A well-written letter of interest could be instrumental in the success of a funding request for your organization or project. Today, there are donor foundations that prefer to receive project funding through a letter rather than a full proposal. Other foundations use the charter as the initial step in the process of judging whether a project proposed by a nonprofit organization is in their best interest. If they so determine, they ask the organization for a full formal proposal. In the guidelines of these donor foundations, you will see that they ask for a "letter of interest" (or LOI, for its acronym in English), which could also be translated as a letter of request.
An effective letter of interest can be more difficult to write than a full proposal. The letter should be short "no more than three pages" but succinct and complete. It contains the statement of the need that your project will respond to, the solution that your organization proposes, and the skills and abilities that your organization possesses to be able to implement that solution. Address the letter of interest to the person in charge of receiving correspondence of this kind within the donor foundation or to the executive director; In general, it is suggested that you send this type of correspondence by regular mail.
Like the proposal itself, a letter of interest must include the following:
The Introduction: These first few paragraphs serve as the executive summary for the letter of interest and include the name of the organization, the amount of funding being requested, and a description of the project. Information on project staff, a brief description of evaluation methods, and the project timeline are also included.
The Need Statement: Start your argument for funding your project by convincing the donor foundation that there is a real need and that your organization will be able to meet the demand through your project. Explain, using data and statistics, why the project needs to be done and who it will help. It includes a description of the target population of services.
The Project Description: This part of the letter should be concise and focused on your organization's ability to meet the identified need. It should include your mission statement, a brief account of the current projects of the organization and its staff, and it should make a direct connection between what is being done today and what you seek to accomplish with the funds being requested. If the letter generates enough interest and you are invited to submit a full proposal, this section will be filled with additional important details.
It is also important to include brief information about the costs of the project. Even a short letter can include a half-page quote. If you consider it necessary, you could also include it in an annex document. Either way, don't forget to mention what the project will cost.
The Methodology: This section of the letter explains what you will do to address the need and presents a clear, logical, and achievable solution. Briefly describe the project, major activities, and objectives, and include the names and titles of key personnel. This section highlights the critical impact of donated funds.
Other Sources of Support: To complete the description of the project in this concise format, please discuss the other sources of funding anticipated for the project, including other private foundations. Make a list of everyone you will go to for funding.
Final Summary: In this last part, reiterate the purposes of the project, your willingness to answer additional questions, and thank the donor foundation for their anticipated support. Note: Include attachments only if foundation guidelines require you to do so. Include only the specific annexes for each foundation.
Examples of letters of interest
It is difficult to obtain real sample letters of interest, since both the donor foundation and the organization seeking funding tend to protect these types of documents. In addition, these letters are often tied too specifically to the project, organization, and donor foundation.
However, in English you will find letters in the Sample Documents section of Candid Learning. It contains a collection of proposals, cover letters, letters of interest, and project budgets from organizations that were successful in their search for funds. Each example includes comments from the person in charge of reviewing the documents and making decisions about the funds your foundation contributes. In Spanish, few examples exist online; See the examples we publish in our Spanish book, Guide to Writing Proposals .