Here’s our Top Tips when writing to a charitable trust for a donation:
o Meet the requirements – read any guidelines, make sure you meet the Trust’s criteria and that it will fund your type of project.
o Tailor your letter – if your letter is a blanket application it will fall at the first hurdle. Tailor your letter to show that you understand what the Trust is about and what its looking for.
o Don’t exceed more than 2 pages of A4.
o As an applicant, try to get funder to connect emotionally with your cause.
o Sell yourself! Tell the Trust what’s distinctive about your project that makes it worth funding: what you do, why there is a need, what you need funds for, why your work makes a difference, BUT
o Don’t over-egg your case!
o Use case studies, examples of your work, supportive quotes from users or other agencies.
o Check your work – ask someone to look over your letter to check for spelling mistakes and check content. It’s also useful to ask someone who knows very little about the project to read the letter to see if it’s clear to them what you need funding for. It it’s clear to them it’s likely to be clear to the Trust you’re writing to.
How to structure your letter:
o Introduction – start with a sentence or two saying who you are and how much you want, why you’re writing to them rather than another Trust and include details of your governance status (i.e. whether you’re a registered charity).
o Sell yourself!
> Who you are.
> What you do.
> Why your work is important and how it makes a difference to people’s lives.
> Why there is a need for your project, and
> What you need funding for.
o How much will your project cost? Do your research – don’t provide “guesstimates”. Show that you’ve raised some money yourselves. Give details of any partnership/other funding.
o Conclusion – round your letter off appropriately with a ‘thank you’. Invite the Trust you’re writing to to meet you or visit your project.
o Provide a contact for further information and any enclosures if required (for example, your annual accounts or annual report).
Finally, try to put yourself in the funder’s shoes – imagine you’re a funder assessing your letter of application. What would make you want to award a grant?