Organizations cannot accept every proposal they receive, and therefore must write letters to inform businesses that they are refusing their proposals. This is often handled through email. The company refusing the proposals creates a letter and emails it to the appropriate businesses. Any time a company writes a refusal letter, it must consider several key points, including keeping the letters diplomatic, sincere and brief.

Use a subject line. When you write an email, there is an option of filling in a subject on the subject line. When writing a proposal refusal letter, use the subject line to inform the person what the email is in regards to. It does not have to contain the words “Proposal Refusal” but can state something like “In Response to Your Proposal.”

Keep the formatting simple. Do not use fancy font types or any type of special formatting. Use the standard formatting that most emails have and keep the words flush with the left-hand margin.

Address the email. Begin the email by addressing it to the contact person that wrote the original proposal. If there is not a specific contact person listed on the proposal, address it to the company’s human resources department.

State the purpose of the email. Be clear, direct and diplomatic when you begin the letter. Inform the reader that you are writing this letter to regrettably inform him that your company is refusing the proposal that was submitted by him or his company. Be sure to include your company name and the purpose of the original proposal.

Include a reason. A refusal letter should be sincere and heartfelt. Because of this, most businesses include a reason that explains why they are refusing the proposal. The reasons vary for proposal refusal, but are commonly linked to costs.

Offer positive wishes to the reader. Inform the reader that you wish him and his business well in the future and invite him to offer proposals for future projects your company might have.

Sign the letter. At the end of the email, sign the letter “Sincerely” followed by your name and title.


Always be sure to proofread business letters prior to sending them. Do not say negative things about the company, instead try to keep the letter positive.