While the primary elements of your grant proposal will take up the majority of your time and energy but you should not neglect the cover letter. The specifics of how you create a proposal will determine the success or failure of the funding request. A poorly written letter could cause your funder to be turned off.

Mim Carlson, Tori O’Neal McElrath, and the authors of Winning Grants Step by Step, 1, insist that cover letters must:

What is an effective cover letter?

For proposals to corporations and foundations A cover letter is required for foundations and corporations. It is not required for federal grant applications , nor state grant applications. 2

A well-written cover letter must include these characteristics

The cover letter you send to us should contain the following information:

Beverly A. Browning (author of Grant writing for Dummies) recommends that you draft your cover letter once you’ve completed your entire proposal and have entered an empathetic state. Browning says:

“As you contemplate your achievement (the final request for funding) Let your imaginative right-side brain come to life and connect your thoughts to the person who can bring your ideas to life. “2

Formatting Your Cover Letter

  1. Use the letterhead of your company. The date you include in the cover letter, as in the grant proposal. It is when that you’ll send your proposal for grant to the grantee. This date will guarantee that all the documents included in the proposal are in order.
  2. The address inside (located on the upper left of the letter) must be provided to the corporate or foundation contact person’s name. Then, include the name and the title of the source of funding and the address city, state, and zip code. It is recommended to double-check this information via phone or email. The information may change regularly, so make sure you be up-to-date with your name and address.
  3. Make use of “Dear” as your salutation. Add your name as your last. It is essential to address the letter to a specific individual. To make sure you’ve got the right person and proper title, contact the corporate or foundation office. While these information may seem to be insignificant, they are vital.
  4. The opening paragraph should be short and focused. The legal name of your organization 3 must be mentioned. Then, you should inform the donor the amount of money they will be receiving and why. A brief description of your company suffices. Add a research-based reason for why you require the money.
  5. Include a few additional sentences. Define the goal of your initiative and describe how it is connected to the funding priorities of the funder or mission. The board of directors must confirm your commitment to the project.
  6. The letter should conclude with an overview paragraph. Include a brief explanation of what the partnership’s funding implications can be for your project’s market. It could be an excellent idea to include your website users.
  7. You can also use an ending such as “Sincerely.”
  8. The executive director, the board president, or both of them should be the signers of the letter. Under the signature, you should include the initial, middle, and last name of the person signing it. The ED or the president of the board must be the one to sign the letter. The contact details for the person who will answer your questions is provided at the end of the letter.
  9. Incorporate the words “ENCLOSURE” in the end of the letter (in all capital letters).

How long should the cover letter’s length be?

The cover letter you send should be restricted to one page, and three to four paragraphs. The cover letter you write should be brief and simple to read.

The tone of your cover letter and content may vary based on whether your company is required to present a complete proposal in response to an Letter of Inquiry (LOI ) or when you are the first company to take on the base.

Sample Cover Letter

Mary Smith, PhD

Programm Officer

Community Foundation

4321 Common Lane

Some City, YZ 55555

Dear Dr. Smith

The Some City Senior Center requests an award of $50,000 for the Senior Latino Community Outreach Pilot Project.

We are the biggest seniors’ center in Any County and serve over the 450 senior citizens who visit us each day. We’re determined to expand and improve our facility to meet the needs of our customers. We are planning to pilot the Senior Latino Community Outreach Pilot Project for one year to determine if our center can effectively serve this group of people.

Our center offers a wide range of access to health and social services for seniors in Latino communities.

Incorporating and raising the cultural competency of Some City Senior Center’s staff, board and volunteers.

The board of directors at our company is ecstatic about this initiative and is eager to see it launched to ensure that we are the most welcoming and culturally proficient center for seniors from all our communities that require them. If we can confirm that the program is successful following the trial year the board will incorporate an amount from our annual costs in our operating budget for the year, to make it an integral component of our main services.

The Center will be the first center of referral to Health Access Latinos, Families of Any County and three community clinics within 15 miles of the Center. We will accept referrals from seniors who speak Spanish from any agency in the immediate vicinity.

We thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this request. I will get in touch with you in the coming week to address any questions you might have and explore the possibility of meeting you to discuss our idea. If you have any concerns you may reach Connie Jones, our Director for Development at (555-555-5555 x555) or cjones@scsc.org.


Jane Lovely

Executive Director


*Letter copied (with changes) by Winning Grants Step By Step Second Edition Tori O’Neal McElrath, JosseyBass in 2008. 4.

Avoid these mistakes in your cover letter to prevent creating

  1. Too too much. A cover letter isn’t an academic dissertation. It’s also not an offer. Tips: Keep it short and straight-forward. Do they understand the message?
  2.   Using big words. The graduate school you attended taught you how to write complicated sentences. This isn’t the time to practice this. You don’t want to impress anyone by demonstrating your expertise. The goal is to make your argument as naturally as you can. A program like hemingway will assist you in determining if your writing is complex. It will alert you that your sentences are hard to comprehend or are too long.  
  3.   Grammatical Errors. Avoid putting your grammar at risk. Use Word’s grammar checker to confirm your grammar. You can also test your work with grammarly. The paid version comes with more than the grammar test.  

Your cover letter must be distinctive.

Your grant application could be among hundreds to thousands of proposals that a foundation receives each year. The cover letter is essential to securing funds. How do you ensure that your cover letter stands out?

Don’t try to appear “cute” because foundation’s officials won’t be impressed.

 A normal letter is not appropriate for a cover letter. But, you must include a compelling story in the other sections of your proposal, such as the description and the solution. A short paragraph that explains how your company can accomplish the goals you have set is essential. Look at the strengths and weaknesses of your competition and assess their strengths and weaknesses. It could be due to the quality of your staff and volunteers or your expertise in dealing with the issue or the support from your community that you get from the community.  

It’s not necessary to mention your competitors or critique them. Concentrate on the strengths you have. It’s a good opportunity to get together with colleagues at work. Gather a group of people to discuss ways that your non-profit could be more successful.

The cover letter should be succinct, simple and simple to comprehend. The cover letter should encourage readers to read the entire proposal. Don’t put obstacles to readers which could deter readers from continuing to read.

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