Your proposal cover letter serves as your most cordial handshake when delivering RFP (Request for Proposal) responses and sales proposals.
It may seem like a superficial addition to your well-crafted proposal, but if you deliver a proposal without a cover letter you are missing a valuable opportunity to connect with your client.
Specifically, the proposal cover letter enables you to:
- Succinctly restate your client's goals to demonstrate that you understand their needs.
- Summarize the two-or-three compelling reasons why the client should select your offer. Deliver the repeatable elevator pitch for your proposal!
- Identify the timing of the next steps for follow up and review of the proposal.
- Demonstrate that you care enough about this opportunity to invest the time to write a cover letter!
Cover Letter Best Practices
Remember, your proposal cover letter may be the client’s first experience with your proposal—so make it a great one! From a structural perspective, your cover letter should follow these best practices:
- Deliver a one-page document.This helps ensure the succinctness of your communications. Proposal reviewers should be able to quickly capture the critical compelling information.
- Be client-focused. Use your client’s name more frequently than your organization’s name.
- Include references to the client’s document number, project name and cited initiative. Make it easy for the proposal reviewers to associate your proposal with their specific initiative.
- Use bullets to help reviewers process important information like the two-or-three compelling reasons why they should select your offer.
- Provide information to reach the principal contact within your organization. Make it very easy for the client to connect with the right person.
- Use your organization’s branded letterhead. Strengthen the brand experience for the client. Don’t let sales reps reinvent your brand!
Become a Cover Letter Pro!For more proposal cover letter best practices, please view our recorded SalesEdge Advantage Webinar: Captivating Cover Letters & Compelling Executive Summaries. In this recorded webinar, we help you understand how you can create compelling cover letters and executive summaries that resonate with your client’s proposal reviewers and high-level decision makers.
Technology to be Captivating Every Time
Ensure delivery of a captivating proposal introduction by using a cover letter template that is automated using RFP software or proposal software. At SalesEdge, we help our customers be more productive by customizing cover letters as part of the RFP response or sales proposal process. Ask SalesEdge for a demonstration to see of the benefits of an automated cover letter. Request a demonstration!
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
Click on book covers to get more info and buy them on Amazon. Find more books & articles.
* indicates staff pick
Books and Articles
Check title availability at our libraries and Funding Information Network locations or your local libraries.