How to Write a Grant Letter

By Matt Smolsky , last updated December 22, 2011

If you are seeking a grant, it is very important you know how to write a well written, persuasive, and direct grant letter. A well-written grant letter that clearly describes your project and its value can help you win the grant you are seeking. By following a standard method, you can speak to the decision makers in a way that gets their attention, assures them of your credibility and shows them how your project fits with their organization.

A successful grant proposal starts with researching the funding organization. Use the information you gathered during the research phase to help you write your letter. Personalize your cover letter to the funding organization with as much information as appropriate. Your cover letter should be brief and to the point. Don't just repeat what's in the proposal. Instead, let the reader know you understand them, and how your grant fulfills their requirements. Your cover letter should let them know why your project and their organization are a perfect fit. Of course, use your organization's letterhead for the cover letter. If you don't have a letterhead, get one. It doesn't need to be elaborate, and you don’t need to spend a lot of time or money designing a letterhead. It just needs to look professional. Be sure to date your letter with the same date that's on the grant application.Under the date, address the letter to the funding organization, using your contact's name and address.

The Opening

Keep your first paragraph to the point. Tell them who you are, what you're organization does, what the project is, and how much money you're requesting. The first paragraph should be about three sentences. Give one compelling reason why your project should be funded.

The Body

The following paragraphs should be short and to the point. Remember, all of this will be contained in the proposal itself. You’re hitting the highlights, the strongest points of your proposal in your cover letter. Tell them why is your project important. Briefly talk about the strength of your organization. Then, talk about how the funds will be used. Who will benefit? Tie this in with why your project is a good fit with the funding organization's goals. Describe how you'll measure the effectiveness of your project. What specific metrics will you use? Exactly how will you be able to tell whether or not your project is having an impact?

The Close

Close the letter by briefly mentioning the grant proposal and any other supporting documentation you may have included. Repeat that you believe your project is a good fit, reassure the readers of your commitment and thank them for their time. Keep the close to the letter upbeat and hopeful.

A standard "Sincerely" is always a safe way to close a letter, followed by your signature. If you've spoken with the contact you're addressing the letter to, you can use just your first name. Your printed full name and title should be below your signature. Multiple people from your organization can sign the letter, if this is appropriate and if you believe it gives you the best chance of getting the grant money.

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