The cover letter often is your proposal's first chance to connect your project with the reader's philanthropic mission. It goes on top of a proposal, but it is not the same as an executive summary, which states your proposal's key points.
At minimum, your cover letter should:
- Request your dollar amount and introduce your project in the first sentence
- Describe how your project and/or organization will further the foundation's mission
- Reference your most recent contact with the foundation
- List the proposal's contents
- Give contact details in case the funder wants additional information
- Be signed by your organization's executive director
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Sample cover letters
Samples of actual cover letters are usually hard to find because the donor and applicant may be very protective of these documents. Also, they usually are very specific to the project, organization, and funder.
However, our Sample Documents section is a searchable collection of proposals, cover letters, letters of inquiry, and proposal budgets that were actually funded. Each proposal includes a critique by the decision-maker who awarded the grant.
You also might check if anyone in your professional networks would be willing to share sample proposals and cover letters.
See also our related Knowledge Base articles: