Writing the Basic Request Letter


The body of the very simplest request letter is usually only one or two paragraphs. This is especially true if there is some incentive for the receiving party to respond to your request in a positive way. An example of this would be in a letter where you are requesting additional information that might lead to a purchase of merchandise from the company.

In more complex request letters where there is no incentive for the receiver of your letter to grant your request, your letter will need to include some persuasive writing.  Often the sales letter format, discussed later, is used for the most complex request letters, such as when you are asking for monetary donations.
Request letter format

  1. Opening paragraph:  introduce yourself and make your request.  This is usually only one or two sentences.
  2. In the opening paragraph--or with more complex request letters this is the second paragraph. After you make your request, give any necessary details to help the receiver of your letter fully understand what you are asking for. This is often part of the opening paragraph in the simplest request letters. In more complex request letters--especially when you are inserting a couple persuasive sentences--this could be a paragraph by itself. If you are asking for more than three items or pieces of information consider using bullets to clarify your needs.
  3. Closing paragraph:  your "CALL FOR ACTION." Restate your request giving a date by which you need a response. Make sure you state why you need the response by this date. If you are making a payment in conjunction with the request, state the details of the payment in this paragraph.