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What do I include in an email to a specific target?

It can be hard to know exactly how to get started when contacting a key decision maker or organisation about an issue you are passionate about.

To help you get started, below is a checklist of things you might want to include to ensure you get your target’s attention in a concise and effective way.

(This template has been kept broad so that it can apply to many different issues.)

Dear [name, Sir/Madam etc.]  (First things first, ensure you use the correct salutation)

Why have you been prompted to write?

Let them know what caused you to write to them about this issue. Was it in response to a documentary, public statement, boycott, news article etc.? This will help to make your email relevant to current news.

Who/what is this issue affecting and what are the consequences?

Next, state exactly why you are concerned, include as much detail as you can but write this as concisely as possible. This person/organisation will probably read a lot of emails, so you need to make sure they will have time to get to the important details in yours quickly.

Who are you writing on behalf of?

Mention if you are writing on the behalf of others who are concerned or if you are writing personally.  If you are writing in a personal capacity, you may want to mention here who else might be interested in or affected by this issue.

Back up your argument with some facts and figures:

If you have some facts, make sure to include them - it’s hard to argue with facts!

Detail exactly what action you would like this individual or organisation to take:

For example,

If they are an MP: State their official position, influence a Minister, grant you a meeting to discuss the issue etc.

If they are a company: discontinue an unethical product line or ingredient, remove an individual or partner company with unethical practices, remove suppliers with unethical ties etc. 

Why should they care about this issue enough to do something about it?

Talk about the positive outcomes of combatting this issue, how and who will it impact?

Thank them for their time and, if necessary, provide further contact details.

Close your email with:

Warm/Kind regards,
[Your name and, if appropriate, your title and organisation]