Many clients wonder what makes a good Letter of Support (LOS) and how to go about obtaining them. This has been true since 2015 when we first posted on the topic (https://www.ebhoward.com/best-practices-for-collecting-letters-of-support/). Letters of Support are helpful in all funding opportunities and required in most federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) opportunities. Letters of Support speak to the merit f the proposal and the Primary Investigator’ss ability to run the project should it be funded.
Here are some best practices to help ensure that you are collecting high-quality Letters of Support (LOS)…
- Addressing the LOS: Each should be addressed either to the Project Director or Executive Director of the organization submitting the proposal OR to the granting agency – check the guidelines of the specific grant.
- Align LOS to Proposal: Your partner letters should ideally reinforce and support your proposal. If the Letter Of Support is not aligned with the proposal, at the very least it should speak to the ability of to project director or executive director’s experience and ability to handle or run the organization’s endeavor.
- Include the signature of the organization decision-maker: The signature of the superintendent or executive director is generally more valuable than the signature of a coordinator or project manager. However, if a letter from a lower-level employee in the organization would be more inclusive of details about how the agencies work together; do it.
- No form letters: Each should be unique and written from the point of view of your collaborator(s) or key stakeholders (which can include parents, teachers, partners, elected officials, and colleagues within your field). Using a form letter for all of your letters of support (just substituting the letterhead and the name of the organization) actually demonstrates a lack of collaboration, which is opposite to the effect you want.
- State Relationship History: If you have worked with this collaborator before, be sure to say so. It demonstrates that a relationship has already been established.
- Use official letterhead: Each LOS should be printed on their letterhead and signed by the appropriate party (someone authorized to make the commitment of support). This makes it look much more official than a letter on plain white paper.
All Letters of Support should demonstrate that there is an issue that must be solved and that the project in question could potentially solve it. It should explain why the program or solution is innovative and illustrate other examples of success the individual or organization has achieved with other projects or programs. Letters of Support should also include the qualifications and experience of the individual or team to illustrate that they are capable of doing the work.
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