Should I follow up with the funder after my organization has submitted a letter of intent?

Should I wait to hear back from the funder after I send a Letter of Intent?

First, a reminder that there is a difference between a Letter of Intent and a Letter of Inquiry.

A letter of intent is simply an expression of your organization's intention of applying for a grant. A letter of inquiry, on the other hand, seeks to determine whether a funder would be interested in considering the program you wish to propose.

Government funders may ask for a Letter of Intent (either mandatory or optional – read carefully!). They generally do this to get an idea of how many proposals to expect so they can begin organizing the review process. Usually, but not always (again, read carefully!), they simply want a notice from your organization that it intends to apply. Do not wait for government agencies to respond to a letter of intent. Unless the application instructions provide different guidance, proceed with developing the application.

Many private funders ask for a Letter of Inquiry, and use it as a preliminary screening tool. Consider this letter to be a mini-proposal. Follow the funder’s instructions exactly, including the information requested in the order in which it’s requested. Absent any guidelines from the funder, use The Grantsmanship Center’s proposal format components and limit the letter to two or three pages. The funder will usually request a full proposal if that’s needed. But unless the funder’s directions instruct otherwise, it’s a good idea to follow up after a few weeks if you haven’t heard anything.