How to write an award nomination letter

Updated March 24, 2017

Nominating someone for an award is a public declaration that you think the person is worthy of recognition. The award may be an in-house appreciation of service -- such as "the teacher of the year" -- or it may be a national award for outstanding leadership. A nomination letter gives you an opportunity to paint a picture of the person. You present facts and figures to supplement the image. Your job is to convince the awards committee that the candidate you are putting forward is the most deserving of the award.

Start early and do your background research. Find out the closing date for nominations, the names of the people on the selection committee and the criteria for the award.

Identify the person you are going to nominate for the award. Discuss the nomination with the individual and develop a sense of her as a person. Get a copy of her CV and compare it with the award criteria.

Outline your nomination letter and organise the specifics. Focus on numbers -- how many books he has written or how many committees she has served on -- facts or anecdotes to illustrate your points.

Draft your letter. Begin with a statement introducing the person and briefly explaining why he is an ideal candidate for the award. You may want to touch on why you are qualified to nominate the candidate, but keep it short. Keep the tone professional.

Review the nomination letter with the person you are nominating. Fact check all points and make sure the numbers are accurate.

Gather letters of support from others who agree the candidate is a good choice. Give people a clear idea of the sort of statements you are looking for to strengthen the nomination.

Ask a colleague with good editing skills to check your final draft for spelling, grammar and tone. Too often we don't see our own mistakes, so getting an editor to review the letter is always a good idea.

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About the Author

Jody Hanson began writing professionally in 1992 to help finance her second around-the-world trip. In addition to her academic books, she has written for "International Living," the "Sydney Courier" and the "Australian Woman's Forum." Hanson holds a Ph.D. in adult education from Greenwich University.