Grant Proposal Cover Letter As The Main Document of The Grant Application

By: Henrique Bertulino

15 min



Grant Proposal Cover Letter As The Main Document of The Grant Application

Use a motivation letter for a grant to show the uniqueness of your idea to the future funder. Take enough time to prepare it, following some rules, and studying good samples.

It is necessary to study the mission and goals of the organization that provides it. Understanding the aims of financial donors should suggest the primary vector of the motivation letter.

"Why do you think you should get a grant?" is the central question you need to answer in your letter. It is essential to formulate your thoughts in such a way as to answer the implicit question.

You need to find and reflect on the "knot" that connects your aspirations to the grant's opportunities. In this type of letter, the focus should be on problem-solving, facilitated by obtaining funding.

But these are general rules for writing a letter. Next, we will consider in detail all the writing tips for drawing up this document.

Read a Request For Proposal for a Contract Bid

To present your project at all, you will need to go through a complex bidding process. At this stage, we advise you to focus on some key concepts.

Do you know what RFP is? And do you think you can read it effectively? If not, then you are in the right place.

Let's start with what it is. It means Request for Proposal (or Request for Quote - RFQ).

This concept is as follows: it is an application for the provision of a service or the creation of a project designed by the customer for the competition. It reflects the customer's goals, the criteria for bidders, and some other important indicators.

Are you convinced that you will meet all the requirements of the agency that offers the contract? In this case, it is essential to quickly and efficiently read the technical information you need. To qualify for a deal, pay attention to the following sections of your RFP package:

  1. Financial component. The first thing you should pay attention to is the question of price. It is essential to determine whether the company has set a minimum threshold for the cost of providing its services. Can you work within the allowable value of the contract? Analyze whether the RFP's financial component is suitable for both parties and do not spend too much time reading the rest of the document.
  2. The expected result of cooperation. Do the company's expectations meet the results of your work? You need to soberly assess your capabilities so that it does not become a problem in the future. Here the critical points are the frequency of obligations, the number, and the type of work performed.
  3. Duration of the contract. Some companies do not set time limits for project implementation, while others set specific deadlines. The RFP may specify a precise number of weekly, monthly hours required to implement the project. So it is worth paying particular attention to this.
  4. Special conditions. Examine the whole document in detail - are there any special conditions for concluding a contract? If you want to provide a quick response to RFP and avoid further misunderstandings, read each word and make sure that there are no unique aspects that the contract partner can then address.
  5. Adaptation to evaluation methods. To increase your chances of winning a grant application, make sure your response to RFP is consistent with the methods used to evaluate responses. These criteria can be found in the requests to participate in the competition. Rest assured, companies will not consider responses that ignore design and content requirements.

Parts of Good Grant Proposal Cover Letter

Grant proposal cover letter is a short (2-3 paragraphs) statement signed by your organization's director. The letter briefly describes the grant application's essence, the importance, and the significance of the proposed project. The message must reflect the support and approval of the project by the administration and is signed by the institution's head, or by another official, for example, the executive director.

There are essential elements of the letter, without which it will not be successful.

Personal Information

In the introductory part of your grant application, you describe your organization as a potential grant applicant. Please enter the name of the organization and briefly state its mission. The quality of the project is not the only important point when making a financing decision. Typically, applications are funded based on the reputation of the applicant organization as well. In the introduction, you justify your reliability and explain why your grant application deserves support.

If you are writing a cover letter for a CV or resume, look for good personal statement examples - these are the ones to include at the beginning of the letter.

Executive Summary

Fund experts, first of all, pay attention to the formulation of the goals. Therefore, make them short. Remember the three main rules: the goal must be achievable, measurable, and limited in time. And since you are applying for a grant, it is also in the interests of the foundation.

When preparing the executive summary, keep in mind that the expert will read it entirely and carefully. The annotation should contain brief comprehensive information about the project, its ideas, and research methods. This information should be sufficient and necessary for the expert to form a picture of the problem's essence being solved on its basis. Do not use professional slang in your description; do not use common jargon. Try to write in the potential sponsor's language, using the same expressions and terms that appear in the competition announcement. Do not forget that an expert is a busy person, and if at the first moment of acquaintance with the topic, he does not have an interest in work, he will never arise.

Make sure you write down the following points here:

  • The action plan you propose is in the interests of the donor.
  • Your project is necessary, and its implementation is crucial for your community
  • You have experience implementing similar ideas.

Remember also to specify the following items:

  • Project success forecasts;
  • How do you estimate the value of your offer;
  • What impact will your program have;
  • Specifics in determining the needs of the project.

Express your thoughts informatively but in a concise form.

Statement of Need

Justify a list of all the needs that must be satisfied for the successful implementation of the project. It is then only, concisely, and convincingly, in 25-30 words, to convey this to the sponsor. Do not get carried away by listing difficulties and problems. Highlight only the main problem that you can solve with funding. Those reading the grant application should get the impression that you know exactly how to overcome all the difficulties. Only several specific things are missing for this.

Goals And Objectives

The goals and objectives of the project are the main sections of the grant application. One of the most common mistakes is mixing up project goals and objectives. Goals are strategic guidelines, and objectives are tactics to achieve a goal. In other words, what results you want to get at the output, and what steps you need to take for this. In doing so, always correlate goals and objectives. For example, it is not entirely appropriate to announce the possibility of solving global problems with a small amount of funding and a low level of performers' qualifications.

Achievement of specific results should be linked to the work schedule. It is impossible to achieve high results quickly, and, conversely, an unreasonably long time will correspond to low performance. Draw a sample of the result you can achieve.

Be sure to indicate your project's beneficiaries: those whose needs the implementation is aimed at the meeting. You or your organization should not assume this role. Satisfying the needs of those people and organizations whose interests are in the focus of your organization's activities is what your project should be aimed at. And indicate your needs for the implementation of the project from their point of view. Demonstrate that the project or area of activity with which it is associated is also in the sponsor's interests. If you cannot clearly define the category of beneficiaries and measure an idea's results, then it won't be easy to believe in the likelihood of its funding.

Typical Mistakes

  • inconsistency of the project goal with the goals and main activities of the applicant institution (or grantor);
  • unclear wording;
  • the set of tasks specified in the project does not correspond to the main goal of the project;
  • unrealistic goals or tasks that cannot be realized within the framework of this project.

Methods And Strategies

So, in the previous sections, you caught the attention of a potential donor. Now you can dive into the details of your offer. How are you going to implement the project? This is the question you need to answer in this section.

This part contains a sample of the activities or events that need to be carried out to obtain the desired results with grant funds. It should clarify two main points:

  • strategy for achieving the desired results;
  • explanation of the choice of this particular strategy.

It should be noted that the latter's coverage requires a study of the experience of projects similar to the layout, which is being prepared by the applicant institution. Thus, this section justifies the choice of methods for implementing the program, what should be done, and by whom, what time frame and in what sequence, what resources will be used. At the same time, your approach to solving the problem should look attractive to the donor. It would help if you remembered that grants finance not the problem itself, but its solution. And not as a whole, but for a specific chain of events, activities envisaged by the project.

Typical Mistakes

  • experts do not understand what will be done, who, when, how and in what sequence will perform actions, what resources will be used;
  • there is no logical connection of the chain: problem - goal - task - method;
  • the proposed set of measures cannot be completed within a certain period and within the project's total cost.

Plan of Evaluation

A mechanism for assessing the program results will indicate that the applicant institution is professional and responsible for its implementation. The preparation of this section requires an assessment of the degree of overall performance. This will allow you to understand how much you will achieve your goals (evaluation of results). You will also need an evaluation mechanism to obtain data on the project's progress and its possible adjustments in the course of implementation (evaluation of the progress or individual stages of the project).

The overall success of a layout has several dimensions. But the main thing is economic efficiency and effectiveness. Economy efficiency is measured by comparing costs and products and results. Effectiveness is measured by the level of what the planned project results have been achieved, how stable they are, and how they affect the target audience (group).

Budget Information

Perhaps this is one of the most critical sections of the project. The grantor's experts treat its content with the utmost rigor. First of all, they pay attention to:

  • total project cost;
  • funds requested;
  • the contribution of the organization itself to the costs of its implementation (if provided by the competitive conditions);
  • attracted funds from other sponsors, etc.

It should be noted that donors may have different requirements for project budgeting. Therefore, you should first carefully examine the needs of the donor. The experts of the grantor usually review the budget according to several parameters, in particular:

  • compliance with the competitive requirements;
  • correspondence of the indicated amounts of expenses for various types of work to the real state of affairs and prices at the time of submission;
  • the degree of financial participation of the grant applicant concerning the requested amount (the amount of its contribution);
  • the ratio of administrative costs and direct costs of project implementation, etc.

Sometimes donors set limits for a grant, indicating the maximum or minimum amount that may be. The applicant institution must adjust its project scope and the scope of the specified amount's tasks. Typically, the project's budget consists of three main parts: salaries, main and indirect costs.

Organizational Background

At the last stage of the presentation, acquaint the donor with your organization a little deeper. Tell them about the development of your company. Where did you start, and what success have you already achieved? Here it is vital to show the progress of work. Describe the mission of your company. Uniqueness will be a critical factor in choosing a grantor between the two companies. Be sure to add the following information to this section:

  • A brief digression into the history of the founding of the company;
  • A list of previous achievements of your organization;
  • A short story about managers and the best employees;
  • A detailed description of people and activities that will be involved in the project.

At this stage, the grantor is already interested in your proposal. So get him on your side once and for all, convincing him that your company is a powerful team of results-oriented professionals.

Write It In Short And Essentially

The grant proposal cover letter contains a summary of the main essence of the project.

As a rule, most granting experts read the cover letter first and, if it makes a good impression on them, further study the grant application. Based on this practice, this document should be as clear, specific, and expressive as possible.

When It Is Better To Write a Cover Letter?

Experts recommend preparing the annotation last when all other sections of the

project proposals have been written. This will allow you to characterize your program as clearly as possible.

Mandatory Items Of The Cover Letter

The grant proposal cover letter should inform the potential donor:

  • about the institution directing the project and its executor in case of receiving a grant;
  • about the problem requiring a solution (what the funds will be spent on);
  • the term of the project and the territory on which it will be implemented;
  • goals and objectives of the project (final result);
  • methods and resources of the project;
  • the cost of the project, the applicant institution's contribution (if any), and the amount requested from the donor.

Be concise, do not repeat what has already been said in the proposal, and quickly explain the matter's essence.

The Style Of Your Cover Letter

  1. Be consistent. Duplicate the date on the grant application in the grant proposal cover letter - they must match.
  2. Find out complete and accurate information about a potential source of funding. At the top of the letter, indicate the foundation or contact person, exact address, city, and state. Don't forget the donor's zip code.
  3. Your cover letter should be addressed to a real person. So show the appropriate respect. Find out who in the company is responsible for reviewing grant applications, specifying the name and position. In your address, use the word "Dear," adding the last name of the person.
  4. Try to state your proposal in three paragraphs. Present yourself and your organization in the introduction, and indicate what help you need and why. Then point out the importance of what you do. In the body of the letter, briefly describe the purpose and mission of your project. Finally, emphasize the need of your community to implement the proposed program.
  5. End the text with the words "Sincerely." Do not forget to sign the letter to the executive director and board president. In addition to the director's last name, provide the person's contact details who will answer all questions.
  6. Write the word "Enclosure" at the bottom of the paper.

What Should Be The Length Of The Cover Letter?

All your text should fit on one page. A maximum of four paragraphs will be enough for a brief presentation of your project in the grant proposal cover letter.

A Sample Of The Cover Letter Will Help You

To get an idea of the grant proposal cover letter, we advise you to look for good examples of ready-made letters or read our template.

But we want to warn you that you may have difficulty finding real cover letters because such information is not for public access.

Where Else You May Need a Cover Letter?

  1. After you've put together a great resume in hopes of getting your dream job, be sure to consider writing a resume cover letter. A competent cover letter reveals your best qualities, grabs the attention of a potential employer, and shows your interest in the job.
  2. It directly depends on how well the cover letter for the CV is drawn up whether you will be invited for an interview or not.
  3. If you plan to devote time to studying at the university, but you do not have the financial opportunity to get a decent education, a scholarship essay for students is something you cannot do without.

Typical Mistakes in The Cover Letter

  • It's too long. Remember how you were forced to write a small essay? So your cover letter should be even smaller.
  • It's too formal. There is no need to "I am in a hurry to notify you," "with great respect and reverence." Imagine that the same person will read it. And such a letter looks very unnatural. Free yourself a little from this "formal" box;
  • Excessive emphasis on certain aspects of the project to the detriment of the rest;
  • Failure to provide any critical details that help experts understand the value of this particular project;
  • Inconsistency of the profile of the applicant institution with the priorities of the grant competition.
  • You leave out the details. Explore the full length and breadth of the company's activities. Tell what values are close to you. Show your "deep" approach, not emotion. It's always impressive.
  • Too many numbers and information about the wrong. Don't go overboard with the presentation of the entire project. To do this, you have many other sections of the presentation package.

Make Your Cover Letter Different From Others

A cover letter serves to convince the grantor of the importance and attractiveness of your project. In this section, you can concisely present the project and encourage the donor to prefer it. From what it says, experts should understand exactly what you want.

We think you understand that the donor will choose from thousands of exciting proposals. A cover letter may be your only chance to stand out from the crowd. To do this, find your uniqueness. Convince the grantor that only your company can correctly implement the plan. Emphasize your strengths so that the donor has no doubts about your competence.

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Henrique Bertulino

Head of Customer Success

I'm a medical doctor and brand manager. The process of getting into Med school and studying at it made me learn and apply many strategies to keep my productivity high while spending less time and effort. As a working student, I had to figure out how to study smarter, not harder. During this period, my interest in neurology and psychiatry, as well as my aspiration to help others, intensified. At Studybay, I use my knowledge, skills, and experience to develop helpful solutions for students and make their study paths more productive and fun.

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