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How to apply for funding for trusts & foundations

When you want to apply for funding grants you need to prepare an application and cover letter. To write a fundraising letter on behalf of your organization is an integral part of many fundraising efforts, because this letter represents the organization and this is the first impression that you create while approaching supporters and donors.

Be sure to explain about your organization in detail since this is the most important step in any fund raising attempt because the letter represents 'you' and makes a first impression (good or bad) so it should be as good as you can possibly make it, because you'll only get one chance.

Useful tips for writing a winning fundraising letter

  • With a little thought and time, writing a great fundraising letter will be more successful.
  • Letters are a direct reflection of your group, whether you write it yourself or hire a professional. Remember and be aware of every word and be sure your group is represented in the best possible light.
  • Introduce yourself and organization in good English without errors. Your words tell a lot about how professional and serious you are in this business.
  • A professional letter reaches out to people and communicates well and makes the best first impression.
  • Be clear and short in your writing and stick to the point of what you need to communicate.
  • Communicate what you expect from the recipients of your letter directly, because the recipients will most likely get several just like it. If your letter is too long, they may not even read it.
  • If you aren’t great at writing then have colleagues who are proofread your letter. You may even consider hiring a writer to help with your letters and other written material. This small investment could bring big rewards.
  • Avoid Pleading – Do not start your letter with requesting help.
  • Always make sure the opening of the letter is compelling enough that the reader will keep reading. Preferably consider starting with a true story of a way that your organization has helped someone, or is making a difference in the community.
  • Be specific about the needs of your group.
  • Use this strategy “a picture is worth a thousand words” to include photos if appropriate – remember, this may be your only chance to let potential donors know about your group.
  • The need of the group is better explained with the help of a photo than just the words. Photos will catch the attention of the reader more than just words on a page, photos will put a face to the otherwise anonymous people in the stories that you share with the readers. They will bring life to your story and help in instilling donors with a sense of urgency.

A True Story about a Virginia Non Profit Organization

Here is a true story that describes how important is the representation of your organization...

There was a small non-profit in Virginia whose purpose was to help young homeless women become self-sufficient. The group was intend to get donations of household items and mass transit tokens. A letter was sent to individuals and businesses that beautifully told about the mission of the group.

It ended with a request for donations to help the young women. But the letter didn’t mention the specific needs of the group, and they end up receiving hundreds of bags of clothes. The clothes were oraganised with a local retailer which had agreed to provide new clothing and they ended up having trouble with storage and their small offices were quickly buried in garbage bags full of clothes. The group didn’t want to appear ungrateful by turning away the generous donations from the community, so the bags kept coming, and they started donating the clothes to other charities.

Because, they were not clear in their communication they ended up being a burden on the group rather than a help. Had the group been specific in its communication for assistance, the outcome likely would have been much different. If you don’t let people know what you need, they will have to guess - and probably they will guess wrong.

Recommended Resources

Donate Your Car - Even though a financial donation may not be possible, there is another way that people are ready to help the charities, check out our resources to get some ideas.

Sample Letter Template - Your letter of application should impact the donors to consider giving a grant or donation to you or your group. Use these templates to get that perfect introduction for your fundraising efforts.