Writing a formal letter to a committee or a board – be it a school board or an international corporation – may seem like a daunting task at first glance. Breaking it down into small, manageable steps, however, makes it a much easier process than you might initially expect. Writing a formal letter to a board follows all the rules of a business letter. It is important to keep your letter short and to the point. A formal letter to a committee or board shouldn’t be any more than a page long, so if your letter exceeds that, keep editing until you get it down to the basic facts.
List the Items to Include in Your Letter
Jot down a list of things you are going to include in your letter to the board. If, for instance, you are writing to the board to request money for a class trip, indicate which students will be involved and where and when it will take place.
The Format for a Letter to a Board
The format for a formal letter to a committee or board is as follows: return address, date, inside address, salutation, body of letter and closing. One-inch margins should be left on all four sides of the page.
Start All Text on the Left-Hand Side of the Page
Use the block-format and start all text on the left-hand side of the page. Rather than indenting, leave one blank line between each part of the letter to the board.
Use Letterhead if Possible
Write on letterhead if at all possible. If, however, you don’t have letterhead, type your address in the top left-hand corner. Enter a blank line and then type in the date.
Use the Inside Address of the Board
Enter the inside address of the board, the same address that appears on the envelope, as this separates business letters from friendly ones. Without an inside address people may be confused about for whom the letter is intended.
Use the Correct Salutation
Type in the salutation. In this case it would be “Dear Chairman Jones and World Craft Board Members,”. Another possibility is “Dear Members of the World Craft Board,”
Get Straight to the Point
Get straight to the point. Don’t bother with wishing people a pleasant day or inquiring about their health. “I am writing to the board to” indicates that you mean business.
Maintain a Formal Tone
Maintain a formal business-like tone in your letter to the board. Stay away from personal issues and stick to the facts.
Keep Your Paragraphs and Sentences Short
Keep your paragraphs and sentences short and remember to start a new paragraph when you change ideas in your letter to the board. Avoid wordy sentences and don’t use a large word when a small one will do.
Use an Appropriate Closing
Close your letter to the board with “Sincerely,” and note that it is followed by a comma. Another acceptable formal closing is “Yours sincerely,”.
Sign and Type Your Name
Leave three or four lines for your signature, then type your name. If you are copying the letter to anyone else add “Cc” and list their names.
Wait for 24 Hours and Review
Let your letter to the board sit for 24 hours and then correct any grammar or typing mistakes. Read your letter aloud and assess it for formal tone and content. Edit accordingly.
Jody Hanson began writing professionally in 1992 to help finance her second around-the-world trip. In addition to her academic books, she has written for "International Living," the "Sydney Courier" and the "Australian Woman's Forum." Hanson holds a Ph.D. in adult education from Greenwich University.