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How to Write a Cover Letter for Your Grant Proposal

how to write a budget proposal

By Joanne Fritz. Nonprofit Charitable Orgs Expert

Joanne Fritz has worked in the nonprofit world for most of her 30-year career beginning with teaching at the secondary, college, and university levels. She has also held senior management positions at two national nonprofits and two universities. Fritz has served on numerous nonprofit boards and was chosen to participate in leadership programs in two cities. Read more

Although the guts of your grant proposal will take up most of your time and energy, don't short change your cover letter. Attention to the finer points of putting the proposal package together can make or break a funding request. Don't turn off your funder with a sloppy cover letter.

Mim Carlson and Tori O'Neal-McElrath, authors of Winning Grants, Step by Step. point out that the cover letter should introduce your organization to the correct person; assure the funder that this project has the support of your board of directors ; and specifically state what you are asking for. how much and for what.

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When Do You Include a Cover Letter?

Use a cover letter for proposals to corporations and foundations, but not on federal or state grant applications. Those funders only want the things they

ask for. They rarely ask for a cover letter.

Attributes of a Good Cover Letter

Your cover letter should be:

  • brief
  • get to the point quickly
  • should not simply repeat the information that is in the proposal
  • should tell the reader how well you understand the funder and how your grant fulfills the funder's requirements

Beverly A. Browning, author of Grant Writing for Dummies. suggests that you write the cover letter after you've completed the entire proposal, and when you are in a reflective mood. Browning says:

"As you consider your great achievement (the finished funding request), let the creative, right side of your brain kick in and connect your feelings of accomplishment to the person who will help make your plans come true."

Formatting Your Cover Letter

Follow these basics and you can't go wrong:

  1. Use your organization's letterhead. Put the same date on the cover letter that is on the completed grant application. That is the date the application will be sent to the grantor. This will make all the documents in your proposal package consistent.

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How Long Should the Cover Letter Be?

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