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The LOI: The First Step in Writing Grant Proposals That Succeed

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

Let us make every effort to do what leads … to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19, NIV)  

The LOI and writing grant proposals. An online #devotional for writers with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #ChristianWritingResources #nonprofits

A Word For Writers

It was the third year I’d been writing grant proposals to this particular funder – unsuccessfully.

For the past two years, I had prepared a letter of inquiry (LOI), but I had not been invited to submit a full application. 

What had I missed in the past two tries that had failed to capture the funder’s interest?

I reviewed my previous LOIs.

This time, I paid particular attention to the opening paragraph using a checklist. 

  • Project name? Check
  • Request amount? Check
  • An explanation of how my project aligned with the funder’s interests? OOPS!!!

My letter described my organization’s project – a program for low-income single moms. But there was no mention of the funder’s areas of interests, which were primarily meeting hunger and basic needs for low-income, inner city families.

I had not connected the dots between my project and relieving hunger, even though the project included meals for the women and grocery cards for food.

I had failed in one of the cardinal rules in writing grant proposals: I had not demonstrated the mutual interest between my project to the funder’s interests.

So this time, I did.  I wrote an LOI focused on relieving hunger for the low-income women we served. 

It got the green light to submit a full application. And the grant proposal got funded.

Have you used your LOI to explain how you and the funder can provide mutual edification?

A Wise Word

Use an LOI to connect your project to the funder’s interests.

A Word To Pray

Heavenly Father, 

Show me the common point that connects my reader’s interests with my purpose. Help me to demonstrate that mutual connection as I write.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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