Writing a letter

Many charitable trusts and businesses do not have application forms for funding.

In these cases you will need to write a letter. A circular (a standard letter sent out to many different funders) might get some results, but most funders want to know why your activity would interest them in particular.

For the best results, your letters should be tailored to each funder you are writing to.

What should be in your letter?

Don’t forget the basics: your name, the group’s name, contact details and a date.

A summary of what you want – don’t keep the funder guessing. Explain exactly what you are asking for and why right at the start of your letter. This will help them make sense of the rest of the letter.

Example: We are asking you for £1,000 towards our “Building Bridges” project, which helps young people from different backgrounds solve shared problems through arts activities…

Your group: Explain your aims and objectives, history, previous successes and anything else that you think will help the funder understand and have confidence in your group (see selling points).

The problem you are trying to solve: Describe the needs or issues you have identified, and how you know about them (see proving the need). Relate these issues directly to the funder’s priorities.

Description of the project. Describe the activities you will run or the items you wish to buy. The funder needs to have a really clear idea of what is involved, when things will happen and what the end results will be (see describe your project clearly).

Management. Describe how you will know your activity is working well and having the desired impact. You may also want to describe other aspects of management such as roles and responsibilities, keeping people safe, etc.

A budget. Include a basic budget. You may want to use a separate sheet of paper if it makes it easier to read.

Summing up. Thank the funder for considering your request, and offer to provide further information if needed.

Signature. Don’t forget to sign the letter and also print your name so they know who to contact. Also give your role within the group (e.g. Chairperson).

Bank details. Make sure the funder knows who to pay!

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