How to Write a Nonprofit Grant Cover Letter and Summary
Technically, the cover letter isn’t part of the proposal narrative for the grant application for your nonprofit. It’s attached to the top of the proposal where it serves as an introduction to the document’s primary points. One of its key roles is to convey how the proposal addresses the foundation’s stated priorities. Often a board member signs the letter.
The letter mentions any contact the organization may have had with the funding source before submitting the proposal. For example, you may say, When I tripped over your umbrella last Tuesday, I couldn’t help but notice you were reading a book about frogs. Here at the city park aquarium, we’ve planned an astounding amphibian exhibition.
Although the cover letter’s author always wants to lay out the basics of the request — how much money is needed and for what — she also can use it to say something about her personal connection to the cause. The letter should close with clear, specific information about the contact person to whom the funding source should direct any questions.
The body of the actual grant proposal begins with an executive summary (similar to an abstract for a report) containing a brisk overview of its key ideas.
The grant writer usually begins the summary section with a one-sentence overview of the project and how much money is being requested in the proposal. Next she includes key ideas (one or two sentences each) from every section of the proposal. Finally, the grant writer closes the executive summary with the prognosis for future funding for the program.
Don’t use the exact same wording to describe your project idea in the cover letter and in the project summary. You don’t want to bore your reader.