Letters of Endorsement and Support

Letters of Endorsement and Support create “delight” in the eyes of the potential donor reader and show others of your cooperation and collaboration in meeting needs and serving your community. They are very powerful, will enhance your proposal to donors, and create favorable connections of endorsement and support with the reader if they are written properly. However, “more” is NOT always better and “something is NOT always better than nothing!”
I encourage you to have 8 or 10 letters of endorsement and support written prior to your completing your proposal document. Then, upon completion of your document and prior to mailing, you select the best 3 to 5 maximum with each proposal to the prospective donor. The letters of endorsement and support will serve as “connectors” in relationships and “networking enhancers” with people in your community and show that you are cooperating and collaborating with others to meet needs and that you have community support.
Your hope is that a reviewer or decision maker looks through your letters of endorsement and support and recognizes someone’s name and knows them from another source, is touched by a personal connection someone has made in a written letter, they will give weight and consideration because they know someone who has written one, or that God will use one to touch a life.
Consider who you should ask. I suggest that your Board Members should all write a one-page letter of endorsement and support but that you also consider an elected official or two, a banker or legal person, a couple of people who have benefitted from your organization's work, a school official, a doctor or other professional, and so forth.
For your ease, the following guidelines of letter of endorsement and support are for the most used categories of letters of endorsement, support, and relationship building. When you use these, copy the pages and empower your references to be more knowledgeable and able to write better letters.
1. Who writes the endorsement and support letter and to whom should it be written?
--This letter is written by EVERY Board member, by key staff, by former political officials, by influential members of the community, by major financial supporters, by key donors of “in kind” products or services, by athletes, and other high profile individuals.
--The original will be kept on file and utilized during the next 12- to 15-month period (only send out good copies).
--The letter is addressed to your organization’s Executive Director or whoever’s name is on the proposal being submitted NOT the potential funder.
2. What to say? (Don’t make it a “RAH RAH!” letter.) This letter should:
--Communicate a compelling personal involvement (but be honest). Write comments of your involvement in the organization to show you believe in the mission and vision.
--Communicate your knowledge of the organization’s impact in the community and with clients and customers.
--Focus its’ writing on the benefit for people served (clients/customers/residents/participants).
--Express gratefulness for the consideration and what they are doing in the area.
3. When to write it?
--This letter should be written within 10 days of request and be kept on file for whenever you need to use it. It should be professionally copied with the original being kept on file for multiple future uses.
4. Where to send it and to whom?
--It should be duplicated at a high quality and alternately sent with other letters.
--These will always be sent as attachments with one or two other letters that are appropriate for the funder being sent.
--The letter should NEVER be folded as it will decrease the quality in duplication.
5. How to write it?
--A one-page letter MAX! On business letterhead.
--Follow a “formal” letter style (block or modified block is preferred) with adequate margins (1 inch).
--Proof read it. Try to not have typos, misspellings, or other glaring errors. Ask for help to make it good as possible.
--Share “from your heart and be original.” We don’t want EVERY letter to look and sound the same.
6. Finally:
--Don’t use tentative language such as “hope,” “try,” “going to attempt,” “maybe,” “our desire is to,” “want,” etc.
--Use active action words such as “will,” “implemented,” “leveraging,” “completing,” etc.
--Throughout each specific letter, be sure to call the organization and specific projects by the appropriate name.
--Be certain the wording is consistent with the primary elements of the organization! (For example, mission statement is same, vision, strategic plan, etc. . .).
Be certain to thank the person who writes this letter for you AND keep them informed on the progress! NEVER send out the original! Keep it in a file. Use the 3 best letters appropriate to whom you are submitting the proposal. Use no more than 3 of these letters per proposal (copies)   keep the originals in a separate file. The 3 letters will go in the ATTACHMENTS.
SAMPLE LETTER of Endorsement and Support: MUST be a one-page letter MAX! On letterhead of the writer’s organization or business
March 27, 2018

Mr. Ben James, Executive Director
Youth Sports and Character
2801 West Cherokee
Gardner, KS  66030
Dear Ben:
It has been a valuable experience for me to serve the past three years on the Board of Directors for Youth Sports and Character. I have found incredible satisfaction in the time spent volunteering, helping our clients to get back on their feet, and in hearing the men express their appreciation for our reaching out to them in their critical time of need. Caring for men, women, and families is an honor and privilege that I cherish.
Youth Sports and Character's vision to become a model of cooperation and collaboration in the metropolitan area provides an opportunity for synergy that I am excited about. Working with others to utilize resources and expertise of others in the community is something that I view as essential as we co labor in the Kingdom. I am proud to see it is not just a statement of words, Ben, but it is a heart issue with you, the other Board Members, and supporters of Youth Sports and Character. As an active Board Member, I appreciate the way our leadership pursues decision making by following deliberate processes and implementing decisions carefully and confidently within the structures that we discuss, formulate, and follow.
I have learned much from the leadership of you and your staff, applying that insight daily in my role as a fellow leader. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to help and empower people in our community.
I am even more excited about the future as we begin a new page in our 75 year history of serving the people in our area! Thank you, Ben, for allowing me to be a part of it. If I can do anything, please feel free to call me.
                 (signed legible in blue ink)
Robert J. Vickers, Founder and President
Vickers Sporting Goods