How To Write an Email Requesting Something in 6 Steps

Updated September 30, 2022

Writing an email is a professional and convenient way to request something you need. Understanding how to effectively request something through email can help you create persuasive and effective messages. In this article, we discuss the reasons to write an email to request something, offer steps to help you write your email and provide tips and an example to use as a guide.

Related: Business Request Letter: Definition and Example

Why write an email to request something?

Writing an email to request something can be a professional and courteous way to ask for resources you need or want in your career. There are several instances in which you might need to request something during your career and many individuals to whom you may send your requests. Using email as a method of making requests can help to ensure that you:

  • Clearly communicate all necessary items of your request

  • Record your request in writing for future follow-up

  • Organize your communications

  • Include any supplementary documents needed to fulfill your request

  • Express your appreciation and gratitude

Related: How To Write a Request for Information (With an Example)

How to write an email requesting something

Consider the following steps for how to write an email requesting something:

1. Organize your request

Before writing your email, it may be beneficial to organize your thoughts concerning your request. Depending on the request, the types of considerations you make may vary. To better understand the nature of your request, try writing down the benefits of having your request fulfilled and the steps that need to happen in order to complete it. You can also use this preparation time to gather any supplemental documents you may need in order to strengthen your case.

2. Write an approachable subject line

Once you feel ready to write your email, begin with an approachable subject line. Do your best to summarize the contents of your email in a single sentence. You can also use the subject line as more of a generic greeting to create a tone of friendliness and encourage your recipient to open the email and learn more about its contents.

Related: Requesting To Work From Home: What To Include and 5 Email Examples

3. Begin with a formal salutation

Next, you can greet your recipient. In order to maintain a tone of professionalism, it's important to begin your email with a formal salutation to the reader. Examples of formal salutations include:

  • Dear [name of recipient]

  • Good morning

  • Good afternoon

  • To whom it may concern

  • Hello [name of recipient]

  • Greetings

Beginning your email with this way can help to ensure the reader of your professional motivations, establish trust and create a pleasant first impression, which may increase the chances of your request's fulfillment.

4. Express your request

You may use the first paragraph of the body of your email to express the nature of your request. It may be beneficial to use the first sentence or two to demonstrate your appreciation of your recipient's consideration or to express your admiration of their work before making your complete request. If you don't have an existing relationship with your recipient, it's important to introduce yourself in this section of your email. Include your full name, job title and organization.

Then, in clear and concise sentences, try to fully explain your request. Be sure to include all the details your recipient may need in order to fulfill your request and mention any supplementary documents you may have attached to the email.

5. Include benefits for the recipient

You can use the next paragraph of your email to explain the benefits the recipient may receive from fulfilling your request. This step is an important part of securing your request, as your reader may be more likely to comply if they feel they're receiving something of value in exchange. In two to four sentences, try to highlight the personal or professional gains your reader may receive after complying with your request.

6. Conclude with a call to action

You may conclude your email with a clear call to action. A call to action is the step you wish your recipient to take after reading your email. Depending on the nature of your request, your call to action may vary. To emphasize your call to action, you may use the last sentence of the body of your email to clearly state next steps toward complying with your request. Then, be sure to close your email with a friendly sign-off, such as:

  • Sincerely

  • All the best

  • Regards

  • Warmly

  • Thank you

It's also important to include your contact information at the end of your email. This can include your full name, job title, department, organization and phone number or alternate email address. Providing this information can help to ensure interested parties can contact you for further discussion.

Related: How To Draft an Interview Request Letter

Tips for writing an email requesting something

Below are some additional tips to help you write an email requesting something:

Focus on the recipient

Focusing on your recipient can be a powerful persuasive tool when writing an email to request something. Whenever possible, try to emphasize the benefits of complying with your request. Doing so can make your request seem less like a chore and more like a mutually beneficial task, which may increase your chances of successfully receiving the things you need.

Include additional documents

It's important to include the necessary documents for your request. These could include resumes, portfolios, sales proposals, presentations, billing statements, grant applications or informational brochures. Supplementary documents can help add credibility to your request and could provide your reader with the necessary information they need to successfully comply.

Provide proof of need

Providing proof of need is another valuable tool of persuasion to use in your email. This is especially useful when your request involves donations or volunteer work. Expressing your organization's level of need for your request, and how it can positively impact your work, community and recipient, can help persuade your reader to fulfill your request.

Express appreciation

Showing your gratitude and appreciation is an important part of being polite and professional. Maintaining good manners and a professional attitude throughout your correspondence can help you create and preserve positive relationships. These relationships can be useful in the future. For example, if your recipient cannot presently fulfill your request but felt you were approachable, polite and professional, they may provide you with assistance in the future when they have the ability to do so.

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Example of an email requesting something

Below is an example of a successful email requesting something:

Dear Ms. Smith,

My name is Jane Thompson, and I'm head of the fundraising department with Nurses for Nutrition. We're a nonprofit focused on providing food and nutritional education to impoverished communities across the country. I'm writing to you today because I believe the values and mission of your company closely align with our quest to close the nutrition gap and end hunger for so many in this county. We're currently accepting donations in the form of corporate giving grants, and I'd love to set up a time to discuss how giving to our organization could benefit your company.

The corporations we partner with receive recognition on all of our public platforms, including our website, which receives over 300,000 views per day. In addition to making an impact in your local community, enrolling in our corporate giving program can help your company create a positive brand image, increase brand awareness and enjoy the benefits of being associated with a credible, reputable and admirable nonprofit like Nurses for Nutrition.

If you're interested in speaking more about this opportunity, please respond with a few dates and times you're available for a phone call. We thank you for taking the time to read this email and for your consideration.

Jane Thompson
Head of Fundraising, Nurses for Nutrition

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