How to Write an Informative Letter

Use a friendly tone in an informative letter.

Informative letters are often used in business, government and school. These letters might provide instructions, outline job responsibilities, detail safety precautions or notify recipients of policies and events. Informative letters are not meant to persuade or entertain, so their language is brief and concise. When possible, print the letter with a computer printer on a clean sheet of letter-size copy paper or use your letterhead stationary. A good informative letter follows a few basic guidelines.

Research the subject thoroughly. If writing about an event, gather facts about the schedule, presenters, time, cost and location. For a letter about new policies, research past practices, changes in the policies and the impact the changes will have on the recipients. Organize the information into a logical order. Describe an event, for example, in chronological order.

Print your return address and current date at the top of the paper. Identify the recipient’s name and address, including salutations, such as Mr., Ms. or Dr., and include the recipient’s job title if you are writing to them in that capacity. If writing to a group of people, such as parents of a team, do not list all of their names and addresses, but instead identify the recipients as a group in the greeting portion of the letter.

State the topic of the letter just below the recipient’s address using the abbreviation “Re” for “Regarding”, for example: “Re: Vacation Policy”. If your relationship with the recipient is formal, use a greeting such as: “Dear Mr. Doe”. If you don’t know the name of your recipient, write “Dear Sir or Madam”. If writing to a group of parents, write: “Dear Parents”.

Write an introduction to your topic in the first paragraph by identifying yourself, the subject and why it is important to you and the recipient. Give an overview of the points you will be making in the letter. Use active verbs, rather than the passive voice. Use “I” and “you” as long as it is not accusatory or overly informal.

Start each subsequent paragraph with a main point and expand on that point in the rest the paragraph. If a paragraph runs long, consider breaking it down into two or more paragraphs. Use bullet points or brief headings to make the letter easier to read.

Summarize your information in the last paragraph. Include details about how the reader can contact you, such as appointment times or a phone number. Thank the reader. Sign off with “Sincerely,” followed by your handwritten signature. Type or print your name below your signature. If enclosing additional materials, a few spaces below your name print the word “Enclosures:” or the abbreviation “Enc.:” followed by a few words describing the additional materials.

Janice Tingum has been writing professionally since 1979. She is the author of the biography "E.B. White: The Elements of a Writer" and her articles have appeared in “Lady’s Circle” and “Today’s Christian Woman” magazines. Tingum also paints and writes art instruction ebooks.