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Writing a Letter of Inquiry

Writing a letter of inquiry is an important step for a nonprofit organization seeking funds from a foundation. This letter serves as an introduction to the organization and its project and should be crafted to highlight its mission and accomplishments. Below are some recommendations for writing a compelling letter of inquiry for a nonprofit organization seeking funds from a foundation.

  1. Start with a clear and concise introduction: Begin by introducing your organization and providing a brief overview of the project or program for which you seek funding. Clearly state the purpose of your organization and the goals of the project.
  2. Highlight your organization’s accomplishments: Share your organization’s track record of success in the field. Describe how your previous work has positively impacted the community or cause you serve. If possible, include statistics and data to support your claims.
  3. Explain why your project is important: Clearly articulate the need for your project and how it will address a specific issue or problem in the community. Use real-life examples to illustrate the need and how your project can make a difference.
  4. Provide a detailed project description: Describe the specifics of your project, including its goals, activities, and expected outcomes. Outline a timeline for the project and provide a budget breakdown, if possible. Be sure to explain how the requested funds will be used.
  5. Demonstrate your organization’s capacity to carry out the project: Share information about your organization’s staff, leadership, and volunteers. Explain your organization’s experience with similar projects and any relevant partnerships or collaborations. Highlight any unique expertise or resources that your organization brings to the table.
  6. Close with a clear request for support: Close the letter by expressing gratitude for the foundation’s consideration and requesting funding for your project. Include contact information for your organization’s leadership, and be prepared to follow up with additional information as requested.

Remember, a letter of inquiry is often the first step in the funding process, so making a strong first impression is important. By following these recommendations, your organization can craft a compelling letter of inquiry that will capture the attention of potential funders and help you secure the support you need to carry out your important work.

  1. Keep the letter concise and focused: Generally, a letter of inquiry should be no longer than two pages. Be clear and concise in your writing, avoiding jargon and technical language whenever possible. Use short paragraphs and bullet points to break up dense text.
  2. Address the letter to the appropriate person: Research the foundation to determine the proper contact person for your inquiry. Address the letter to that person by name, if possible. If you can’t find a specific name, use a generic greeting like “Dear Grantmaking Team.”
  3. Use a professional tone: Keep the letter’s tone professional and respectful. Avoid overly emotional language or aggressive demands. Be polite and courteous, even if you are requesting a large sum of money.
  4. Use letterhead and signature: Use your nonprofit organization’s letterhead to give your letter a professional appearance. Also, include the signature of the person responsible for the project, such as the executive director or program manager.
  5. Include relevant attachments: If applicable, include relevant attachments such as the organization’s annual report, program brochure, or financial statements. Be sure to indicate the purpose of each attachment in the body of the letter.
  6. Follow up appropriately: After sending the letter of inquiry, follow up with the foundation according to their guidelines. This may involve a phone call or email, or they may request additional information from your organization.

Regarding who the letter should be from, it is typically best to be written and signed by the executive director or another senior staff member who is familiar with the project and can speak authoritatively about the organization’s mission and goals. However, if the project is led by a specific program manager or another staff member, they may also be the appropriate person to sign the letter.

Overall, the letter of inquiry aims to pique the foundation’s interest in your organization and project and request a more detailed proposal if they are interested. By following these recommendations, you can increase the likelihood that your letter will be well-received and lead to a successful partnership with the foundation.