Crafting a compelling LOI (Letter of Intent)
A Letter of Intent (or Letter of Inquiry, or just LOI, for short) is like a coffee date before you (hopefully) get asked out to dinner by that special someone. An LOI gives your organization and program a chance to encapsulate all the reasons why you believe you should be funded. It shows alignment with the funder’s mission (mission match), as well as your agency’s fitness for handling a large windfall in the form of a grant.
For the most compelling LOI, put your best foot forward, and show that your program is well thought through, well-conceived, and potentially a good investment by the funder. Describe how your program’s outputs (activities) will lead to not only the outcomes you desire, but that the funder desires as well.
For instance, if you (and your funder prospect) wish to end hunger, and your program hands out PB&J’s to every man, woman, and child in your community – will that end hunger? Likely not for very long! If I were your prospective funder, you instead could convince me that establishing community gardens in food deserts and teaching cooking and canning techniques would stand a better chance of winning my vote. Connect the dots for me in your LOI and show me that your program is worthy of my grant funding and support.
Also show me that your organization can manage a grant. Funding history, capacity to handle like-sized projects, and staff and board credentials go a long way to showing a funder that a grant to your agency will have a great chance of changing lives.
In my next installment, I will discuss a great way to handle multiple grant proposals with limited staffing. Stay tuned!
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