What Are Motivational Letters?

Frédérique Voisin-Demery/CC-BY 2.0

Motivational letters or letters of encouragement are designed to stimulate the reader to take action to fix a specific problem outlined in the letter. These letters are frequently part of an effort to raise funds or recruit volunteer participants. Cover letters that accompany a resume are also sometimes referred to as motivational letters.

A typical motivational letter is sent to a contact list that had already indicated an interest in the organization. It outlines a need or a problem, a way for the reader to satisfy the need and maintains a positive tone. A traditional format is, “We are very excited about our upcoming event to benefit the ABC Charity. There are still opportunities to sponsor the main events for a nominal fee. All proceeds support the ABC Charity. We hope to see you at the event and that you consider becoming a sponsor.” The tone should remain upbeat while encouraging the reader to get involved. The term “motivation letter” is also used when referring to a cover letter that accompanies an employment application. These letters are tailored very specifically to reflect why the applicant would be an ideal fit for the position, and while they remain concise, they are meant to be persuasive.