Writing Letters of Motivation

Some of the following advice might seem a bit basic, but it has never let me down in formulating a good motivation letter:

1. Know your audience:
· What kind of projects and people are supported by your chosen organization/foundation?
· Is the support project-based? How can you present your project as an attractive opportunity?
· Is this need-based aid? How can you present yourself as a deserving candidate?
· Check the mission statement of your chosen organization. This will give you the clearest idea of what they want to see in perspective applicants.

2. Once you understand your target audience, you focus your writing in that direction:
· Unless there is an interview component, your letter of motivation is the only contact your audience will have with you.
· Be clear with your ideas and goals and how you will accomplish them.
· Share a vision! (This is the most important.) If you're excited about a project or opportunity, share that excitement with those reading your proposal. They will feel your dedication and will want to help you reach your goal.
· If the target audience (decision committee) is not in your field of expertise, make sure that your ideas are laymen-friendly.

3. Ask for feedback from lots of different people of different backgrounds:

· Reach out to someone you trust to give you an honest and helpful opinion
· Ask for advice from a successful recipient of the grant/award you are seeking.
· Take the advice that works for you and your vision. Leave what does not work for you.

4. Be yourself!!
· Sharing yourself as a human being is always the strongest way to connect with people.
· Even though you want to present yourself as the ideal candidate, it is most important to share your humanity and personality. Find the common ground between your goals and the mission of your audience. From there, build your proposal. Anything else will ring false.

#grants #motivationletter

Jossalyn Jensen