For this assignment, you will need to locate a funding organization and compose a letter of inquiry (LOI) inquiring about a specific program or project. You may use an existing program or project, or one you know your organization wants to launch. ( see the mission for Maidservants Outreach Manor below) You can use the known needs of your community to shape the project or program you are discussing in the LOI.
The LOI should include the following elements:
? Organizational mission.
? Needs statement.
? Outcomes expected.
? General description of how the organization will conduct the project.
? The fit seen between the potential sponsor and the applicant organization.
Remember, the LOI is not a proposal in itself. Instead, the purpose of the LOI is to determine if an organization and its proposal fit within the granter’s guidelines before the organization commits the time and resources to put together a full proposal.
A growing number of major foundations ask potential grant recipients to first submit a two-page letter of inquiry before receiving an invitation to submit a full proposal. The inquiry letter prevents nonprofit organizations from spending an excessive amount of time assembling application material for unlikely projects. On the other end of the funding process, foundation staff can quickly scan letters for appropriate projects and only request additional information when funding is a strong possibility.
For a grantwriter, letters of inquiry provide a valuable method for testing project ideas with potential funding sources. Remember however that you must research the foundation’s priorities first. Respect the funding source’s stated preferences for geographic region, type of grant, and program areas. Rejection notification arrives quickly when your project is clearly unsuitable. Your letter should establish a connection between your project’s goals and the foundation’s philanthropic interests.
The secret to a successful letter of inquiry is condense, condense, condense. With only two pages of text, each sentence must be scrutinized when editing. Focus on detail, clarity, and conciseness. But also remember to convey passion for the project.
July 15, 2000
Mr. John Jones, Program Officer
The Brunner Foundation
8000 Fantasy Lane
Wealthville, CA 90000
Dear Mr. Jones:
Timing: Ideally, prospective foundations should be identified well in advance of your project start date. For example, perhaps your research indicates that the Brunner Foundation has three grant deadlines: February 1, June 1, October 1. With the July 15th date above, the nonprofit waited long enough past the June 1st deadline to allow the previous round of funding applications to be processed. With two and a half months until the next October 1 deadline, foundation staff have ample time to request a full proposal, and the grantwriter has time to prepare that lengthier submission.
Contact Person: Your research should identify the appropriate foundation officer for submissions in your target funding category or program area. Small family foundations often ask that submissions be sent directly to the foundation president or board chair. If you are relying on an older annual report or publication, call the foundation to doublecheck that the officer is still on staff. If the nonprofit executive signing your letter of inquiry has cultivated the foundation officer by phone or in person, then a first name can be used in the greeting.
Mailing: Letters of inquiry should be sent through regular first-class mail. Recently, several foundations have expressed annoyance with the huge volume of high-cost overnight delivery services used for last-minute submissions.
We take pleasure in requesting support for Healthy Haven’s facility expansion, which will increase social service program space and construct 36 units of permanent, affordable housing for mentally ill adults. Healthy Haven seeks a grant of $40,000, payable over two years, from the Brunner Foundation. The first payment of $20,000 will be applied toward hard construction costs of the ground floor homeless services department. The second payment of $20,000 will be used for furniture and fixtures to prepare the building for occupancy.
Synopsis: The first paragraph should provide a synopsis of the project and the requested funding amount. Assume that the foundation staff will use this paragraph as the project summary on internal documents. Whenever possible, quantify project services, such as the number of participants who will be served or the number of housing units to be built.
Impact: Focus on philanthropic needs rather than institutional needs. The example above identifies the target population of mentally ill adults. Even if you seek funding for a new database system or renovated administrative office, emphasize how improved efficiency will impact vital services for people in need or allow improved advocacy on social issues.
Positive: Use the verb tense will to describe anticipated project accomplishments. The conditional sentence structure If we receive the grant, then we could double our floor space conveys less authority and certainty that a definitive statement: A Brunner Foundation grant will fund 8,000 square feet of a new vocational training center.
Ownership: Because this sample letter has a double signature, the pronoun “we” is used. For small orgranizations, referring to the institution as “our program” rather than “the program” often seems more natural and compassionate.
Gift Terms: For large grants, suggest logical payment periods. In the example, half the grant would be needed within a year for construction start-up, but the other grant monies can be deferred until external construction is finished. Multiple-year grants are sometimes easier for foundations to incorporate into their overall funding parameters. The payments also allow additional opportunities for the nonprofit to cultivate the foundation with thoughtful thank you letters and project updates.
Maidservants Outreach Manor (MOM) Inc. this is a new organization in primary stages. ( use covenant House as an example see link )
Mission: Is broad-based community outreach organization, with a holistic approach To empower pregnant teenager and young mothers toward self-sufficiency, responsible nurturing parents and productive taxpaying citizens.
Goals: Ultimately M.O.M. seek to decrease the number of teenage pregnancies. Increase the number of high School graduates while offering social and emotional support and ongoing mentoring and tutorial services.
1. Provide supportive family-style housing for pregnant teenagers ages ,young mothers ages 12 ? 19 and their children ( victims of domestic violence, the rejected and homeless,)
2. Produce income producing not tax absorbing citizens
3. Increase the number of high school graduates.
4. Provide Education and literacy programs
5. Reduce repeat pregnancies through a program of instructional abstinence.
6. Encourage placement for adoption as an option.
7. Facilitate health care education for the well-being of parent and children.
8. Teach Personal Responsibility: Building positive self image and self worth.
9. Provide training on parenting skills and life skills including: financial planning, employment training, household management, social skills, personal care, nutrition, coping skills, socialization skills, and citizenship skills.
10. Provide therapeutic counseling (individual, group, family ) and case management
11. Conduct follow-up services.
M.O.M Philosophy is everyone need a second chance coated with love.
M.O.M is designed to provide services for a diverse group of young women who are, abused, homeless, alone and afraid or in need of a fresh start.
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