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A growing number of organisations request that potential grant recipients send through an enquiry letter prior to receiving an invitation to submit a full proposal. For proposal writers who are unfamiliar with this process, it can be difficult to know exactly what is expected of them, and how to go about drafting a compelling and engaging letter which will lead to an invitation for proposal submittal.

The letter of enquiry serves to support not-for-profit organisations to determine whether or not the proposal writer is submitting a valid prospect, enabling them to sift through the high number of requests which they get for grants. It also provides foundation staff with a brief overview of the request, identifying prospects which fit their criteria for grants and facilitating requests for additional information when funding is viable.

The proposal writer can use enquiry letters in order to sound out project ideas with potential funding sources, using research to identify the key priorities of the foundation before approaching them. By understanding the foundation’s objectives, preferences and areas of interest, it is easy to ascertain whether your request will fit the bill when it comes to fitting in with their targets and requirements.

The key to producing a compelling letter of enquiry is to undertake the following:

  • Make sure that your request complies with the foundation’s preferences for demographic typing and geographical location
  • Before submittal, research the priorities of the foundation to ensure that your request fits in with the objectives and areas of research
  • Write with a view to establishing a connection between the goals of your project, and the research interests of the foundation
  • Be concise and clear with what you are approaching the foundation for
  • Edit carefully, in order to provide as much information as possible within the allocated two pages of text
  • Be passionate – someone who is engaged and involved in the research is much more likely to secure a positive response
  • Ensure that the timing of your project fits in well with the foundation’s process for funding applications
  • Ensure that you address the letter to the appropriate person, finding the correct foundation officer for submissions in your area of interest
  • Aim to contact the foundation offer by telephone prior to submitting your letter of enquiry, to establish a connection which can be followed up in writing.

The letter which the proposal writer submits should include a synopsis of the project, and the amount of funding which is being requested. Describe the impact of the project, focusing upon the needs which you will be addressing through your research. Be positive and proactive in your request, showing how the grant will be utilised to develop opportunities and support effective outcomes.

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A growing number of organisations request that potential grant recipients send through an enquiry letter prior to receiving an invitation to submit a full proposal. For proposal writers who are unfamiliar with this process, it can be difficult to know exactly what is expected of them, and how to go about drafting a compelling and engaging letter which will lead to an invitation for proposal submittal.

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