The cover letter often is your proposal's first chance to connect your project with the reader's philanthropic mission. It goes on top of a proposal, but it is not the same as an executive summary, which states your proposal's key points.
At minimum, your cover letter should:
- Request your dollar amount and introduce your project in the first sentence
- Describe how your project and/or organization will further the foundation's mission
- Reference your most recent contact with the foundation
- List the proposal's contents
- Give contact details in case the funder wants additional information
- Be signed by your organization's executive director
Sample cover letters
Samples of actual cover letters are usually hard to find because the donor and applicant may be very protective of these documents. Also, they usually are very specific to the project, organization, and funder.
However, our Sample Documents section is a searchable collection of proposals, cover letters, letters of inquiry, and proposal budgets that were actually funded. Each proposal includes a critique by the decision-maker who awarded the grant.
These sample documents come from our book, Grantseeker's Guide to Winning Proposals, which you can buy at our Marketplace or use at our libraries and Funding Information Network locations.
You also might check if anyone in your professional networks would be willing to share sample proposals and cover letters.
See also our related Knowledge Base articles:
- How do I write a grant proposal?
- What should be included in a letter of inquiry? Where can I find samples?
More articles on proposal writing»
Selected resources below may also help.
Books & Articles
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Books and Articles
Check title availability at our libraries and Funding Information Network locations or your local libraries.
Writing a Business Plan Cover Letter (with Sample)
Use this sample business plan cover letter as a template for your formal cover letter.
If the applicant doesn’t know the name of the person who will read the business plan, they should call the bank, lending institution or investor to get the name. Even if the applicant knows the lender, they should still submit a formal business plan with cover letter. If they do not know the lender, they should remember that the lender will judge them by the content and tone of the letter.
The letter should be short, not more than one or, at the most, two pages. It should state right at the beginning that a business plan is attached, and that the applicant is applying for a business loan to start or develop a business. It is important to state clearly the benefits for the bank or investor. They need to believe there will be a good return on their investment, or that the loan will be repaid on time.
Some tips for the style of the letter are:
• Use a formal, conversational tone
• Do not use slang and contractions
• Do not make it too wordy
• Give a list of the main points with an explanation for each
• Use the active voice and short sentences
• Make the business sound interesting, so they want to read the plan
There should also be a brief mention of the financial position without going into too much detail. The letter can mention how much has already been invested in the business, and what profits are projected for the next year or two. This will show the lender or investor that the business is worthwhile.
Here is an example of a business plan cover letter. It should be personalized for each lender or investor to whom it is sent.
Business Plan Cover Letter Sample
Name of Applicant
Address of Applicant
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Investor or lending officer at a Lending Institution
Name of Bank or Lending Institution
Address of Bank etc.
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr/Ms. Name of lender or investor,
I am submitting my business plan to you in the hope of receiving a start-up loan for $50, I learned about your history of funding recycling centers, and my proposal takes the business to the next level. We will be a source for other businesses who want to use recycled products or use waste material to recycle into their own products. According to our research, consumers are looking for businesses that use environmentally friendly products.
I have $10, inheritance from my grandfather that I plan to invest in the business. As stated in the plan, we aim to make $5, profit the first year and reinvest in the business to widen our clientele. We will be the first company in the city to offer this service, so we hope to be well established before competing companies enter the industry.
My brother, Name of Brother, and I are working together to make this business a success. We have worked for the last five years in Name of Company, where they manufacture plastic sheeting for construction companies from recycled plastic.
As stated in the plan, I will collect the waste material and my brother will manage the accounts. We plan to employ office help and waste collection help. We have contacted several recycling centers in the city who agree to sell us their recyclable waste. We have found a warehouse available to rent when we go forward with the business.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. I hope you will review my business plan. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the plan, I can be reached at or at Name@czbaace.wz.sk I would be happy to meet you at any time that is convenient for you.
Signature of Applicant
Name of Applicant Printed
Business Plan Enclosed
By Andre Bradley