Sometimes sponsors will ask you to submit a preliminary letter--a letter of inquiry, interest or intent--before submitting a full proposal. The content of the letter depends on the purpose the letter is intended to serve, as indicated in sponsor guidelines.
A brief letter of inquiry may be the appropriate first contact to request funding guidelines and additional information. Some sponsors will request a letter of interest, in which you briefly describe your organization and your proposed project and explain how your goals align with the sponsor's mission. Sponsors often use letters of interest to screen potential applicants, asking for full proposals only from those applicants who meet their current funding priorities. Large funding agencies often request letters of intent from applicants to help plan appropriate review of full proposals. In this case, the letter of intent lets the sponsor know approximately how many people are planning on submitting a full proposal. The content of the letter depends on sponsor guidelines, but you will usually be asked to include a brief description of your proposed project and may also be asked to include an estimate of how much funding you plan to request.
Read sponsor guidelines to determine the type of preliminary letter needed. If your letter includes a request for a specific dollar amount, a budget breakdown, proposed matching funds, or requires an official University signature, the letter must be routed with a Proposal Routing Form
Learn more: Prepare a Concept Paper