Tips on how to write a compelling nomination or letter of support.

  1. Be sure the nomination fits the award.
    Carefully research the award criteria and be sure you can match the nominee’s achievements to the award criteria.
  2. Cite specifics.
    Use specific and concrete examples to illustrate how the nominee meets each of the eligibility and award criteria. For example, explain how the nominee showed ongoing initiative, leadership, and dedication. Explain how the nominee earned respect of their peers, became a role model, or demonstrated innovation or creativity that delivered lasting results. What challenges did they have to overcome that were over and above routine challenges expected in the role?
  3. Cite impact.
    Describe as vividly and precisely as possible the impacts of the contributions made by the nominee. Explain why these impacts have been important. For example, how were things before versus now? What is the scale of the achievement? Why is it outstanding, exceptional, over and above the nominee’s normal duties and expected impact?
  4. Establish authority. Provide a range of perspectives.
    Make it clear who you are, your relationship to the nominee, how long you’ve known him/her, how is it that you are qualified to write this letter. It is often perceived that a letter of support written by an influential or high-profile individual will automatically give it more weight; however, this is not the case if the letter does not specifically address the nominee’s merits. It is OK if the same story is repeated in letters of support; ideally it will show impact from multiple perspectives.
  5. Format your nomination to help readers.
    A committee member might be reading 150 pages of award nominations in a single sitting. Make it easy for the reader who returns to skim your nomination to refresh their memory of salient points. Your opening statement should state why the nominee deserves the award. Clearly outline the contributions and impact, maybe even number them. Consider bolding key points. Make it as specific as possible to the criteria. For example, if the award criteria includes the word “innovation,” use that word: “The nominee demonstrated innovation by…”.
  6. Keep it formal.
    Use words that develop authenticity and trust, such as innovative, leadership, mentor, pioneer, initiated, role model, respect, inspirational, admired, trusted, and passionate.Avoid trite words such as amazing, nice, and awesome.
  7. Use the allotted space to make your case, submit complete applications.
    Use the full page or word count allotment to make your case. Short and sweet isn’t better if someone else is using three times as many words to tout their nominee’s merits. However, do not exceed the page or word allotment. Be sure all rules are followed in the application, all signatures are obtained, and the application is complete before submitting. When faced with a daunting pile of nomination packages to review, often reviewers will look for opportunities to quickly eliminate a nomination. Don’t let your nominee’s package be rejected because of a minor technicality.