How to Solicit Business in a Letter

Whether you're running a charity, throwing the annual holiday party or starting a new training program and need a consultant, solicitation letters are a primary instrument for attracting help. Business solicitation letters should be pointed and concise, containing all the pertinent information your recipient will need to make a decision and act. Additionally, you'll need to know solicitation law in your area to ensure all is aboveboard.

Identify the goal of your letter. Are you soliciting donations or seeking a quote for a contract job? Solicitation letters are often employed by entities such as charitable organizations seeking donations or businesses seeking quotes from potential providers for a specific event, initiative or program. Make a comprehensive list of applicable entities to whom you wish to send the letter, and ensure that they meet the criteria for the services you are seeking.

Outline the pertinent details. In order to solicit the best response, your letter should include specific references to the services you are seeking. These details include the date and time of the event or project, and the tasks required. The letter should also explicitly ask for a price quote from the recipient to perform the requested tasks. If this is for a fund-raising effort for a charitable organization, be transparent about the fact that you are asking for money. You should also illustrate the minimum or standard donation you expect. If you do not have a minimum donation, you can include that information as well.

Add benefits. Tell the entity, in the letter, what benefits he will derive from his participation in your effort. Benefits may include some form of publicity for his business or organization, or public recognition of his deeds. Include what type of publicity this will be, where it will appear and for what time frame.

Make the prose clear. The content and styling of the letter should be clear, concise and respectful. Avoid flowery language and awkward sentence and paragraph structure. Respect the fact that your intended audience is busy and will want to read through the material with efficiency and ease.

Be aware of local solicitation laws. Many states have laws regarding the solicitation of business or money. For instance, a charitable organization may be required to register formally with the state before letters of this kind can be distributed. Keen attention to these matters will not only get your project underway legally but will also save you considerable headaches with state and local officials. Begin with your state comptrollers office to ascertain your rights and responsibilities.