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How to Write a Business Letter

By Rachel Medeiros

Welcome to this tutorial on how to write a business letter to a non-profit asking for data to help you build your infographic. You can view the full sample letter in more detail here.



Move your cursor to the upper-right-hand corner of your document by choosing the right-justification option. On the first line, write your first and last name. Hit return (enter). On the next line, type your street address. Be sure to capitalize the street name. Hit return (enter). On the next line, write your city, a comma, your state, and then your zip code.

Rachel Medeiros
1300 Sheffield Ave
Campbell, CA 95008

picture of a sample header

After your name and address, skip a line, but remain right-justified. Now, write the date you are composing the letter. It is important to include the month, day, and year. Don't forget a comma between the day and the year!

June 21, 2017

picture of date below the address

Skip another line and then move your cursor to the left-hand side of the page using the left-justified button. Now you'll address the letter to your recipient. If you know the name of the person in the organization, make the first line his/her name. If you don't know a specific person, start with the company name. After the company name, write the first line of the address, which includes the street number and the street. On the next line, write the city, a comma, the state, and then the zip code.

Kiva
875 Howard St, Suite 340
San Francisco, CA 94130
picture of recipient's address

Skip another line, and it's here you will write your letter's greeting. There are different instructions based on the addressee listed above.

If your recipient is a man...
begin your letter with "Dear Mr.," his last name, and a comma.
Dear Mr. Doe,

If your recipient is an unmarried woman (or if you don't know if she's married or not)...
begin your letter with "Dear Ms.," her last name, and a comma.
Dear Ms. Smith,

If your recipient is a married woman...
begin your letter with "Dear Mrs.," her last name, and a comma.
Dear Mrs. Rogers,

If you don't have a specific named recipient...
begin your letter with "To Whom It May Concern," followed by a colon.
To Whom It May Concern:

picture of sample greeting

To begin your first paragraph, skip a line after the greeting and begin writing without indenting the paragraph. In your first paragraph (3-6 sentences) , you'll introduce yourself and explain your interest in the organization.

My name is Rachel Medeiros, and I teach middle school at San Jose Christian School. Several years ago I learned about Kiva and the work you're doing throughout the world to help people. I love how you partner with individuals and groups to help them reach their dreams. I especially appreciate how you utilize relationships with lending organizations within the country where the lendee lives. It is an honor to invest (and reinvest) my money in your organization.

picture of a sample intro

Skip another line and begin your next paragraph left-justified. In a business letter, there is no need to indent. In the main body paragraph of your letter, you will write 5-10 sentences explaining the infographic project and ask for any data you may need. You may choose to ask your non-profit for the following types of data:

  • Amount of people their organization serves
  • Statistics on the issue they're trying to solve
  • Success rates of the organization's initiatives

In my seventh grade Language Arts class, I've been tasked with creating an infographic highlighting an issue in our world today. I have chosen to study poverty with a special focus on how mentorship and loans can help people start small businesses and provide for their families. Do you have any statistics you'd be willing to share with me? I'm especially interested in the amount of people you empower every year through microloans. What percentage of the people who receive loans pay them back in full? How long does it take people to receive a loan? I'd be very grateful to receive any information you think would be helpful in raising awareness for your organization and the ways that microloans can help people raise up out of poverty.

picture of sample body paragraph

Skip another line and begin your next paragraph left-justified. In this paragraph, you'll thank the reader for his or her time and leave them with your contact information so that they can answer your questions. It only needs to be 2-4 sentences.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and to send me information. I appreciate your willingness to help me raise awareness for your organization. Please send me any information you may have to my email, rachel@amplifiedEDU.com, or to the address on the top of this page.

picture of sample conclusion

After your your oncluding paragraph, skip a line and begin writing your signature block. You will want to start with a closing, such as "sincerely" or "regards," followed by a comma. After the closing, skip four lines and type your first and last name. This will allow you to add your signature between the closing and your printed name.

Sincerely,

signature

Rachel Medeiros

picture of signature block