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Letter of Inquiry

Letter of Inquiry gives the funder’s initial impression of your organization. It offers them a tailored inside view at your initiatives, your motivations, and your goal. They can use it to assess whether you seem like a good candidate for their funding.

Funding agencies also answer to donors and their Boards and are required to only finance organizations that fall within their predetermined scope of services, much as your nonprofit is accountable to your Board and working for the benefit of your target demographics.

In order to save time for everyone, many foundations and funders need a two-page LOI before accepting a complete application. The LOI is something to be thankful for even though it might feel like one more step in a lengthy process. It saves you time you could have otherwise spent on worthwhile grant leads if your nonprofit is not a good fit. Additionally, it helps the funder save time by only inviting qualified candidates who are in line with their objective.

letter of inquiry

If the foundation decides that your LOI is appropriate, they can ask you to submit a full grant application. On the basis of your LOI, they might offer money in specific circumstances.

The grant funding letter of inquiry is just as vital as the full application, even though it is shorter and less involved. You should learn how to write a letter of inquiry for grant money as a nonprofit executive.

What Should be Contained in the Letter of Inquiry?

The details of your organization and the programs you are looking for money for are described in the letter of inquiry format. Sometimes the donor will specifically state section by section what they want to see in your letter. If so, you must strictly adhere to the funder’s instructions.

In other situations, you can be requested to submit a LOI without any extra explanation. In the next sections of this post, we’ll give you sample letters of inquiry that you can use as a model.


The basic facts the funder needs to know should be included in the opening paragraph of a conventional letter of intent, including your name, your function, the name of the organization, the program you are requesting financing for, and the amount you are requesting.


The detailed “nitty-gritty” of your organization and your program is covered in the body paragraphs. You should also describe the necessity for your program, the issue you are attempting to solve, and the audience in these body paragraphs (your target population).


You must describe how your program or project  will address the issue you have identified, including your suggested measurable goals and the actions you plan to take to reach those goals. You should also briefly explain why you require this financing as well as whether or not the program is supported by any other funding.

The LOI will also include a concluding summary paragraph. In the letter of inquiry samples at the end of this post, you can see how all of these parts come together.

 Steps to Writing a Letter of Inquiry That Stands Out

The letter you send out to potential funders serves as your introduction. It’s possible that your letter of inquiry convinced the funder to give you a check even without more supporting materials. Here, we provide  guidelines for writing an inquiry letter that stands out.

  1. Make a plan.

Before contacting anyone, you should come up with a plan for your fundraising request. To list all the components involved, it is a good idea to create a logic model of your application. Consider what it will look like to be succinct but impactful as you’ll need to be.

Before contacting the funder, do some research. Make sure you are aware of the funding organization’s goals and initiatives and whether your work fits in with them.

Additionally, you should do some research on the person at the organization you will be mailing the letter to.

2. Don’t write for yourself; write for the funder

You have a project that satisfies all requirements for the funding. You are proud and enthusiastic about the work you are doing, and you are well-versed in your organization. While all of that is significant, the donor is more interested in how you align with their objectives.

Be sure to keep the funder in mind as you write your letter of inquiry. You are trying to establish a relationship with them and making a good first impression. In later documents, you’ll have the chance to go into more detail about your own nonprofit’s goals, but right now is your one chance to really say that you understand their needs and intend to fill them.

  1. Highlight Impact

Later on in your grant writing process, you’ll need to explain details and operational frameworks. Concentrate your letter of inquiry on the tales or illustrations of your work that will pique the funder’s interest in learning more.

Do you have strong evidence that might be a little shocking? Do you have a narrative that in some way addresses human emotion? Create your letter so that it concisely addresses these points of impact and leaves the funder with more questions and a want to get in touch with you to learn more about the work you have done.

Make sure your letter is well-written and that you are adhering to any stated instructions for contacting the funder. In order to prevent any formatting or grammatical issues from detracting from your content, you should make sure that your letter’s structure and appearance are acceptable and professional.


The Best Advice for Writing a Foundations Letter of Inquiry

There are a few extra proactive steps you can take to make sure your letter stands out from the dozens or hundreds of others that the funder receives.

In addition to some advice on what to avoid, the following recommendations will show you how to write a successful letter of inquiry, with an emphasis on the introduction, body, and conclusion parts.

Advice for Your LOI’s Introduction Sections


  • Speak to the right person. Prior doing anything else, you must confirm that the person to whom you are writing the letter is the correct recipient.


  • Use salutations with caution. It can occasionally be unclear which gender the recipient identifies with. If it is difficult to find, omit the title and only use their name.


  • Coordinate your mission. Show the reader how well your organizations are linked and what will make you a good partner in fundraising, not just a good recipient, if you want them to continue reading.


  • Keep it short. Include a brief description of your company and yourself. Use this brief place to provide an explanation; save the in-depth information for later.

Sample  Letter of Inquiry


Dear [Name of Person in Charge of Grants at Foundation]:

I am the NEXT FOUNDATION  Nonprofit Organization’s Job Title, and my name is Cherry May. Our organization is a 501(c)3 and is based in This City, This State. I’m writing to ask for financing from [Name of the Foundation] in the amount of $[X] for our proposal to [short program description].

Tips for Your Letter of Intent’s Body Paragraphs

Give comprehensive information. Here, you will outline your nonprofit’s purpose, vision, and other distinctive characteristics. Give specifics about your organization’s target demographics and service area when describing it.

The need or issue you are attempting to solve with your programming should also be explained in the body paragraphs. Make sure to describe how you came to the conclusion that this need exists as well as how you plan to address it.

Give examples from actual life. Give examples and actual data when describing the influence your organization has on its programming. Allow the funders to see the quantifiable difference you can create.

Framing some of your overall results is one way to show how potential funding support will have an impact. Consider the following data from Partners in Health as an illustration:

The impact of financial support for their activities is compellingly illustrated by these data.

Display your capacity for growth. Inform the donors of the implications for your target group and how you plan to increase the aforementioned impact with extra financing. Be precise about the actions or results that the financing will primarily assist.


Tips for Writing a Strong Conclusion

Extend your gratitude. Naturally, you’ll want to express your gratitude to the funder for allowing you to include a proposal for your program in the letter of inquiry for grant money.

Indicate when you are available. An open invitation for the funder to contact you for additional information, as needed, should be the main focus of the concluding paragraph. Include your contact details and any potential availability times.


Don’t assume anything. Making the assumption that the funder is already aware of your organization would be a deadly error. That might be the case, but when discussing your organisation and programming in a funding request letter, you should keep in mind that the person reading it is likely unfamiliar with both your organisation and the topic of your programming.


You must inform them of everything they need to know via this LOI.


Don’t send generic letters of intent. The process of seeking money can seem tiresome and burdensome, and adding customizing to it only makes that feeling worse. Because funders want to establish relationships with their grantees and make sure the program they support further their missions, you shouldn’t submit the same generic letter of intent to several donors.


Because of this, it’s crucial to demonstrate in your letter of intent (LOI) how well your programming aligns with the funder’s priorities and beliefs. Here, we go into further detail on how to match grant proposals with funder preferences.


Do not feel compelled to include everything. Don’t try to provide all the information about your organization that you have with the letter, depending on what the funder is asking for. This generally entails avoiding leaflets, pamphlets, and media coverage. If you include them, it’s likely that they won’t be read and will wind up in the garbage or, worse, the back of a filing cabinet. For the LOI, rely in the strength of your words and save your stuff for when you need it.


Sample Letter of Inquiry

[Name of the Foundation]




State and City Zip

[Name of Foundation Official in Charge of Grants]


Re: [Name of Grant Program]


Dear [Name of Person at Foundation Responsible for Grants]:

My name is [name], and I work for the [Next Foundation] in the capacity of [Job Title]. We are a [City, State]-based 501(c)3 nonprofit. I’m writing to ask for financing from [Foundation Name] in the amount of $[X] for our proposal to [short program description].

[Next Foundation] purpose is to offer [this, this, and that]. Our target demographics include [this group of people, this group of people, and that group of people, aged x-x]. The [ABC geographic region] is the primary focus of our program. We currently run [X number of programs], serving [X number of people annually]. We have offered [state outcomes reached by current programming] through our services.

There is currently a clear need for [insert the current need here] among [the target population] in [the ABC geographic area]. We are aware of this need due to [explain how you are aware of the need, using data, conversations, etc.]. [Explain the effects and outcomes of the issue if it is not addressed] if this need is not met.

Our program [program title] proposes to provide the following services: [list your program services here]. These services will assist [X number] of [target population] with the [problem or need] by [explain the activities you will undertake to provide services]. With the implementation of our services through [program title], we expect to see [list your program outcomes here].

The total program costs for year one are $ , of which $ will be provided by other funders. We are requesting $ from [Foundation Name] through this letter of inquiry. [Explain the general use of requested funds here].

Thank you very much for the opportunity to introduce [Next Foundation] and [program title] to you for funding consideration. We appreciate the support you provide to the [ABC geographic area] community. If you would like to discuss further details, I can be reached on [days available] at [times available] by phone at [phone number] or email at [email address]. We look forward to hearing from you


[Name] [Title]

{Organization] [Email]”


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