This page is a continuation of our section on Important Grant-Related Terms. In this section we cover an extensive list of terms you may encounter as you go about the process of finding grants and writing a winning grant proposal.
Guidelines: Guidelines are procedures and specific guidance set out by Grant Makers, to be followed precisely by Grant Seekers. These are critical! Even when they may appear not to make sense, or to be a waste of time, it is imporant to follow them to the letter.
Sadly,many applications get dismissed before they are even read if they don't follow guidelines, or the Grant Maker may be required to follow specific requests of a donor. Whatever the reason, guidelines are non-negotiable – ignore them at your peril! Sometimes grant makers have so many applications to read through they don't mind finding a reason to avoid reading one more….
Letter of Inquiry: See Query Letter definition below.
Letter of Request: Also referred to as a Proposal Letter, this document actually takes the place of an extensive Proposal application. Typically four pages or less, they are sometimes preferred by private foundations and corporations. Although they are shorter and more concise, they must contain all the elements of a full-blown Grant Proposal.
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Documentation refers to the material you will need in order to provide the information required in a grant application. It typically falls into the areas about your concept, program details, and your projected expenses. It should be gathered together before you start writing your proposal so the information you need is at hand. You may have the information yourself or you may need to seek it from different staff members. If you have trouble getting specific information that you need it is a good idea to go to a well-informed board member and see if they can help you.
Pre-Proposals: These are similar to a Letter of Request (see above) but instead of replacing a full Grant Proposal they are used to screen potential applicants. The intent is to limit the number of complete Grant Proposals submitted for a specific Grant.
Proposals: In the context of grants, proposals are the (often extensive) written applications made by grant seekers to grant makers. Proposals may be printed or submitted online, depending on the specifications of the Grant Maker. They often require supporting documents to be submitted with the proposal, and they must be completed according to very specific guidelines.
Proposal Writing: Covered extensively elsewhere on this site, proposal writing is the process of preparing a proposal, or application, for a grant. The term is also used to cover the preparation of other types of proposals.
Query Letter: Sent prior to completing a proposal, the Query Letter presents a brief outline of an organization's mission and activities and its request for funds. It is sent in order to find out if it will be appropriate (and worth the Grant Seeker's time and energy) to submit a full-fledged proposals.
RFA: This acronym stands for Request for Application. RFA's are often used by government agencies to announce the availability of available grant funding.
RFP: This acronym stands for Request for Proposal and is often used in business and government transactions. Upon issuing a new contract or grant program, an RFP is sent to agencies, businesses or organizations who may be eligible to qualify. It includes detailed specifications and requirements as well as necessary procedures for applying for the award. In the context of grants, RFP's are typically issued by the government; most foundations like to consider proposals that are initiated by Grant Seekers
Writing Grant Proposals: See Proposal Writing above.