Your cover letter is the introduction of your project to your reader – and make sure it is a specific person at the organization to whom your letter is addressed.
In your cover letter, it is important to get two main points across:
how much money you need;
a summary of what exactly [Client.Company] will be funding.
Keep it abstract, though. You will have more time to go in depth and sell your proposal later. If you are too wordy from the start, you will scare your reader away and they will not even make it to the meat of your grant proposal.
2. Executive Summary
Now that your reader has a general idea of what you are looking to get funded, you can expound a bit. However, do not go too crazy here with the details.
Say a little more about your organization, state its mission, and how the project you are looking to get funded fits that mission. If the cover letter talked about the project from 30,000 feet up, the Executive Summary should be at around 15,000 feet. Mind that it should be no longer than a page.
3. Statement of Need
Now that you have given the reader a bit of information on who you are and what you’re doing dwell on the specific problem that you are seeking to solve.
Make sure you pinpoint the problem – it should be clearly defined. Remember that if a problem is not clearly defined, reader might perceive it as an unsolvable one. Speaking of which, it is important that you don’t present too much doom and gloom defining the problem. It will simply make the reader feel it is futile to try and fix anything. As a result, they will direct their money toward a cause for which they can make a difference.
Keep it brief but be sure to accurately describe the problem. Don’t forget you can add some photos, when appropriate, to stress the need.
4. Goals and Objectives
Now is the time to let the reader know what the anticipated outcome will be if they provide the money that you are requesting in your grant proposal.
This is not the “how” portion (that comes next). This is where you describe the expected results on both a general and specific levels. By way of example, if your project is a cleanup of the Charles River in Boston, you might say generally “we will try to clean up the pollution in the Charles River to make it more habitable for wildlife.” Then, you can become more specific and proceed with measurable goals such as “during the first month, we will fill 20 bags of trash per weekend”. Then describe how the river will be cleaner and cleaner as the project goes and how you may only be filling 5 bags of trash per weekend by year end.
All in all, start with a general overview and drill down to specific measurable targets.
5. Methods and Strategies
Here is the “how”. You should tie together the problem, your goal and the remedy you offer. Go into detail – lots of detail – about your plan. This is the most important part of your grant proposal as it is essentially the activity that you are asking your reader to fund.
Hopefully, you have utilized the lead-up to this part to grasp their attention. Now it's time to sell it by painting a picture of how you will be solving the problem that you laid out previously.
6. Plan of Evaluation
If someone is going to grant you a presumably significant amount of money to accomplish certain goals, then they are going to want some accountability.
This section describes how you will evaluate your project on an ongoing basis to ensure that the money is being used efficiently. You should also feature the final result you expect, make it as measurable as possible.
Give a detailed breakdown indicating how money will be used. This can simply be a spreadsheet with annotations expounding upon various expenses. Either way, it should be detailed and make sense to your reader. The budget should align with the plan you describe in the “Methods and Strategies” portion of your grant proposal.
8. Organization Information
You can launch into this section with a history of [Sender.Company]. Whether it is an organization that has been around for years or is newly formed, your reader should know who you are and what you have done.
Beyond that, your reader is going to want to know who is running the organization to which they are considering giving money. Detailed biographies of the key members of [Sender.Company] – really, anyone with management responsibility – should be included, featuring education and experience. Beyond that, some personal information such as family and hobbies can help the reader relate to your organization’s members.
You can finalize your grant proposal with a signature block to authorize the document and duplicate basic information about you and your company. Here is an example how it can be presented: