Letter of Intent/Letter Proposal/Executive SummaryThe terms Letter of Intent, Letter Proposal, Executive Summary are similar in many ways. The Executive Summary is usually part of a Long Proposal format. It is important to find out what kind of proposal the foundation or agency you are applying to expects to receive. Whenever a funder specifies a length for a proposal follow their directions. The page lengths listed below are general, not absolute guidelines: the idea is to be comprehensive, yet brief. Three types of proposals are described below.
A Letter of Intent is a summary mailed when the funder wishes to see a brief description of the project before making a decision on whether to ask for a longer, more detailed proposal. A letter of intent, usually about two pages, must focus on how your proposed idea fits the priorities of the funder. A letter of intent should include:
- Your mission and related programs
- The need you wish to meet
- The outcome you expect form your project
- General details of how you will conduct the project.
A Letter Proposal is the type most often requested by corporations. It is about three pages long and provides a description of the project plan, your organization and the actual request. A letter proposal often includes a paragraph on each of the following:
- Introduction stating the reason for writing
- Explanation of why this grantor was selected
- Description of needs
- Uniqueness of your idea/project
- Total project cost/amount requested
- Attachments, if allowed
The Long proposal format, including a cover letter and executive summary, is the type most often requested by foundation and government funders. Corporations should not receive this format unless they specifically request it. You have an opportunity in this longer proposal to give many details about the project and its importance to the community. The long proposal format includes the following sections:
- Title page
- Cover letter
- Table of contents
- List of illustrations
- Executive summary
- Statement of the clients problems
- Program design-including technical, management and time/cost
- Bidder's experience and qualifications
In the Long-Proposal format, make sure the funding request appears in both the cover letter and in the Executive summary. Sometimes, the Executive Summary is used as an initial screening process.
The Executive Summary summarizes the main points of the individual sections and should include some or all of the following elements:
- Introduction-statement of problem an your ability to meet the goal
- Identification of the applicant and qualifications to carry out the goal
- Specific purpose and significance of the grant-how and why you developed your solution
- Project management plan-time/cost
- Amount of money requested
- Total project budget
This information is only meant as a guide to assist you in your grant submissions.
This information was taken from FUNDING WATCH vol. 11 no. 6 June 2000 distributed monthly by the Texas Department of Health. (www.dshs.state.tx.us)