Write a Letter of Inquiry
Many funders require a letter of inquiry (LOI) as a first step in the proposal process. After reviewing the applicant’s LOI, the funder will decide whether or not they wish to request a full proposal. Review the specific guidelines to determine whether or not an LOI is requested/required.
An LOI should be brief and concise (2-3 pages), but a thorough presentation of the need or problem you have identified, the proposed solution, and your qualifications for implementing that solution. Similar to a full proposal, an LOI should include an introduction, the amount of funding requested, a statement of need and your proposed solution, a discussion of methodology/activities, a description of the organization and qualifications for undertaking this project, a list of other prospective funders for the project, and contact information for the prospective project director.
The Corporate and Foundation Relations Team can help in drafting an LOI or provide feedback on what you’ve written. If you would like our input, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Prepare a Proposal
A corporation or foundation may require the submission of a proposal as the first step in soliciting support or may invite you to submit a full proposal after responding favorably to your LOI.
Please contact CFR as soon as you have determined that you will be submitting a proposal or making a formal request for funding, especially if it is a Centrally Managed Organization.
Philanthropic support will almost always be administered through University Advancement/MSU Denver Foundation and proposals will need to comply with the approval and submission procedures of University Advancement and the CFR team. However, if there are formal research components to your proposed project/program, the proposal will need to comply with the approval and submission procedures of OSRP. As a steward of the University’s externally-funded research portfolio, OSRP is responsible for ensuring that all research proposals and projects adhere to the University’s academic and research policies and meet its obligations to external sponsors. The CFR Team and OSRP work together to ensure that proposals are coordinated, effective, and compliant.
Before writing the full proposal, carefully review the guidelines and deadlines for the foundation or corporations grant program. Should you have any questions about the requirements, please do not hesitate to contact the CFR Team for assistance.
The proposal will vary in length depending on the funder and will often be accompanied by various institutional documents. Unless a foundation requires you to use a specific format, the proposal will generally include: an executive summary, statement of need, description of the proposed project, organizational background and qualifications, budget, and evaluation.
Part of the proposal will likely be a budget. The budget is an important component of a proposal, as it represents a financial picture of the project. A well-crafted budget can add greatly to the grantmaker’s understanding of your project. Depending on the funder’s guidelines, the budget may be a simple one-page statement of projected expenses, or an entire spreadsheet, including projected support and revenue and a detailed narrative that explains various items of expense or revenue.
Once your proposal is written, we highly recommend that you request feedback from multiple sources, including colleagues and mentors.
If your request is over $15,000 and/or to a centrally managed funder he CFR team will help write the proposal and/or provide feedback on what you’ve written.
Grant Proposal Outline
Grant Proposal Sample
MSU Denver Organization Info for Grants
Budget Form Template
Budget Form Sample