A letter of commitment is an official agreement to provide material support to a business, nonprofit or research organization. Letters of commitment in the business world typically outline promises to provide financing or loans, while those to nonprofit organizations generally outline commitments to collaboration, partnerships or other forms of material support. Whether you’re making a commitment to financing a business or supporting a nonprofit community group, you need to ensure your letter of commitment – like any serious piece of business correspondence – is concise, clear and diplomatic.
Review your information. Your letter of commitment will outline all previously agreed-upon details of your support (such as amounts of money to be lent, schedules and contingency plans), so be sure all your relevant information is current. Your letter should only outline terms already agreed upon by both parties. Do not use the letter to add or revise terms or conditions.
Identify the basic terms of your agreement. The opening of your letter should identify you and all other parties involved in the agreement, as well as the basic terms and goals of your commitment. If you are committing funds to a project or business, specify amounts. If you are committing to another kind of support or collaboration, briefly describe the kind of support you will be providing.
Outline your roles and responsibilities in the agreement. Be specific. Say exactly what your role is and describe your range of responsibilities. If you are providing funds, describe payment schedules as well as contingency plans in the event that you cannot meet your commitment. If you are finalizing a commitment to a nonprofit or research collaboration, describe your exact responsibilities (such as services or facilities you plan to provide) and the role you or your organization will play in the collaboration.
Keep your letter clear and concise. Some sources suggest that commercial letters of intent be limited to a single page. In some cases, effective letters can be as short as a single paragraph.
Be cordial. If you are writing a letter of commitment to a nonprofit, keep in mind that your letter may be seen by other agencies supporting or monitoring that organization, so be sure to make clear your reasons for wanting to work with that group. Also mention any previous collaboration you have had with the group. This will strengthen your image, and that of your collaborators, in the eyes of other supporters of the nonprofit, such as grant-making entities.
Felicia Lee is a freelance writer/editor and published author with over 15 years of experience. Her work has appeared in publications including the "Los Angeles Times" and on Salon.com. Felicia holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in English from Stanford and a Doctor of Philosophy in linguistics from University of California, Los Angeles.