A letter of inquiry is often used as the starting point for many people who work in the fundraising industry instead of a full proposal. The letter of inquiry introduces the organization and allows the donor to contribute before committing to a proposal.
A letter of inquiry follows a very standard format. The first paragraph introduces the organization and proceeds to define the organization's mission statement. After that, the letter describes how the organization plans to use the funds it raises and its methodology for using the funds. The letter closes after summarizing the points it has made. Generally, the potential donor, agency or foundation granting the funds has strict requirements, such as page length and format, for letters of inquiry.