Why I Love Cover Letters

There is much talk about the best way to communicate. Evidently, millennials don’t like phone calls says Inc. Magazine, 3 years ago.

And oldsters think texting can be rude. Each can be baffled about the preferred way to send a message. But an old-fashioned letter still holds both sway and charm for all ages. Back in the day of “mom and pop” philanthropy, a moving letter could be the equivalent of a grant application. Everything foundation funders needed to know could be found in that simple two-page letter. What were we doing? How? What did we need? Why? Hard to imagine how many millions of dollars went to charities based on a compelling ask and a stamp.

Fast forward to today, where everything is evaluated with fancy metrics, and it is all keyed into an impersonal web portal. Sadly, the portal can wring out the emotional appeal, leaving grant writers to shovel data into a 200-600-word text box.

Yet, the cover letter still lives. From Fortune 100 Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to many family and corporate foundations, there is still an opportunity to create a cover message. My advice: spend as much time on this as any other part of a request for funding.

Like a publisher considering a potential book deal, your talents are revealed in a few paragraphs. Believe it or not, the letter can make a BIG difference in your consideration. I will have future blogs breaking down key elements, but for now, if you get the chance to add a cover letter, make it count!

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