Many award, prize and grant applications require letters of support. Letters of support help demonstrate the applicant's excellence or ability to meet certain criteria. Anyone may be asked to write a letter of support for a program or individual. To do this effectively, though, it's important to understand and meet the requesting party's requirements. Most are looking for very specific information by a particular deadline. Be sure to include everything that is asked for and by the deadline that is specified.
Prepare to Write
Ask the individual or organization requesting the letter of support what it is exactly that they need. Most are applying for prizes or grants that require very specific information. Address these needs directly and with specific examples in your letter.
Request a deadline if one was not provided. Deadlines are generally set in stone and your letter of support may be required by a certain date. If you agree to write a letter, strictly adhere to the requested time frame.
Ask to review the application if you still have questions. This may help you to better understand what the most important information to convey. Gather any relevant statistics you may need. Be certain any figures or results shared match the application exactly.
Write Your Letter
Express your support and use the program's or project's full name in your opening paragraph. Keep this section short and to the point.
Use the two- to three-paragraph body of your letter to specifically detail what was or will be achieved, using as much supporting detail as possible. Include your relationship or role to the applicant if it is not already clear from your opening paragraph. Explain why this applicant is an excellent match for this particular opportunity. If the project is already in progress or complete, use this section to highlight successes.
Close with a short paragraph that includes a formal thank you. Let the organization know you are happy to answer questions if needed. Be sure to include your contact information.
Review your letter for grammar and accuracy. Print your edited draft, preferably on letterhead. If you're still not sure if you have included all the correct information, ask the individual or organization requesting the letter to review it for you. They may even offer to write a sample letter for you to edit, print on your letterhead and sign. This saves you time and ensures all key points are addressed while still providing you with an opportunity to edit at your discretion, adding your own personal notes and style.
Since 1990, Laura Barten has been writing about health care, marketing, finance, work life, travel and the arts for industry-leading companies, nonprofits, newspapers and websites, including USAToday.com and Chron.com. As president of a marketing consulting firm, she's developed business/marketing plans, books, magazines, press kits and more. Barten holds a BA in journalism and an MBA in marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.