How to Write a Letter to a Committee

How to Write a Letter to a Committee

There are many reasons for writing a letter to a committee. You may be recommending someone you know for employment. You may be seeking a grant. You may be asking a committee that's developing a project to consider using your company. The common thread, however, is that your letter is for more than one person. A committee may consist of people of both sexes, from a wide age range and with different points of view. So how do you put yourself across to them as effectively as possible in writing?

1 Have a Plan

Plan your letter. Be clear in your mind who you are writing to and why. Note down the points you want to make in the order you intend to make them. If you have someone you can talk to about the content of the letter, show this person your notes. Discuss what you want the letter to achieve.

2 Address the Entire Committee

Address the letter to the committee not to an individual. The committee secretary will ensure each committee member gets a copy.

3 Format Carefully

Use a standard letter format. If you're unsure about this, work with a format from a computer program. Computers usually have such programs as part of their basic packages.

4 Explain Your Purpose

Start the letter explaining who you are and why you are contacting the committee. A committee needs to know who it is dealing with and why. Even if you already know some members of the committee, don't assume they will explain to the others who you are and why you are writing.

5 Mind Your Tone

Adopt the right tone for your letter. Whoever you are writing to and whatever you are writing about, the tone for a letter to a committee should be formal and business-like. You should not adopt an aggressive tone nor one that is too submissive. Your goal is to come across as calm and reasonable.

6 Be Concise and Clear

Be concise with your words. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Don't use jargon unless you're sure each member of the committee will understand you. Also avoid cliché and padding. Stick to the facts and the points you want to make. If you're writing a letter of recommendation about someone, be honest. Don't exaggerate someone's accomplishments beyond what the person is capable of doing.

7 Keep it Brief

Keep the letter as short as possible. There is no ideal length, but a letter to a committee should contain everything you want to say and no more. Letters that consist of many pages rarely impress committee members. If you have lengthy information you want to tell the committee, consider putting it in a separate appendix to the letter.

8 Summarize Your Points

End the letter with a brief summary of your points. You don't necessarily have to do this. If you have written about a complex matter, however, the committee members may appreciate a summary.

9 Proofread Carefully

Type your letter on a computer, and use a spelling and grammar checker. Keep a record of your letter in an appropriate file.

Kevin Watson has been a full-time writer and copy editor since 2006. He specializes in UK business and technology, and his articles include an award-winning piece for "Communicator" magazine. Watson is a qualified technical writer. He also has a master's degree in strategic management from Middlesex University.