How to Write a Winning Proposal Cover Letter (Plus 5 Real Examples)
First impressions are important—especially in the world of proposals.
That’s why writing a good cover letter is an essential step towards winning a bid. In the request for proposal (RFP) process, this single-page letter marks your first opportunity to grab a prospect’s attention and make it clear that your company is uniquely positioned to solve their problem. So if you’re currently using boilerplate copy… Stop. Immediately .
In this blog, you’ll learn how to write custom proposal cover letters that grab a prospect’s attention and increase your chances of winning RFP responses . Plus, five examples of real proposal cover letters from industry pros.
In this article, you’ll learn:
What is a Proposal Cover Letter?
- What to Include in a Proposal Cover Letter
- How to Write a Proposal Cover Letter
- Proposal Cover Letter Examples
Next Steps: Build Quality Proposals Faster
A proposal cover letter is a single-page document used to pitch your business offerings to a potential client. In it, the customer can tell whether you’re genuinely engaged and have done your research—or if you’ve simply copy and pasted generic language from past proposals.
It’s also your first opportunity to convince a client to why they should continue reading your proposal. Considering the average team spends 23 hours writing a single RFP response , it’s critical that your proposal cover letter makes a good impression.
What Should You Include in a Proposal Cover Letter?
Like any good cover letter, your proposal should open with a unique offer or positioning. It’s important to establish early on why your team is best suited to solve a client’s problem.
Strong proposal cover letters include:
- A greeting : Introduce your company and what you do.
- Clear summary: Describe your value propositions at a high-level. Be sure to connect these points to your client’s needs.
- Personalized offer: Explain to the client what you can uniquely provide to solve their problem.
- Relevant references: Help the prospect understand why they should choose you over competitors.
- Visuals: If you have a designer on your team, include visuals that help emphasize the most important content on this page. For example, use callout boxes to make value propositions stand out for busy procurement teams who are skimming the page.
From the offer you present, to the visuals you include, the details in your proposal cover letter should be all about the client. The goal is to show how your company shines before they even get into the details of your proposal. Demonstrate the qualities that you bring to this potential customer by starting out your relationship on the right foot.
Jon Williams, Managing Director of Strategic Proposals , shares the key points you should concisely hit to be successful.
How to Write a Winning Proposal Cover Letter
From reading the RFP thoroughly, to outlining a clear offer, there are six critical steps that seasoned proposal professionals recommend you take to craft a quality cover letter.
Step 1: Read the RFP Cover to Cover
This step seems obvious, but it’s surprising how many teams skip it. You must read the RFP thoroughly, from cover to cover, before beginning your letter.
While reading, take note of any recurring themes from your prospect. Perhaps they focus on quality of design and ease of use. Or maybe they emphasize needing certain functionalities or features—whatever the case, Kori Warriner of KCI Technologies recommends you consider the following questions as you read through the request for proposal:
Questions to consider:
- What is the client’s reason behind the project? (revitalization, aging infrastructure, etc.)
- Where is the funding for the project coming from?
- Does the client have any hot-button issues regarding the project?
- What is the desired end-result?
- What would speak to the client? (retirement-friendly, aesthetics, budget, etc.)
While questions may differ by industry, the idea remains the same. Reading the RFP thoroughly helps you better understand the problems your prospect is facing. Which in turn help you paint a clearer picture of how your company can support them.
“Instead of saying ‘we are pleased’ or other overused statements such as that, I introduce my company, and then switch back to talking about what we can do to help the client reach their goals,” Kori explains.
Step 2: Capture Your Prospect’s Attention Early
Chances are, your prospect is extremely busy. They’re likely to skim your proposal cover letter—which is why you should focus on making it memorable. Use it to create a connection to your prospect and capture their attention early in the proposal.
The first paragraph is the best place to earn your reader’s attention, shares Senior Proposal Consultant Kelly Allen.
“Try to capture the reader in the first paragraph by relating to them in some way. If they are a current client, leverage your relationship. If not, demonstrate a clear understanding of what they need.” Kelly Allen, Senior Proposal Consultant, UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group)
Step 3: Use Clear, Competitive Win Themes
Once you identify their distinct needs, you can formulate which key themes need to be identified in your cover letter. Then, narrow it down to the most persuasive reasons that your prospect should choose your proposal over a competitor. Eileen Kent, President of Custom Keynotes, explains that these are also known as “ win themes ”.
Win themes should be based on what the customer told you they wanted. Position yourself as the one company that can deliver exactly what your prospect is looking for. To do this well, it’s essential that you also understand what your competition is doing.
Here’s how to brush up on what your competitors are offering:
- Review competitors’ websites
- Read competitors’ financial statements
- Look at review websites like G2
- Ask if clients are willing to share competitors’ past RFPs (You never know, unless you ask)
At this stage, you’ll want to focus on how you can stand out from the competition. Eileen also recommends acknowledging any elephants in the room. By that, she means anything that the client may consider your team’s weakness.
She recommends addressing weak points head on to leave a good impression, “The elephant in the room could be your business size. Address it by talking about how you formed a tight team who have exceeded performance expectations, and worked together for years, so they see that as a strength instead,” she explains.
Step 4: Provide a Personalized Offer
Now that you’ve grabbed your prospect’s attention, you need to maintain it. Do this by outlining clear benefits, which speak directly to their pain points in an enticing and clear way.
You should outline how your product will positively impact the buyer and identify what they will get out of your partnership.
Step 5: Use a Strong Closing Statement
Your closing statement should be concise, reiterate your capabilities, and highlight the value you deliver. But don’t forget that it’s also an opportunity to connect with your prospect.
“To build a connection, you have to ignore outdated writing advice and not be afraid to use real language” says Rebecca Baumgartner, Sr. Manager, Proposals, PFS .
“Whoever is reading your cover letter can immediately tell if you’re hiding behind jargon or parroting the language of the RFP because you don’t understand what they need,” she explains.
“But when you write authentically, you have the opportunity to show the client you’ve been listening.”
Step 6: Add the Finishing Touches
When crafting your proposal cover letter, there are a few final checkpoints to leave your prospect with a good impression.
Graphics aren’t necessary for a proposal cover letter, but they can be helpful. For example: highlighting a quote from a customer in a different font, or using callout boxes to emphasize your key value propositions. Use visuals that help to emphasize your main points, not distract from them.
Here’s what Izane Cloete-Hamilton, CPP APMP, of nFold recommends.
- Use a company letterhead
- Address the letter to the individual specified in the RFP
- Sign the cover letter from a senior person at your company
- If the response is from a strategic partnership between two companies, use dual signatures
- Ensure your letter is no longer than one page
Proposal Cover Letters (5 Real Templates)
Now that you know what steps to follow, it’s time to look at some real examples of proposal cover letters. While you don’t want to copy a boilerplate letter, these templates may provide helpful guidance for your next proposal.
To make more time for writing winning proposal cover letters, you’ll need to make some efficiency gains in your overall RFP process. Start by setting your team up with a proposal software that can improve speed and collaboration amongst your team.
Take Aspen Medical for example. Their business development team started using Loopio’s proposal platform in October of 2019. Within a few short months, they were putting together proactive proposals in just 15-30 minutes and seeing a big return on investment (ROI).
In fact, a survey of 165 companies RFP ROI found that those who consistently use proposal software have achieved results of:
- 37% more RFP responses
- 10% shorter sales cycle
- 35% less time spent answering proposal questions
If you’re looking to improve the pace of your next proposal, try Loopio’s software.
51 fascinating rfp statistics on the state of bidding in 2023, how to transform your rfp process: best practices used by alight, best proposal software in 2022: where automation meets community.
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How To Write a Killer Proposal Cover Letter
- May 6, 2020
- Jan 30, 2023
Your proposal cover letter is the most important part of your entire business proposal. This is how to blow your prospects away by writing one that captures all their hopes and dreams.
Not only will we explain the role of a cover letter and give you tips on how to write one, but we’ll also show you a great example of a proposal letter your customers will enjoy.
In the article, you’ll learn how to present your value, and introduce your solution and your company.
The importance of proposal letters
In general, the three pieces of your proposal that will be read and examined properly are:
- Cover letter / Introduction / Executive Summary
This isn’t a guess. Hundreds of thousands of proposals have been sent using our software Better Proposals and we’re able to pull together statistics from that. We’ve learned that most of the time people spend on a proposal is in those three areas.
This is the meat of your proposals and the content your customer is most interested in. Make their agreement process easy by spending some extra time on these sections.
Of course, when using Better Proposals, the extra time isn’t a lot since we speed up your proposal process and give you more time to spend on the creative process.
That said, the most important thing to include in your proposal letter is that you understand the reader’s needs and long-term goals.
This extends beyond simply telling them that they want a quote on a [fill in the blank].
In your meeting with the prospect, you should be digging deep into why they really want it. What are the underlying reasons behind it?
I’ve spoken about this in this video detailing why most people write their introduction or cover letter wrong.
Try to understand the benefits they expect you to bring them, their budget and whether they have some examples for the solution they want you to provide.
You should know all of this before you even start writing your proposed solution.
Let’s look at an example
Your client might say “we need a new website because ours is outdated”. Okay, but what will an up-to-date one do? “Bring us more leads”. Okay, so what you really want is more leads.
You see? And you can go far deeper.
“What’s wrong with the number of leads you’re getting at the moment?” “Why is that even a problem?”
What you might find is that they’re scared their new competition across the road is going to put them out of business in a year if they don’t act fast. Now you have the information you need.
At this point, your proposal letter is about addressing the REAL fears, situations and options rather than at just a surface level.
Clients love to hear their own words in your proposal letter. It gives them confidence in their choice and shows them that you listened.
Now, the rest of your proposal is going to contain details about your plan, your pricing, why you’re different and your case studies. That’s what all the best proposal examples include.
If your proposal letter addresses their real issues then you can guarantee that it’s going to be read cover to cover.
What is a cover letter?
In the world of business proposals, a cover letter is the initial part of your proposal where you explain that you know the client’s situation and you know exactly how to solve their problem.
The best proposal letters I’ve seen weren’t written with amazing language. What made them stand out is that the person writing them listened carefully to the client before sitting down and writing the proposal letter.
They highlight how their process will help the client achieve their long-term goals.
My advice is to use simple language all through your document. Avoid technical jargon and make sure that the client understands everything that is being said.
After all, they will have less technical knowledge than you and also, people tend to mistrust things they can’t understand.
Why do you need a cover letter?
Simply put, the client reading the business proposal needs to get engaged to read the whole thing before signing.
You could just give them a detailed specification right from the bat, but that will make the client too focused on numbers and specific results.
The proposal letter shows them that you’re listening and it gets them “hooked” to start reading.
After they’re done with the cover letter, they can move on to the more technical bits in the detailed specification.
Make sure to keep your proposal letter short, not longer than one page. You should keep your client in mind when you write a proposal letter. Don’t expect them to give you too much of their time.
The connection between a cover letter and a business proposal?
In general, the cover letter is the part that comes before the actual business proposal. Sometimes, this is called a cover letter but we prefer calling it the introduction.
In other words, the cover letter is the first and perhaps the most important element of a business proposal.
Every good business proposal needs to have an introduction. We talk about introductions quite often in our articles, but don’t get confused – it’s the same thing as a cover letter.
The elements of a business cover letter
There are several things that every great cover letter needs. Here are a few to get you started:
- You need to talk about the client – not yourself. Don’t brag about your projects, awards, portfolio, etc.
- Talk “back” at the client – use their own words and expressions from your meetings and discovery calls
- Don’t get too technical – leave that for the next section
- Keep it short and to the point – the aim is to get clients to read through to the end and sign.
When addressing the problem at hand, don’t place the blame on your potential client. They know that there is an issue that needs fixing and that’s why they asked you for a business proposal.
You’re here to fix the issue, not dwell on it. Keep your introduction positive and set your client up for a good reading experience.
The cover letter structure
While the content of your proposal will depend on the offer and your industry, the proposal letter should always follow this guide.
This is the most important part of your proposal. I personally prefer to hit them on the head with a sledgehammer and get right to the point.
Shock them into reading on and learning more. Here’s an example using a website design quote:
“You’re busy so I’ll get to the point. The purpose of your new website is to generate enough leads to give your sales team such an easy job they crush your competition without even trying. I’m aware that sounds obnoxious but the rest of this document will explain where that confidence comes from. The website is a means to an end. Anyone can make you a new website but what you’re after isn’t just a pretty picture. You need results and that’s what we do. We’re a results based company and ultimately so are you.”
You’re saying something strange. You’re suggesting that the website isn’t important – that’s supposed to be your core skill (in this example), but what happens when you do this is you come across like you’re telling them something they shouldn’t know.
Like it’s a secret.
What happens when someone tells you a secret? You trust them.
Vibe of the letter
The vibe should be direct and void of any indecision. Nothing breaks trust faster than indecision.
This is why it’s so vital that you get the information you need beforehand so you’re not writing with ‘maybes’, ‘sometimes’ and ‘ifs’ in your voice.
Be sure about what you’re saying.
You are the expert. Write like one.
Another mistake that people often make is focusing too much on themselves in the proposal letter. Your client doesn’t care about your accolades and what inspired you to go into your line of work.
Think about it like this. If you reach out to a cleaning agency, you would want to receive a proposal that outlines their services and prices.
You’re not looking forward to reading a proposal letter that explains how the owner got their passion for cleaning.
The clients want to read about how you’ll help them reach their goals and what your next steps are.
When you’re closing your proposal’s cover letter , always invite them to read the rest of the proposal.
Without fear of it sounding generic, I always like to see people pointing their readers in the way of the case study they’ve included. It proves that you are the perfect company for the job .
It’s a nice lead-on.
Proposal letter template
Now that you know exactly what to write in your executive summary, let’s see it in action in this proposal letter example.
When you use Better Proposals to create and send business proposals, you severely speed up the whole process.
Since all of our documents are web-based, they get sent as secure links to your clients. Once they open the business proposal, they get treated to a beautifully designed cover page.
It helps you give a good first impression.
After the cover page, your client will open the introduction page. If you received a formal request for proposal (RFP) , you’ll know exactly who to address.
Once you do that, highlight your reason for sending the proposal – i.e. the problem at hand and your solution for it.
As you can see in our proposal letter template, you should keep it brief and get straight to your points.
Since you won them over with a great first paragraph, you can continue your proposal introduction by addressing the process you plan on using.
After you write a proposal letter once, you’ll see how easy it can be when utilizing our software and educational materials. You can find the right proposal letter template and customize it to your needs.
Cover letters set the tone for the rest of your business proposal, so make sure you do a good job and don’t ruin your chances of gaining a new opportunity to work.
Common proposal introduction mistakes
The elements that affect your executive summary are:
- your industry
- whether a client issued a formal request for a proposal
- does your proposal include a contract
Your industry will dictate the tone of the proposal, as well as specific details in your executive summary. If you’re selling software, you need to explain how you’ll research the market and find ut the targeted audience.
Don’t expect the prospect to know every intricate thing about your industry. You need to find the right balance for the amount of information you’ll share.
If the person you’re sending the proposal to didn’t request it, you need to address the reason for contacting them straight from the beginning. It would be a good idea to address the value, cost and timescales.
You could also sign your proposal letter in order to make it more personal.
When you’re using proposal software, you don’t want the client to print out your document. Because you want them to read the proposal online and utilize the digital signature option in order to speed up the sales process.
If you want to make sure your recipient is reading your proposal on a screen, keep it in mind when creating the proposal letter. It should be easy to get through, meaning you should break up your text with visuals.
Furthermore, printing can affect the conversion rate of your proposal. Our research shows that printing decreases your conversion chances by 88%.
What to include in the rest of the proposal?
Once you write a great introduction, you need to focus on the rest of your business proposal.
If you want to win clients’ hearts and create a winning proposal, we suggest focusing on benefits, showing the value of your products and services and knowing the clients’ budget.
We suggest you start by reading our guide on proposal writing. It will give you great insight into how to win new business.
Utilize our ideas in order to create professional-looking proposals that will help you win the job and achieve success.
Our guide includes proposal details that will help you set yourself apart from the competition and give you ideas on bettering your business proposals. The more professional your sales documents are, the easier you’ll sell your solution.
Make sure to use proposal AI, which will give you actionable tips on how to improve your business proposal. It works by comparing your documents to other successfully sent proposals from our platform.
Writing a great proposal letter is one of the most important skills that you can have as a salesperson or business owner.
If you can do this effectively then you simply increase your sales and win better jobs, more often and at a higher price point. The more professional your business proposal is, the better your chances of winning over a client’s heart are.
There are some great examples in the Example Proposal Templates section of our site. I encourage you to take a look and crib from them what you like.
If you like what you see, sign up for a free trial and streamline your sales process.
Start sending high conversion proposals today
Explore more content, suggested reading.
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Candid learning offers information and resources that are specifically designed to meet the needs of grantseekers..
Candid Learning > Resources > Knowledge base
How do I write a proposal cover letter?
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
Dive in to this topic with our Online Proposal Writing Course Learn how to craft a complete and competitive proposal in 15 lessons, including Tie It Up With a Bow: Packaging the Proposal .
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.
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.
Have a question about this topic? Ask us!
Candid's Online Librarian service will answer your questions within two business days.
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Explore resources curated by our staff for this topic:, staff-recommended websites, how to write a cover letter for your proposal.
Lists attributes and tips to write good cover letters. Sample cover letter is on Page 2.
Sample Cover Letter,Proposal,Letter Proposal
Each section includes a brief description of its purpose and what to include.
Sample Cover Letters & Proposals
Nonprofit Guides has a sample proposal cover letter, letter of inquiry, proposal, budget, and other items that may be of use to grantseekers.
Sample Grant-Proposal Cover Letter
Sample cover letter that introduces a grant proposal.
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How to write a proposal cover letter [with example]
Why you need the ultimate library for your rfp responses.
Like the devilishly tempting Hostess Ding Dongs treat, a proposal cover letter has to be short, sweet, and dense. Unlike that aforementioned hockey puck of delectability, proposal cover letters cannot be mass-produced. To write a proposal cover letter with nary a wasted word, you first need to understand its strategic significance in the overall proposal.
I’ve spent more than 17 years on proposals and have written hundreds of proposal cover letters. When I started, we printed out proposals and created huge binders to share with reviewers. Reviewers would open the binders to see the proposal cover letter, then an RFP executive summary , and then dig into the proposal itself. Binders are part of a bygone era; there’s been a big digital shift since I started.
Requests for paperless submissions and the growing popularity of online portals has altered the strategic significance of the proposal cover letter. It’s gone from a “must-have” element, to a “nice-to-have” one. My background is predominantly healthcare and insurance. Anecdotally, maybe only 30% of requests for proposals (RFPs) in healthcare and insurance request executive summaries while most volunteer that a cover letter is optional. If they give you an option, take it.
Some online portals don’t even give you an opportunity to include extra documents like cover letters. In such cases, you now have to include the cover letter as part of your proposal PDF. At the same time, RFPs are more complex than ever, requiring more details in submitted proposals. Issuers expect you to have your content in order, and a lot of it.
Speaking of issuers and what they’re looking for in proposal cover letters: They don’t need information that they can find on your website, that they can Google, or that sounds canned. They want to make sure you’ve reviewed the RFP requirements, and it’s absolutely essential to hit them with that up front, in your proposal cover letter. Especially if your solution meets all of the issuer’s requirements. Emphasize that fact simply and directly.
What is a proposal cover letter?
The proposal cover letter is meant to frame up your RFP proposal. It’s not a rehashing of the proposal or executive summary . It’s a vehicle to thank the issuer for the opportunity to respond, to say, “We’ve seen your business requirements and composed this proposal because we think we’re the best partner for you.” Think of it as the bow on your RFP proposal package.
Whether paper, PDF, or stone tablet, one thing that hasn’t changed about the proposal cover letter is that it’s your first opportunity to declare the value propositions that differentiate yours from competitive proposals. These value props will be the threads that weave through your proposal, from cover letter, to executive summary, to answers to questions.
As far as length, I aim for a page and a half when I write proposal cover letters. Try to keep it under two. Go longer only if a template or specific framework for the cover letter is provided by the issuer, which is sometimes the case in government RFPs.
Why a good proposal cover letter matters
RFP reviewers will be looking for deviations in responses. Deviations among responders as well as deviations from their (the issuers) requirements.
When you can write a cover letter and state, “After reviewing the RFP, we are confident that our solution meets all requirements and detail that fact in our proposal,” you make a compelling argument for reviewers to concentrate on how your proposal illustrates how you solve problems. They’ll notice cover letters that do not mention something that direct, and will review those proposals to look for where the solutions fall short.
When should you write the proposal cover letter?
It’s page one so it should be written first, right? Not necessarily. I’m a proponent of writing the executive summary first, the cover letter second, and then building the proposal. Certainly review the RFP first so you can determine what it’s asking for. But don’t just jump into a response from there. Take the time to establish the value props that will make it a cohesive proposal.
Writing the executive summary first helps you formulate your argument and determine which content you’ll need for the proposal. Once you know what you need to be persuasive and how you can solve the issuer’s problem, then you can develop the three-to-five value props (I try to boil it down to three solid, unique value props) that you can define in the proposal cover letter.
Who signs the proposal cover letter?
Notice I didn’t title this section, “Who writes the proposal cover letter?” The person who writes it and the person who signs it may not be one and the same.
If your proposal team is fortunate enough to have a dedicated writer, then have them write the letter based on input from the frontline sales rep. Whoever writes the letter must be fully informed of response strategy and have intimate knowledge of the proposal and executive summary. Strategy, voice, and style need to be consistent across all documents (cover letter, executive summary, and proposal).
Who signs it depends on a variety of factors. In most cases, the frontline sales rep will sign the proposal cover letter. They have the relationship, own the strategy, and likely conducted the discovery that informed the proposal. However, it’s not uncommon for an executive sponsor such as a VP of sales to sign. The thinking being that executive reviewers may appreciate seeing a proposal that’s been vetted by a fellow executive.
There are also those cases when the executive of executives, the CEO, signs the letter. There are two common scenarios for this play. One, the RFP may be large enough to represent a significant percentage of a responder’s annual revenue. Two, the responding organization is concerned with appearing relatively small, and in an effort to improve its stature, seals the proposal with a CEO’s signature.
There’s definitely some gamesmanship at play here. Even so, the name on the letter will never overshadow the content of the proposal.
7 steps to write a proposal cover letter
The compact nature of the proposal cover letter makes it difficult to fit everything in one or two pages. Good writers are valuable assets in these instances. Every proposal cover letter should contain the following sections:
- Thank the issuer (and broker, where applicable) for the opportunity.
- Recite your understanding of the opportunity to validate that you reviewed the RFP requirements.
- List your abilities to meet requirements. If you can meet all of them, lead with that fact.
- Describe your value propositions. You’re trying to portray that, “This is what we bring to the table, and that’s why we’re the best choice.”
- Provide a high-level future snapshot of what business will look like after your solution is chosen.
- Conclude with a persuasive delivery of your understanding of next steps: “We look forward to the opportunity to discuss our proposal further.” Show that you’re able and willing to move forward in the sales lifecycle.
- Sign it from the frontline sales representative or executive sponsor. This should not look like a form letter from the organization as a whole.
3 common mistakes to avoid
Beyond the mistakes of not including a proposal cover letter at all or writing one that’s too long, proofread your next letter for the following mistakes before sending it.
- Avoid repeating anything from the executive summary or proposal. Those documents need to live on their own, just like the proposal cover letter.
- Don’t waste space with your resume. Something like this… RFPIO’s growing list of 600+ clients including 40+ Fortune 500 organizations continue to take advantage of our one-of-a-kind Unlimited User licensing model, expanding their usage on the platform to scale organizational success. With RFPIO as their team’s support system, every day they break down silos by facilitating collaboration and efficiency in their RFx response process ….is boilerplate that can appear elsewhere in the proposal or not at all, given that it’s likely available to the issuer on your corporate website.
- If a broker is involved, thank them, too. The proposal cover letter is also an opportunity to directly address the issuer. This can be particularly valuable when a broker is involved. Some issuers rely on RFP brokers to sift through responses to make sure only the best possible solutions get serious consideration. Ignore these brokers at your peril. While the response and executive summary will address the issuer and the problem at hand, the cover letter is where you can give a nod to the broker. Acknowledging their involvement in the process and thanking them for the opportunity as well will at the very least alert all reviewers that you paid close attention to the RFP requirements.
- Don’t guess. Make sure you or someone on your team does the legwork and discovery to inform your response strategy. The more you have to guess, the longer the letter will take to write.
Proposal cover letter example
Feel free to use the proposal cover letter example below as a template for your next letter. One of the many advantages of proposal software such as RFPIO is the automation of the cover letter process. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to write it, but RFP software helps:
- Access and write in the template within the platform (no need to toggle back and forth between a word processor and whatever application you’re using to build your proposal)
- Include identical brand elements as the proposal and executive summary
- Add the cover letter to the front of the proposal and/or executive summary when you output it for submission
When you use the following example, you’ll need to swap out the RFPIO-centric items with your own company and solution information as well as the custom value props for that specific proposal. The three value props highlighted in the example are Salesforce integration, data security, and customer support. For your letter, these will be specific to your solution and the problem stated in the RFP.
Hi [Issuer(s) first name(s)],
Thank you for considering RFPIO as your potential vendor for RFP automation software. We are cognizant of the effort it takes to make a selection like this, so we very much appreciate the opportunity. First and foremost, RFPIO meets all of the requirements detailed in your RFP. That’s illustrated in greater detail in this proposal. In the meantime, the following capabilities make us confident that RFPIO is the most qualified company and solution for [issuing company name’s] [RFP title].
- Helping businesses improve and scale their RFP response process for greater efficiency. The time and resource savings reported to us from our clients has allowed them to participate in more proposals and provide high-quality responses that create additional revenue opportunities.
- Automating the import and export functions, centralizing content for RFPs, and facilitating collaboration among key stakeholders.
- Managing knowledge and content through our AI-enabled Content Library .
- Giving clear visibility into the entire RFP process through reports and dashboards—including project status and progress, and analytics for actionable insights.
We know that it’s important for [issuing company name] to find a solution with a strong integration with Salesforce. This proposal details RFPIO’s integration with Salesforce , and how it will work for you. In addition to that, RFPIO’s open API allows for integrations with many other technologies for cloud-storage, collaboration, and other desired platforms.
We also take your data security concerns highlighted in the RFP very seriously. You can be assured that your data will be safe and accessible. We work with a variety of enterprise customers and understand the necessary level of security that is required. From the beginning, we made it a priority to build security right into RFPIO’s technology, which we continue to maintain. We are SOC 2 and ISO27001 certified, while continuing to pursue other best-in-class certifications to ensure security.
Regarding your requirement for ongoing support following implementation: When it comes to customer support, our technical and account managers are high performers. We have an expert group of 110 nimble programmers and developers who are always ready to provide quick technical fixes (that you can request right within the solution). Our reliable and attentive account team is ready to fully support [company name] should we move forward as your vendor.
Upon deploying RFPIO, it’s intuitive user experience is simple to get used to. You’ll also get free access to RFPIO University for all your training needs, now and in the future. Getting started is as simple as loading that first project. The whole team will be collaborating from there. As your Content Library grows, machine learning will provide more and more automation opportunities. It won’t be long before you see a drastic uptick in proposal quality and number of proposals submitted.
If you’re interested in comparing our solution to other comparable tools, we recommend that you visit software review platform G2 Crowd’s top RFP Solutions grid . This information is based on user satisfaction and places RFPIO at the top in all categories.
We look forward to the opportunity to discuss our proposal further. We appreciate your consideration, and wish you luck on your selection.
Thanks, [Signee’s name] [Signee’s title]
You should have it “cover”-ed from here
If you’ve done your research and client discovery, and you know the value props specific to the RFP that you’ve already reviewed, then letter writing will go fast. The better you know the client and people involved, the easier it is going to be for you to tailor the proposal cover letter, the executive summary, and, most importantly, the RFP proposal.
To learn more about how RFPIO can help you write better proposal cover letters, schedule a demo today!
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- Company & Events
- Customer Stories
RFP 101: Request for proposal basics
If you’re new to the proposal or bid process, then you’ll need the request for proposal (RFP) basics. Even though, like all business processes, the request for proposal process has changed over the years, many of the basics have held true. Thi
Benchmarks and future-proofing for RFP teams
How is technology aiding the request for proposal (RFP) response process? To find out, we surveyed members of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) to gain insight into current and future trends in proposal management processes
Why that sales proposal matters more than you think
If you’re deep into a sales process and seeking feedback from a prospect, any sentence with the word “unfortunately” in it generally doesn’t bode well. “Unfortunately, you weren’t selected.” Or, just as bad: “You were our number one c
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4 Tips To Creating a Proposal Cover Letter (& Templates)
Once you've put together a proposal , it's common to think, ‘Now what?'. We're here to answer what's the best cover letter you can send with your proposal to close a deal.
Within a proposal cover letter, there are a few different components that you need to consider.
- A cover letter is more casual than an executive summary
- It's structured like a letter and has a greeting and sign off
- Not focused on strategy, but is more conversation
- Should focus on the unique strengths that you can bring to a project
In this blog, we'll be covering how a proposal's cover letter differs from a job application letter, how it's structured, and the tips that'll help you close deals.
But first, let's go over what one is and why it's so important in getting your business proposal read.
What is a cover letter?
Cover letters help you grab the potential client's attention quickly. It's a short, single-page document that includes an overview of the most critical details of your proposal. If you haven't yet written the proposal, we have a sample business proposal you can read here with some templates to help you get started.
The goal of a great cover letter is to convince the client to read the rest of your proposal, so you'll want to make the writing as interesting as possible. You can mention any critical details you think will help you land the job, including your past results, skills, and education. You should also cover the key aspects of the project you're pitching. Think of it as a stripped-down version of an executive summary.
Why is a cover letter important?
Clients can be very busy. A cover letter helps clients decide whether they're interested in reading the entire proposal. This means that having a strong cover letter is just as important as the business proposal itself.
Take this as an opportunity to give clients a great first impression. A business proposal tends to be more factual, while a cover letter has the benefit of being more personal. By sparking an emotional connection early on, you'll have a much higher chance of them reading the whole pitch.
A good proposal can also help you get your foot in the door of larger companies, even if you don't have a connection to anyone working there. Just warm up a cold pitch by attaching a cover letter to an unsolicited business proposal.
This is especially important at the beginning of your career, since you may not have the funds to reach clients through traditional marketing. Cover letters can be a powerful way to land clients without having to spend any money on new client acquisition costs.
We have some tips that'll make this process easier, but first, it's important to talk about the traditional structure of a cover letter.
How to write a proposal cover letter
Let's briefly walk through the structure, since the information you'll include will be slightly different from a traditional job application cover letter.
A proposal letter looks like this:
It may seem pretty standard, but the information in a business proposal cover letter will be a bit different from other cover letters. Here's a closer look at each paragraph:
Start off by adding your name, address, phone number, and email to the header. Feel free to also include the potential client's contact information. Although it's not as important now with email as it used to be in the days of snail mail.
Pro tip: Drop a link to your LinkedIn profile in the heading too. This lets them get a better feel for who you are and can even provide them with additional information that you didn't have room to include in your cover letter.
It might be tempting to breeze through the introduction to get to the "meat" of the letter, but the introduction is actually one of the most important parts. You need to capture their attention right away, so come up with an engaging way to introduce yourself and what your business does. It's one of the few spots of a cover letter where you can inject your personality into the writing, so make it count!
This is where you'll address the company's needs and how you plan to help them. Unlike a traditional job application, a business proposal's cover letter has the intention of selling a service or product. Be sure that the writing is sharp and highly persuasive. You want to generate enough excitement that they move on to your executive summary and, ultimately, read the rest of the proposal.
You can include any core strengths and past results that have helped previous clients. However, keep this section concise by sticking to just a few of the most important details that directly apply to the client. End this section by covering how you plan to achieve the goal you're pitching. Think of this as more of an "overview" of your plan. They'll get more details when they read the rest of the proposal.
Like the introduction, it's typical to see cover letters that spend a lot more time on the body paragraphs than the closing paragraph. But leaving readers on a strong final note is just as important as making a great first impression. It's recommended that you wrap the cover letter up by mentioning a strong benefit your project will bring to the company.
The last critical piece of information you need to include is the call to action. What do you need them to do next? In this case, the next action you'll want them to take is to read the business proposal. Provide some encouraging words to move the client in that direction.
4 Tips for creating a cover letter
Now that you have the structure down, it's time to start writing it! We have some tips to elevate a cover letter so you can start closing deals.
Step 1: Kicking off the cover letter
A great cover letter starts by showing off your personality and the type of communication they can expect if they're going to work with you. Lean into your intuition and use your voice!
There's no reason to be super corporate here. Instead, show that you're a person who can be professional, but still enjoys the work you do.
Your approach will be a bit different depending on if the business proposal is solicited or unsolicited:
- Solicited proposal: If a client asked you to send a proposal, you can start by saying "As per our discussion..." before addressing their problem and your proposed solution.
- Unsolicited proposal: The first sentence is crucial. Grab their attention immediately with an engaging statistic related to their problem and how you can help them.
It's important to hook your reader right up front! That means understanding who your audience is and the industry you represent will be critical to nailing a cover letter. For instance, if you're pitching a more traditional company, like one in finance, consider how they may expect communications as opposed to a start-up.
Typically you can get a feel of how a company communicates by viewing their website, content, and related information to get a feel for their tone and voice.
Find a balance between being true to your voice and communicating in a way that's comfortable to the prospective team.
Here are a few examples of the beginning of a cover letter.
Hi Prospective Client,
Thanks for taking the time to review my proposal! I'm really excited about the ways we can work together to support [company].
Hello Mr./Mrs. prospective client,
I'm pleased to present you with the request for proposal [proposal title]. In this proposal, you'll find goals and objectives, scope of work, pricing, [and any additional information you found relevant.
You can see the difference between these two tones. Consider when would be appropriate to use either.
Step 2: Highlight what problem you'll help the company overcome
Within any proposal, you want to ensure that your client knows that you understand the problem that they're trying to solve. Include their goals and objectives of why you're entering this engagement.
Share the company's pain point in a way that's easy to digest. Leave this section to focus on the company's problem. Later, you can mention the solutions.
Here's a snippet of a type of pain point a client may be facing:
Right now you're creating a lot of excellent content and it's frustrating when it's not leading to the increase in traffic and conversions you're hoping for.
Step 3: Share how you'll work towards their goal
The next section of the cover letter will outline how you plan to approach their challenge. Now, remember, this isn't where you get into the nitty-gritty. This is just a high-level overview of your plan of attack. Specific details will be broken out in your proposal.
Here's an example of a short and efficient way of accomplishing this step.
Based on the data I've seen, I'm confident that we can make some major traction in increasing your organic traffic with your target audience with a few well-implemented strategies that I've outlined in the attached proposal.
Step 4: End your cover letter with next steps
Once you've worked through the steps of a cover letter, the last piece that you include is the next steps. Sometimes your client will already have shared their process and timelines associated, but if they haven't this is a great opportunity to take initiative and show them that you're able to make their lives easier by outlining what's needed to move forward.
Below's an example of some ideal next steps.
Once you've had a chance to review the proposal, please feel free to follow up with any questions. I'll be following up in a week to check in on the status and see if there are any additional ways to support your team.
If you decide to move forward, we can start the engagement within a week of signing the contract.
Proposal cover letter samples
Below we've compiled a couple of different examples and templates of what you can use to create a template for your client today.
Proposal cover letter sample #1
We'll kick things off by sharing full versions of the snippets we included above. This is for a proposal for SEO and content strategy to support clients looking to increase organic traffic.
Right now you're creating a lot of excellent content and it's frustrating that it's not leading to the increase of traffic and conversions you're hoping for.
Based on the data I've seen, I'm confident that we can make some major traction in increasing your organic traffic with your target audience by implementing a few strategies that I've outlined in the attached proposal.
Proposal cover letter sample #2
In this sample, your cover letter is approached with a more formal tone and is for a client who is looking for support in their product strategy.
Hello Ms. Thompson,
I'm pleased to present you the request for Project Strategy Proposal. In this document, you'll find outlined the goals and objectives, the scope of work, pricing, and some case studies of relevant projects I've worked on.
I know that Quest Products has been struggling with converting their traffic to their Saas platform and hitting their retention goals.
After some analysis, you'll find within the proposal a scope that entails audience research, user testing, and analyzing data analytics that will all work towards the goal of boosting conversion rates and diagnosing any challenges.
Once you've had the chance to review, please let me know if you have any initial questions or concerns. I'm happy to provide any additional information that would be useful.
I'll follow up with you next week to check in and outline the next steps.
You'll see that within each example we include four key components: intro, highlighting the problem, sharing your proposed solution, and providing the next steps.
Create a professional proposal in minutes with Indy’s Proposals tool. Use your logo and branding, add terms, and include portfolio items.
Need a proposal for a potential client?
A cover letter gives you the chance to point out a problem with a company and propose yourself as the perfect solution. And though it can be time-consuming, the results that a winning cover letter can bring to your business are well worth it in the end.
But if you're looking for a faster way to write business proposals, you can speed up the process by using proposal software . Just choose the template you need, fill in your details, adjust the content to your liking, add your branding, and you can be finished in minutes. As you move forward with creating a cover letter, keep in mind the tips we've outlined above and you'll be sure to succeed!
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Proposal Cover Letter
By Alta Alonzi
A proposal cover letter is a one-page message to a potential donor quickly introduces your organization and proposal . Including a cover letter with a proposal is usually optional, but can add a nice personal touch and brings context to the proposal.
Cover letters are separate from the proposal, and so is distinct from the cover page and executive summary . A cover letter is an accompanying letter that serves as the introduction to your full proposal. The cover letter looks similar to a letter of inquiry , but a LoI is sent independently of a proposal while the cover letter is always paired with a proposal.
The cover letter format may change depending on the way the proposal is submitted. If the proposal is submitted physically by mail or in person, the cover letter should be placed on top of the printed proposal, but should not be stapled or bound to the proposal. If the proposal is submitted by email, the cover letter should be included as the body of the email, not as an attachment. All the typical rules for contacting a donor also applies to cover letters.
Purpose of a Cover Letter
Often a cover letter is the first contact with a prospective donor. The basic purpose of a cover letter is to convince the donor to read your proposal. The cover letter is often the basis for either consideration or rejection of a proposal. The cover letter is to introduce you and your project to the donor and draw their attention to your proposal. A cover letter can also provide administrative details useful to donors, such as which fund or portfolio the proposal should be considered under, who should review the proposal, etc. A cover letter should also be used to try and establish a connection with the donor – either by mentioning past grants and meetings, or just by proving you have researched them donor and taken their priorities into consideration for this proposal.
If you are submitting an unsolicited application , it is highly recommended to include a very good cover letter.
A well-written letter can entice the donor to read your proposal with greater interest and will improve your chances of winning the grant.
What Content to Include in Your Cover Letter
A cover letter typically contains 3 – 4 paragraphs, no longer than one page, in letter format.
Paragraph 1 should contain general overview information:
- Project title
- Grant request amount
- Relevant fund/portfolio
Paragraph 2 should contain, if applicable, any relationship with the donor:
- Past grants received
- Past conferences or networking sessions attended together
- Other relationships
- If there is no relationship yet, then explain why the donor should be interested in the project based on their stated priorities .
Paragraph 3 should summarize the impact of the project:
- Project location
- Number of beneficiaries
Paragraph 4 should conclude with a request to contact:
- Full name of contact person (if project contact is different from the letter’s signer)
- Email of the contact person
- Phone number of a contact person
- Thank you to a donor for their time
Typically, it should be the NGO’s executive director who signs off the letter. If the letter is printed or sent as a document, remember to include the executive director’s signature and printed name and title.
To summarize, the proposal cover letter should:
- a brief explanation of the project and organization
- refer to past contact and funding (if any)
- indicate the size of the project and the budget
- state why you are approaching this donor
- describe the contents of the attached full proposal
- provide contact information
Here is a sample proposal cover letter as well as a cover letter template to download for your own use.
About the author
Alta Alonzi is a writer and researcher focusing on international development funding and grassroots NGOs. She works with the fundraising consulting company Philantropia conducting research for clients ranging from small NGOs to UN organizations. She also works closely with FundsforNGOs running training webinars, contributing resource guides, and updating the Premium donor database.
Dear friends As You know Somalia When the Destroyed Central Government up to moment Our People are Poor every site of Life so we are requesting You this Proposal Best regards Mr Yakub
Yakub Ali – are you with me?
Dear author Am glad for your guidance could kindly send me a template of the cover letter for proposal to my email Thanks
Need the cover letter template sent to my email
Dear Abel you can easily download it from the article here .
Dear Priti Ji, i am interested to learn about how to write a good proposal. I regularly explore to this web page and resources to know more about… could you suggest if any training is provided by the organization?
Dear Rajesh ji: The writing of a winning proposal workshop scheduled for 6-7 March is full. But we do have the next training on the pipeline. Do subscribe and stay updated.
Dear Writer, Can you send me a template of concept note for NGO? Also, can I know the procedures of purchasing some NGOs’ materials?
Check out our list of samples here .
Wahoo this is amazing to discover that covered letter Have been sending proposal with very minimal information Thank you for kind elaboration
Thisbis fantastiv guidance. I have always wanted to have that cover letter include import ant facts but always feels something is missing somewhere. Thanks very much indeed
Thank you Alta. This information benefits us a lot in Africa
thanks for this greatful information can you send me the sample letter to my email
Dear Zukile: You can find a sample cover letter here
Dear Author, I am indeed overwhelmed with joy for the professional guidance you have exhibited to facilitate those who would be applying for grants.
You have made an eye opener to those who have not been well conversant of writing a cover letter.
Dear Author, This is fantastic and well educating atricle that really guide us that intending to apply for the grants.
Hope this is the tools that will be used to evaluate the grants applications.
Best regards, Philip Salifu Conteh.
Hello Sir/Madam, I,m indeed happy with your guidance on proposal related matters and cover letter. it will be so appreciated if your esteem could send me the concept note tamplate in my inbox and thanks .Joseph Ungom
Dear Joseph: I am glad that the article is helpful to you. You can download the sample concept note here .
The government of South Sudan has made significant strides in promoting gender equity and equality but we still have gender issues that affect their full participation in decision-making especially in rural areas. This presents both challenges and opportunities for women empowerment; NBeG Women’s Network sees more opportunities than challenges throughout this journey. CADS has been working with it Hope of Women Association (HWA) and partners throughout Northern Bahr el ghazel to promote socio-economic welfare of women. CADS will build the tremendous achievements registered in this new strategic plan to enhance its effort’s in socio-economic empowerment of women through the following … Read more »
dear Alta: am very glad and eager to gate this wonderful information in order to mobilize sufficient resources for my beneficiaries and i need to gate your help. please would able to send me a sample of cover letter that able to best attract donors please?
Dear Kasahun: You can find a sample cover letter here
For my organization not funded what the easy way of getting donations for first time ?
Dear Assiimwe: I am glad that the article is helpful for you. Unfortunately we do not offer referral services, but I recommend you check the following links for funding opportunities https://www.fundsforngos.org
It is an interesting and valuable sample as being to be a winner of a project, so would you send to me the proposal cover letter sample through my email.
Dear Gebeyehu: You can find the sample cover letter here
Your guidance will be very helpful to me. Hope using these skills will permit me to raise more funding for our local NGO, “Pathways for Women’s Empowerment and Development” (PaWED).
Dear Author, This is indeed very fascinating! Can I kindly have a template of the cover letter in my email. Thank you Alek Garang South Sudan 🇸🇸
Dear Alek: you can easily download it from the article here .
I quite appreciate this gesture,but i would not mind if you can send samples of these cover letter and the template to mu e.mail. [email protected] . Thanks.
Dear Adamolekun: you can easily download it from the article here .
Thanks for the idea shared. This is powerful. I would like to have one of the templates of your proposal cover letter. Thanks in anticipation
Quite helpful, thank you for the effort.
Excelent guidelines to prepare a proposal cover letter. It really points out the main information this letter should contain. Thanks a lot indeed.
Dear madam I really appreciate your outstanding job. I am from Ethiopia one of developing countries where Gender issues are neglected. so, would you assist me to raise funds for gender equality.
Hello Genet: We are not a funding organization and do not provide grants. We are a social enterprise that provides a platform to connect you with expert advice on proposal writing to get your amazing projects funded.
Please check out the many resources available on our site. Hope this helps.
Thanks a lot Alta Alonzi, Greetings from the Republic of South Sudan, Amadi State, Mundri County Western part of the Country. Could you please send me the details of the Project Proposal format. Felix Zara
Dear Felix, we have a general proposal template here
Dear author, Thank you for your guidance, could you please send me a template cover letter to my eamil? Thanks
Hello Islamudin: You can easily download the template from here
Please send a cover page template
Hello how are you all It’s been very good and well to see there’s people lk you who cares for other people
Our organization is dealing with society in general, based on teenagers who are living in hard environment in a rules/urban areas
A proposal is a pretentious term used by a HR manager who probably calls their department People & Culture. It is just a cover letter. It is the same idea of
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A cover letter is an accompanying letter that serves as the introduction to your full proposal. The cover letter looks similar to a letter of inquiry, but a LoI