How to Write a Grant Letter of Intent

by | Jul 11, 2024

Imagine your nonprofit organization (NPO) embarking on a transformative project that could change lives and strengthen communities. Now imagine that dream slipping away because your Letter of Intent (LOI) didn’t capture the funders’ interest.  What is a grant letter of intent? Let’s take a deep dive into grant LOIs, from preparation to proper format and everything in between.  In this guide, FundSource26 will help you create an LOI that captures the interest of grantors, ensuring that your proposal has the best chance of success. Featuring a letter of intent sample and detailed instructions, this guide guarantees that your organization has all the tools to craft an exceptional nonprofit letter of intent.

What Is a Letter of Intent?

Generally, a letter of intent refers to a nonbinding document that indicates an agreement between two parties. In the grantseeking world, a letter of intent is a document that introduces your nonprofit to a potential grantor. Also referred to as a letter of interest, the letter of intent is the key document that acts as your business or organization’s introductory gesture. It establishes contact with prospective funders, lets you declare your intentions, and establishes your authority. Key points your nonprofit should keep in mind when learning how to write an LOI for a grant:

  • A grant letter of intent should summarize your nonprofit’s mission, project goals, and funding request. It is the precursor to a full grant proposal and initiates a potential funding dialogue.
  • The grant LOI must include an introduction to your organization, a clear project overview with goals and objectives, transparent funding request details, and a conclusion expressing gratitude and the next steps.
  • Proper preparation for writing an LOI involves researching potential grantors and gathering all necessary information beforehand, ensuring the final document is clear, concise, and compelling.

Purpose of a Letter of Intent

A letter of intent lays down the foundation for engaging interactions with funders, setting into motion opportunities for funding. The function of an LOI is pivotal — it can demonstrate how wide-ranging and pertinent your project is. A grant letter of intent is more than a prerequisite in the grant application process. Writing a compelling intent letter is the gateway to securing support for your organization. A high-quality LOI allows you to express interest, showcase due diligence, and briefly summarize your organization’s value. On the other hand, a subpar LOI can lead to ignored prospects and unfruitful efforts. A well-crafted grant LOI effectively conveys the purpose of your project and initiates a bond with potential funders, laying a foundation for collaboration. The intent is to forge lasting relationships between your organization’s purpose and the philanthropic aims of grant providers.

The Significance of Sending a Letter of Intent

The LOI may be concise, but it holds significant weight. Many grantors require submitting a letter of intent before a grant application. For example, in their grand guidelines, the Azrieli Foundation in Canada states the requirement to send a letter of intent as a first step when applying for a project or operating grant. While only delving into some of the details covered by a full proposal, a grant letter of intent still plays an important role. A high-quality letter of intent will:

  1. Engage the reader.
  2. Illustrate compatibility with what the funder seeks to support.
  3. Start meaningful conversations—an essential part of every stage when applying for grants.
  4. Show the grantor you’ve done your homework.
  5. Introduce your NPO to a potential funder before you try to connect by phone.
  6. Help you assess if your nonprofit is a good fit with a potential grant before you spend time and money on an application.

Key Components of a Letter of Intent

Now that you understand what an LOI is and its importance in the grant-seeking process, it’s time to learn how to write a letter of intent for a grant. An effective grant letter of intent features several key elements that provide a detailed picture of your nonprofit and the specific project you seek to finance. The LOI typically outlines the primary activities and projects of the organization applying for the grant and should contain the following:

  1. A captivating opening that quickly summarizes your initiative.
  2. An in-depth look at the proposed undertaking.
  3. A straightforward request for financial support.
  4. A polite ending anticipating a future engagement.

Preparing to Write Your Grant LOI

First and foremost, lay a strong foundation through meticulous preparation.

Researching Potential Grantors

A well-structured LOI is akin to creating a custom key to unlock a particular door. Build awareness of the funder’s mission. Pay attention to detail in matching their interests with your project goals. When you fine-tune your LOI to address the individual needs and focuses of the grantor, you increase the chances that your correspondence will capture their attention and ignite their interest.

Gathering Necessary Information

An effective executive summary should highlight an urgent need and provide a detailed map of your project’s activities and anticipated results. Gather relevant data about your organization’s mission, achievements, and current projects. Ensure you have up-to-date statistics and evidence to support your organization’s impact. Provide a short description of your proposed solution, outlining the project plan, required resources, and expected outcomes. By compiling this information, you create a strong foundation for your executive summary, making it easier for funders to assess the potential impact of your project.

Guidelines On How To Write and Format A Letter of Intent

If you want to win grants for your nonprofit, grant acquisition experts at FundSource26 recommend following the format of the letter of intent detailed below:

Introduction: Presenting Your Organization

Your opening words should introduce your nonprofit’s fundamental purpose and principle beliefs in the letter of intent. This is an opportunity to encapsulate what drives your organization, highlight your notable accomplishments, and establish trustworthiness. Let’s compare the introductions of two LOI examples. LOI sample 1: We are a nonprofit organization that helps children. We get grants to provide programs and resources. We have been around for a while and have done some good work. We want to apply for a grant to help us continue our programs. LOI sample 2: Our nonprofit, Hope for All, is driven by a singular mission: to provide education and resources to underprivileged children, empowering them to build a brighter future. Founded in 2010, we have touched the lives of over 10,000 children, offering after-school programs, scholarships, and mentorship opportunities. Our dedication has earned us the trust of our community and partners. By fostering education, we aim to break the cycle of poverty and create sustainable change. Which would you pick if you were on the other side of the table?

Letter of Intent Template

The summary of the project should contain:

  1. What your NPO does: Provide a brief overview of your organization’s mission and activities.
  2. Who your NPO serves: Clearly define your target population and beneficiaries.
  3. A strong statement of the problem: Identify and describe the challenge your project intends to address.
  4. Suggested solution: Convey how your proposed strategy will solve the identified issue.
  5. Project aims and goals: Detail what you aim to achieve with your initiative.
  6. Unique methodology: Illustrate what sets your method apart from those already in place.
  7. Impact: Highlight the significant impact your organization has had.
  8. Proof of/measurement of impact (using statistics): Use data (preferably numerical) to support your claims.

Funding Request Details

Consider incorporating these essential budget elements into your grant letter of intent:

  • Outline the complete cost of the project.
  • Share a summary of the project’s financial needs (breakdowns).
  • Specify clearly how much money you are asking for from the funder.
  • Provide an itemized distribution plan for the funds.

Your presentation in the budget segment of your LOI needs to convey your project’s financial requirements and demonstrate your competence in fiscal management.

Conclusion: Expressing Gratitude and Contact Details

In finalizing your grant letter of intent:

  • Extend gratitude towards the grant provider for taking the time to read your letter of intent.
  • Convey enthusiasm about furthering dialogue.
  • Propose supplying any further information or updates if needed.
  • Share complete contact details.

The concluding segment should convey a hopeful tone that paints a favorable image of your nonprofit organization in the funder’s mind while clarifying what actions are anticipated moving forward. Knowing how to end a letter of intent is an important element that should not be overlooked.

FundSource26 Expert Writing Tips for an Effective Grant Letter of Intent

  1. Begin with a compelling opening.
  2. Avoid unnecessary details.
  3. Write in the active voice.
  4. Maintain a formal tone.
  5. Use simple, straightforward language and avoid jargon.
  6. Provide concrete details and be specific.
  7. Clearly state the purpose of your LOI early on.
  8. Write with the grantor’s unique perspective in mind.
  9. Frame your project in a positive light.
  10. Back up your claims with data and statistics.
  11. Aim for a concise LOI, typically one to two pages long.
  12. Don’t repeat information unnecessarily.
  13. Keep your writing style consistent throughout the LOI.
  14. Check for grammatical errors, typos, and formatting issues.
  15. Any word or sentence that doesn’t add to the objective has to go.
  16. Have someone else review your LOI for clarity and impact.
  17. Restate your funding request at the end.
  18. Adhere strictly to the grantor’s formatting and content guidelines.
  19. Indicate your willingness to provide additional information or discuss the proposal further.
  20. Provide complete contact details for follow-up.
  21. Customize each LOI to the specific grantor rather than using a generic letter of intent template.
  22.  Mention specific examples of how your project builds on or differs from similar initiatives.

Letter of Intent Example

Wish you had a template to follow? We at FundSource26 are hapy to share a letter of intent grant sample:

 

Dear [Grantor’s Name],

My name is [Your Name], and I am the Executive Director of [Your Organization], a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for underserved youth. Since our founding in [Year], we have been committed to empowering young people through mentorship, tutoring, and enrichment programs. Our primary focus is on [Specific Programs], which became instrumental in improving academic performance and boosting self-confidence among our participants. We serve [Target Population], including [Specific Demographics], and our programs address critical needs such as [Specific Issues].

Over the past [Number of Years], we achieved remarkable success. For instance, [Statistic or Example of Impact], and we have been recognized by [Award or Recognition]. According to [Source], our programs have resulted in [Specific Results].

We are seeking [Amount] to support our [Specific Project], which will enable us to [Purpose or Goal]. These funds will be used for [Detailed Explanation of Budget Items].

Thank you for considering our request. We believe that [Your Organization] aligns with your funding priorities and would be grateful for the opportunity to submit a full proposal for review.

We look forward to collaborating with [Grantor’s Organization].

Sincerely, [Your Name]

[Your Title]

[Your Contact Information]

Technical Details to Include in Your Grant LOI

The technical elements of your grant letter of intent are just as critical to its success as the substance within. Let’s examine the following components:

  • Letterhead
  • Logo
  • Formatting and presentation

These factors significantly enhance the document’s professional appearance and influence how funders view your nonprofit organization.

Letterhead

Using your organization’s official letterhead adds a touch of professionalism to your grant LOI. A letterhead immediately signals to the funder that your organization is legitimate and established.

Logo

Including your organization’s logo reinforces brand identity and makes your LOI visually distinctive. A logo helps funders easily recognize your organization.

Formatting and Presentation

Proper formatting and presentation ensure your LOI is easy to read and visually appealing. Use clear headings, bullet points, and a readable font to enhance the document’s overall appearance.

FundSource26 for Your Grantseeking Needs

FundSource26 stands out as the quintessential collaborator your organization requires to attain grant support and develop enduring funding tactics that guarantee sustainability and expansion.

Services Offered by FundSource26

FundSource26’s services for nonprofits include:

  • Thorough research and lasting relationships with potential funders.
  • A twelve-month commitment to ensure long-term success.
  • The Done-For-You Strategy Implementation package, which includes a guarantee and covers all aspects of finding grants, budgeting, program design, and much more.

FundSource26’s grant acquisition services are tailored to the unique needs of nonprofits, providing peace of mind and confidence in their ability to deliver results. FundSource26 works with multiple NPOs and organizations, including food banks and faith-based institutions. Check out our winning stories here.

How FundSource26 Will Enhance Your Grantseeking Efforts

  • Craft compelling grant proposals tailored to funders’ objectives.
  • Develop well-prepared grant letters of intent.
  • Provide comprehensive services from writing applications to formulating evaluation criteria.
  • Ensure adherence to all grant regulations.
  • Make grant writing easier and more effective.
  • Use a tactical approach for persistent grant applications.
  • Avoid jargon for straightforward contracts and proposals.

Write Winning Grant Letters of Intent With FundSource26

To conclude, a winning grant letter of intent is your nonprofit’s ambassador, speaking volumes about your mission, vision, and potential impact before a full proposal ever comes into play. Pay attention to technical details and consider partnering with experts like FundSource26 to make your grantseeking efforts successful. With the guidance provided in this post, you’re now equipped to write an LOI that lays a solid foundation for achieving your funding goals. Book a call with FundSource26 today to discuss your nonprofit’s fundraising journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a grant letter of intent?

A grant letter of intent serves to acquaint potential funders with your company or organization,  outline the proposed project, and signify your planned request for funding, thereby setting the stage for a detailed proposal submission.

How long should a letter of intent be?

A grant letter of intent should be succinct, optimally one page in length. It may stretch up to three pages if required without compromising the clarity of the message. Focus on the most important information and keep it brief.

What are the key components of a grant LOI?

An effective grant letter of intent includes several essential elements: an introductory section that captures attention, a concise description of the goals and objectives of your project, specific information about your funding needs, and a formal closing that thanks the reader and mentions future actions.

How can I make my grant LOI stand out to funders?

Emphasize clear communication, tailor your message so it resonates with the mission of the funder, and do a final review of your grammar and spelling.

How do I know when to send a letter of intent?

Foundations that request a letter of intent usually provide a deadline. Make sure to submit your LOI a few days before the deadline. For other nonprofit grant opportunities, you should send an LOI as soon as you finish writing one.

Will FundSource26 improve my chances of winning a grant?

The assistance of fundraising specialists like FundSource26 will boost your grant win rate. Our services include writing compelling letters of intent, strategic advice, and developing comprehensive fundraising strategies.

Batya Willmott

Batya Willmott

Batya Willmott is an accomplished fundraising expert and celebrated grant writing strategist with over 19 years of experience, having secured over $40 million for diverse organizations. As the Founder and CEO of FundSource26, she leads a team of top-notch development professionals dedicated to helping nonprofits maximize their funding potential and raise more 5,6 & 7 figure gifts. Driven by a commitment to fostering goodness and kindness, Batya passionately advocates for impactful philanthropy, shaping the landscape of nonprofit fundraising and inspiring positive change. For valuable insights into fundraising, grants, nonprofits, and entrepreneurship, follow her on LinkedIn.