point - you want to give the funder a clear picture of your work, without overwhelming them with information.
2. State the amount of your funding request
Most grant proposals include a section on the amount of funding requested. This is usually a brief paragraph near the beginning of the proposal that states the total amount of money you are asking for. The grant proposal letter should also include this information.
It is often a good idea to state the amount of your funding request in the letter itself, rather than just in the proposal. This helps to ensure that the reviewer sees your request and doesn't just skim over it.
Additionally, stating the amount upfront can help to demonstrate the importance of your request.
3. Explain why your organization needs the funding
The cover letter should explain why your organization needs the funding and how you plan to use it. It is important to be clear and concise in your request, as well as specific about how the funding will be used.
The funder will often have specific requirements for what should be included in the letter, so be sure to read these carefully before submitting your request.
“It is often a good idea to state the amount of your funding request in the letter itself. This helps to ensure that the reviewer sees your request and doesn't just skim over it. Stating the amount upfront can help to demonstrate the importance of your request.”
But before you begin writing,
1. Clearly define your project and program structure
Before you start writing, take some time to think about your project and what you hope to achieve. What are your goals and objectives? What needs does your project address? How will you know if you have been successful?
2. Confirm if a cover letter is required.
Before writing a grant proposal cover letter, it is important to first confirm whether or not the funder requires one. Some funders may have specific requirements for the letter, such as specifying the format or length. Others may simply request that a cover letter be included with the proposal.
However, some funders do not require a cover letter at all. If you are unsure whether or not a letter is required, it can be helpful to include one.
Even if it is not required, a well-written letter can give your proposal an extra edge over the competition.
3. Confirm the appropriate contact person of the funder
You'll want to address your letter to the specific individual who will be reviewing your proposal. This can usually be found on the funder's website.
If you can't find the name of the contact person, you can try calling or emailing the funder to ask. Keep in mind that many funders receive a large number of proposals, so you'll want to make sure your letter addresses the right person for a good first impression.
However, if you’re still unsure on whom to address the cover letter, you may use “Dear Reviewer” or “Dear Review Committee” to sound formal.
Grant Proposal Cover Letters Format
Use your organization's letterhead. The letterhead will help the funding organization to verify your identity and check that you are authorized to apply for funding on behalf of your company.
In addition, the letterhead will give your letter a professional appearance and help to establish your credibility as an applicant.
However, there are some other things to keep in mind when using company letterhead for grant proposal cover letters. Make sure that the letterhead is up-to-date and accurate. Also, double-check that your organization name and all of the contact information are correct. You don't want the funding organization to have any trouble getting in touch with you!
If you're writing a cover letter to submit along with your grant proposal, it's important to make sure that your cover letter has the same date as your proposal. This may seem like a small detail, but it can make a big difference in how your proposal is received.
If the dates don't match, it can give the impression that your proposal is outdated or that you're not keeping track of important details. In either case, it's not the best way to start off your grant proposal application.
3. Addressee Information
Address the letter to a particular person. Call the funder to confirm that you have the right contact person and the correct personal title.
Write the verified addressee information as follows:
- Funder's personal title and name
- Funding source name
- Funder's address
- City, State, and Zip code
When addressing the contact person for the funder, start by saying "Dear" before introducing them by their personal title and last names, such as Dr., Mr., Ms., Mrs., or Messrs.
5. Letter Body
a. First Paragraph
- Introduce the organization in its legal name.
- State the amount of money that is being requested in dollar amount.
- Briefly explain the project for which funding is being sought. There is no need to detail your full proposal.
b. Second Paragraph
- Discuss your organization's goals and how your project matches the funder's mission.
- Highlight your published work and past projects.
- Describe how the project will benefit your organization’s issue area
c. Third to Last Paragraph
- If applicable, end the letter with an invitation for a site visit.
- Conclude with a positive phrase like "I look forward to discussing this program with you in detail," or something similar.
- Write “Sincerely” and sign with your first name to draw an informal, long-term relationship.
- Type your full name and job title below your signature. The letter can also be signed by the leadership in your organization, such as the executive director or board chairperson.
- Provide contact details of key persons who can address application questions from the funder (if different from the signee).
Write “ENCLOSURE” or "ATTACHMENTS" in capital letters at the bottom of the cover letter.
Qualities of a Strong Grant Proposal Cover Letter
1. Brief and direct
A good cover letter is concise and focused. After all, you don't want to overwhelm the reader with too much information.
A good rule of thumb is to limit your cover letter to one page. This will give you enough space to make a strong case for your project, without overwhelming the reader or causing them to lose interest.
Over the last 30 years, the Children's Fund has implemented a highly effective community-based approach to address childhood malnutrition. We're now looking to fund an innovative approach to scaling our services and would like to pilot the initiative with $50,000 of funding from the Robertson Foundation.
One mistake that applicants sometimes make in their cover letters is repeating information from their grant proposal. The cover letter is your opportunity to introduce your organization
Use the cover letter to highlight the most important points of your proposal and explain why you are qualified to receive financial support.
We have secured $3,000 worth of book donations for our One Book project and request $10,000 from your respected organization to aid us in building a resource facility and warehouse. Our initiative has been brought forth by the community's overwhelming support to address today's youth's alarming lack of available books and reading comprehension.
3. Fit and Customized
Demonstrate how your project and program align with the funder's goals. You'll want to show that you understand the funder's priorities and how your work will help further their mission.
We believe that the Ocean CleanUp Drive is aligned with your organization’s mission and interest that focuses on the conservation and health of marine life. We also know the Foundation funds equity-focused programs and believe our initiative will further our common goals.
4. Stand out
Make your cover letter stand out. By emphasizing your organization's strengths, you can convince the funder that you are qualified to carry out the project at hand. This might also involve showcasing a prior achievement relevant to your current project proposal.
Since 2018, we have been building the Coral Movement, which aims to rehabilitate and conserve the coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef. We have a team of volunteers and a solid partnership with the area community leaders.
In just over three years, we have seen tremendous progress in the restoration of Zone 1 with 70% coral growth and there has been an increasing number of fishermen's fresh catch in the area. We hope to duplicate this progress in the remaining three zones through your funding.
When you're applying for a grant, first impressions matter. Your cover letter is often the first thing that a potential funder will read, so it's important to take the time to proofread it carefully.
This doesn't mean simply running a spell check - you also need to check for grammar, punctuation, and style.
Additional Pointers in Crafting Grant Proposal Cover Letters
- Write your cover letter only after finalizing your grant proposal.
- Use a professional narrative tone. The cover letter is your chance to pique the interest of and win over your potential funder.
- Mention any interactions you had with the funder to spark familiarity and ease of introduction.
- Mention other funders you have previously worked with.
- Be concise and straightforward. Provide enough information about your organization and program but keep in mind that the cover letter is not an executive summary of the proposal.
What to Avoid in Your Cover Letter
When you're applying for a grant, the cover letter is your chance to make a good first impression. After all, the grant proposal is the main event, and the cover letter is just there to introduce it.
The key is to strike a balance between providing enough information to be helpful, without going on for too long. In general, a good rule of thumb is to keep your cover letter to one page.
2. Using jargon
When you're writing a grant proposal cover letter, it's important to use language that will resonate with the funding organization. Avoid using jargon or specialized language that will not relate to the funders and proposals.
However, If you are applying as an expert in a field to funders who are also experts in the field, using specialized language will help demonstrate your competency. In some cases, staff with specialized expertise are hired to review applications connected to their field.
In general, focus on conveying your message clearly and concisely. Use simple words, and be sure to explain any technical terms.
Remember, the goal is to get your proposal read and approved, so make sure your cover letter is accessible and understandable. Hemingway is a great tool to improve your composition's readability.
3. Grammatical Errors
The cover letter is often the first thing that reviewers will read, and you want to convey that you are professional and detail-oriented. To make sure that your cover letter is error-free, have a grant writing consultant check it over before you submit it.
Alternatively, you can use a grammar-checking tool like Grammarly. Pay close attention to common errors such as subject-verb agreement and misplaced modifiers. Also, make sure to use proper capitalization and punctuation. Be consistent in your usage of terms, acronyms, names, and pronouns.
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