If you read customer reviews when you’re looking for a restaurant, you can understand why many grantmakers ask for letters of support. It’s helpful to see what other people are saying about a nonprofit’s work when you’re trying to evaluate them. Here is some advice for using letters of support for grant writing.
There are many different kinds of people and organizations who can write letters of support for you, and they each have their unique advantages. Other funders may be influential among their colleagues. Academics and experts in the field can attest to the quality of your work. The recipients of your services can tell their stories about how they’ve benefited from your programs, adding a human and emotional dimension to grant proposals.
Make Grant Writing Easy
Helping someone to write a letter of support for you is not like doing your kid’s homework for them. You may need to make it convenient, especially if you’re approaching a celebrity or other people with busy schedules. Ask whom you should work with on their staff, and offer to provide a draft or talking points. Be sure to update and customize the text so your letters don’t all sound the same. You’ll usually want to describe your relationship, include specific achievements, and make sure the final copy goes on the official letterhead.
Get your letters long before you need them so you’re not pressuring people to meet a tight grant deadline. Have a variety on hand you can submit when a funder requires them or allows them as part of the supporting materials.
Return the Favor
It’s easier to get letters of support when you’re generous about writing them for others. Remember that foundations are usually happy to see nonprofits with similar missions collaborating and supporting each other so do your part.
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