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All Purpose Letter Writing
The letter below
is based on the AIDA formula. The letters in the acronym
stand for ATTENTION, INTEREST, DESIRE, and ACTION. The formula is useful
when applied to any kind of writing.
Keeping this formula in mind and using the following
outline as a quick reference, you will have no trouble writing effective
letters for every purpose.
Date (Month, Day, Year)
Name of Recipient, Title
Name of Company/Organization
Street Address or P.O. Box
City, State, Zip Code
Salutation (Dear NAME)
Opening. . . A brief
greeting or introduction if needed. Many letters do not need an opening.
P1. ATTENTION – Gain the
reader’s immediate attention by stating the purpose of the letter. Why
are you writing? Get to the point.
P2. INTEREST – Maintain
the reader’s interest by stating why you’re writing to him or her. How
is your reader related to your purpose?
P3. DESIRE – Arouse the
reader’s desire to respond to your letter. What’s “in it” for the
reader? What’s the reader going to gain by responding to your letter?
P4. ACTION – What exactly
do you want the reader to do? How? When? Where? If you’re asking for
money, how much? Or, what action are you going to take on behalf of the
reader? In other words, how are you or the reader supposed to fulfill
the purpose of this letter?
Closing. . . In one or two
sentences, restate your purpose in writing and the action desired from
the reader. Then thank your reader for his or her time and response, and
sign off. Many letters don’t need a closing.
Sign Off (Sincerely, Yours
Truly, Cordially, In His Service, etc.),
(If not included on your
letterhead, type your church’s name, complete address, and phone number
(uppercase)/your secretary’s initials (lowercase)