Letters of support are an important aspect of applying for grants, tenure and a variety of positions and honors. They demonstrate the credibility of the applicant as well as their credentials and they offer evidence as to why the applicant is the best candidate for the position. When people are asked to write a letter of support, however, they may be unsure about the proper content and wording. They may desire examples to guide their letter. Here is an introduction to help begin a personalized letter of support.
A letter of support introduction
The introduction of the letter of support should explain who the writer is and what they are writing about. Authors should clearly state their intent when writing the letter in the first few sentences. They should emphasize their personal relationship with the applicant as well as their own connection with the project. The writer should detail their involvement or how the project will affect them along with any important background information. Important background information can include explanations about past projects that were collaborated upon, the history of the writer’s organization with the subject matter at hand, and whatever else can lend support to the idea that this writer’s recommendation should be taken seriously.
The letter should be written clearly and articulately. The phrases below are examples of what can be said.
Intent: “I am writing to show my support for [name] proposed project XYZ.”
“I believe [Name]’s proposed project XYZ will greatly benefit my community/research/etc. and am writing to express my full support.”
“I have worked closely with [Name] for X number of years and feel confident expressing my full support for their promotion.”
Background: “I have been the chairman of X organization for Y number of years. Our mission at Z has been supported by [name] through past projects such as [examples]. [Further detail about past collaboration].
The body of the letter
The body of the letter of support should provide more detail about the impending project or proposal itself. Fundamental questions such as: “Why does this project need to be done now?” and “What impact should the project have on its industry?” should be carefully considered.
The author of the letter of support will explain the impact of the proposal in question. He or she should articulate how the project will benefit the particular field to which it relates. This will include clearly saying how the proposal in question relates to past developments within an industry and how it will create a solid foundation for continued building in the future.
The letter of support ideally also closes the gap between the writer of the letter and the group seeking the endorsement. The letter should specifically address how the outcome of the project will influence the organization directly. An example phrase may include:
“It has been demonstrated multiple times that further research is needed in XYZ to fully grasp the phenomenon we are seeing. This proposed project will contribute a great deal to answering some of these questions.”
The conclusion of the letter
The ending of the letter of support ideally accomplishes two tasks. The first task is to describe the kind of support the writer of the letter will be offering the applicant. It should articulate details such as duration, monetary amount, resources, and other forms of support.
Following this, the author should tie the letter together with a basic summary and any final words of endorsement. It should include an official closing with a level of formality that is appropriate to the relationship. A typical, well-written letter will run one to two pages. It should not be longer than two pages except in extenuating circumstances.
Here are a few examples for the conclusion:
“We are pleased to offer $XYZ per year for the duration of this project.”
“I eagerly anticipate collaborating on this project.”
Letters of support often make a difference for applicants no matter what they are applying for. They show the support the individual has from the community and others in the industry. They are excellent persuasive tools. They do require thought and preparation, but by following these steps the letter writer should be well on the way to success.Learn More: Click to view related resources.