Writing and Obtaining Letters for Proposals and Awards

Letters

  • Do I need a letter? Funding agencies often have differing requirements for inclusion of letters of commitment and support. Make sure you read the solicitation carefully to determine if supplementary letters are requested. If you aren't sure, ask!
  • Commitment or Support? Letters of commitment usually come from project partners and collaborators. Letters of support are generally written by public officials, community groups, or non-profits. NSF is usually not interested in letters of support, so make sure your letter is explicit about whether it is about support or commitment!
  • Award Letters. Award or nomination letters generally recommend individuals as recipients for awards. Many awards have very specific guidelines for nomination letters.
  • Letters of Intent. Letters of intent typically notify funding agencies that you are preparing to submit a proposal. This may or may not be an option. Check the solicitation or ask!

General Guidelines:

  • Use institutional or organizational letterhead.
  • If possible, suggest a template or at least make it clear what the letter should say.
  • Start early and set deadlines.
Letters of Commitment:
  • Letters of commitment are generally written by collaborators and partners.
  • Is the signatory appropriate to represent the institutional or organizational partner or collaborator?
  • Partners and collaborators should be included in the planning and implementation of the project.
  • For NSF proposals, it may be necessary to include letters from substantial collaborators that are not included in the budget.
  • See the CRPDE guide: Writing A letter of Commitment
Letters of Support:
  • Letters of support are generally easier to get and may be written by public officials, community groups, non-profits, etc.
  • Is the signatory appropriate to represent the institutional or organizational partner or collaborator?
  • For NSF proposals, letters of support are not a standard component unless required by a specific program solicitation.
  • See the CRPDE guide: Writing A letter of Support
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