How to Write a Letter Requesting Approval

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Receiving approval is the first step to getting your project going.
Receiving approval is the first step to getting your project going. (Image: Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Requesting approval for a project or large purchase can be nerve-wracking and frustrating. However, with the right wording and attitude, you can convince your boss or supervisor to help you get what you need. Research is also key: you must know exactly what you need, know what the impact on your company will be, and be able to explain it in terms that your boss can understand. A specific and well-written request letter can go a long way toward making your idea or project a reality.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Printer

First, research your proposal. Figure out exactly what you need: If you are asking, for instance, for a new company vehicle, research exactly what kind of vehicle you want, how much it will cost, and how it suits the company's needs. Do not make a general statement about what you want your supervisor to approve. He is more likely to decide in your favor if it is clear in your letter that you have made an effort to figure out what is best for the company. More importantly, the more specific you are, the more likely it is that she will be comfortable giving you approval for a project or purchase, because your boss will know exactly what you will do after the approval.

Start by addressing your boss by name and title (for example, Vice President Biden). If by chance you do not know who will be reading the letter, address the letter to the person as their rank (for example, "Dear Commissioner.") If you don't know their title/rank, address the letter with either "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To whom it may concern."

Next, introduce the purchase or proposal that you want to have approved. Try to do this in the first sentence of your letter. This will allow the reader to have a clear idea of what you are proposing right away and give him context for the rest of the letter. This also lets them know that you know exactly what you want.

Next, explain why the action you are proposing should be taken. Even if it seems obvious why a purchase is necessary, explain the reasoning behind it in detail. If your boss does not see a good reason for the action that is proposed in the letter, it will fail. It should only take a few sentences to do this.

Continue by listing all of the reasons that the proposal would be beneficial to your company. It's about what your work will do for the company, not about why you personally think the proposal is important.

Conclude your letter with your name, email address, and phone number and invite the reader to contact you with any questions regarding the letter or the proposal. If applicable, also note the date that you hope that you will have answer to your letter. When you have finished with the letter, it should be no longer than one page unless you have a very good reason to continue on to a second page (such as a very complex proposal that requires lengthy explanation or a long list of reasons as to why your request would be beneficial).

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