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Proposing an Idea to….
I. A Decision Maker at Your School
II. A Decision Maker Beyond Your School (Direct Pitch)
III. A Subordinate to a Decision Maker Who Can Forward Your Message to the Decision Maker (Indirect Pitch)
IV. Follow Up Emails (If You Don’t Hear Back)


I. A Decision Maker Within Your School:

*Always personalize whenever possible.

EMAIL TITLE: Idea for (activity name)

Hi ____________,

0. If you don’t really know this person and feel you need to formally introduce yourself, share a little bit about yourself at the beginning:

My name is ______ and I am a (grade level). (Cite any points of commonality, i.e. where you may have crossed paths or share similar interests to immediately make the person feel more connected to you). (Then explain why you’re so passionate about your activity, to show why you’re connected in spirit).

1. Deliver a very personalized compliment; open with appreciation and gratitude. This will make them feel obliged to reciprocate with kindness and reply to you.

One thing I really admire about the way you (insert verb) in (activity name) is _____.

2. Share that you’ve taken notice of a problem or opportunity that you’ve identified:

I’m reaching out because, over the past (specify a duration of time), I’ve noticed that _________. It got me thinking that there could be an opportunity in ________.

3. Make your direct pitch.

Because this could lead to something that can be implemented as soon as ________ (or continued into the summer for anyone who is personally interested), I am very motivated to explore this possibility before (cite any upcoming events or anything that can be used to create a sense of urgency. It could even be the upcoming weekend or by the middle or the end of the month). Would you be open to us speaking over a (choose one or more to propose: phone call, FaceTime, Zoom call, Skype call). I would love to get your opinion and see what the possibilities are.




II. A Decision Maker Beyond Your School

*Always personalize when possible.

[When You Are Not Pitching to the Key Decision Maker, But You Want Your Idea Passed On]

This is an email written by a girl who was a teen ambassador at a This is an email written by a girl who was inquiring to be an editor for an online literary magazine for high school students. However, rather than just being an editor, we included a pitch to see if the organization had room for her to organize interactive, creative writing groups among young writers (an entirely new and fresh idea). 

Hi _______,

1. Opening statement of good will. Then, introduce yourself.

I hope you’re doing well. I am a junior at ______ High School who serves as an editor for my magazine and yearbook at my school. I recently signed up to be an editor at Polyphony Lit and I am planning on completing the online class soon. I am very excited about this opportunity.

2. Make your pitch.

Additionally, I am passionate about building communities of writers who can share ideas, collaborate, and give feedback. Therefore, I was wondering if there was a similar opportunity I could explore with Polyphony Lit to organize young, creative writers in this way. For example, virtual mastermind groups or creative writing workshops where students can meet each other and provide feedback and support as we develop our unique styles and voices. Does PolyPhonyLit already have a program like this? And if not, is there a possibility I could help create one?

Thank you so much, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you!



III. A Subordinate to a Decision Maker Who Can Forward Your Message to a Decision Maker

This is an email written by a girl who was a teen ambassador at a Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) hospital. Here, she is pitching an idea to her supervisor, who doesn’t work in fundraising, to see if she can help her pass an idea to the fundraising department. The goal is for a good idea to be passed up the chain of command. 

Hi _______,

1. Opening statement of good will. Then, state your pitch as a question.

I hope you’re doing well. I was wondering what company CHLA uses to manage the fundraising page. Is it run directly by CHLA or a third party company?

2. Explain the reason you’re asking the question. Note: the person you send this to will most likely forward your email to the decision maker. So remember that you’re writing for your contact as well as the ultimate decision maker in your initial pitch email.

The reason I ask is that private companies charge premiums as middlemen which reduce the amount of money that CHLA would receive from donations (usually 3%). I recently learned that other hospitals are using private companies that charge fees when their current banks already offer free services that allow the donations to be made without fees taken out when people donate and its done directly and securely.

For example, here is a Wells Fargo webpage talking about how they set up donations to be made to the Red Cross via Zelle. https://www.wellsfargo.com/online-banking/transfers/zelle-donate/

This comes without the need to release bank information – people who wish to donate would just send the money to an email address associated with the hospital’s Zelle payment gateway. It eliminates all fees, saving 3% + 30 cents per transaction.

3. State what action you want the reader to take (i.e. who the person should forward your message to).

If CHLA is using a service that charge fees for collecting donations, would you consider forwarding this to whomever works with overseeing fundraisers at the hospital?

Thank you!



IV. Follow Up Emails (If You Don’t Hear Back)

Follow up with a phone call (or another email) reiterating your eagerness and interest if you do not get a response every 48 hours. 48 hours is the standard, acceptable follow up interval in business.

First Follow Up: After 48 Hours

Hi ____________,

Gently following up.


[Your School], Class of 20__

Second Follow Up: After 48 More Hours


Hi ____________,

I hope you’re having a great week! Please kindly let me know. :)*

(*Smilie face optional. It depends on your personal style. But I like it for every email type (except for academic research opportunities). It softens the requested urgency of the matter with a softer, friendlier and less intrusive tone. — David).


[Your School], Class of 20__

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