Nomination Letter Writing Tips

The university has many individuals and teams who make important contributions to the campus community. There are many nominations for the U Make a Difference Awards — therefore, when nominating an individual or team it is important to write thoughtful and deliberate nomination letters. Below are some tips to keep in mind when preparing nomination letters.


Use a standard 12-point font with one-inch margins. Letters should be 1 to 3 pages in length and addressed to members of the U Make a Difference Award selection committee. 

Understand the Award Criteria

Tailor your wording and include examples to illustrate how the individiual or team embodies the award criteria in key areas. 

Award Criteria

Supporting Statements and Testimonials

Gather support by way of other nominators, or supporting statements from colleagues, clients, students and other members of the university community. 

Presume the selection committee may not know anything about the nominee(s) job or successes. Therefore, the more detailed information you provide, the better. The following suggestions have been provided to assist you in preparing a compelling nomination letter:

  • The opening paragraph of the letter should put the rest of a nomination letter into context for the selection committee. This paragraph should contain the nominee's name, position at the university and a brief explanation as to why the nominee is a suitable candidate. You should also include your relationship to the nominee (i.e. how long have you worked with this individual/team, what was the capacity in which you worked with them, etc.). Letters that are co-written by 2-3 nominators should contain similar information.

  • The main body of the letter should provide the committee with a well-rounded picture of the nominee. These paragraphs should provide several concrete examples of the general and specific efforts and contributions the nominee makes in the workplace and their impact, the qualities that make the individual or team a worthy recipient, and how these have made a difference to the university. Your examples must clearly link the attributes and work of the team or individual to the award criteria.

  • Descriptions can include brief 'testimonial' statements from co-workers, students and other people on whom the nominee has had a positive impact. A co-signed letter should include examples or viewpoints from each supporter. Supporters may also submit a separate, supporting nomination to present difference voices.

  • When multiple nomination letters are being submitted, it is a good strategy for the different writers to connect to ensure key criteria are addressed and linked across letters. Each letter should add its own value (as opposed to each one saying the same thing and, taken collectively, missing key criteria).

  • Avoid generalities (like "He/she is a hard worker and goes above and beyond her job duties"). Make every sentence count, provide enough detail, and use examples to emphasize what you are saying and to demonstrate to the committee how the individual or team meets the award criteria.

  • Have someone review your letter(s) before you submit, they may find errors or give feedback on how to improve it.