write a memo
Bad News Memo Assignment
For this assignment, you are an assistant to Gloria Emmanuel, the founder and director of the MEND-Meet Each Need with Dignity, a public health advocacy and education organization which serves the population of the west San Fernando Valley. Your duties are many and varied, but among them is carrying out communications for Ms. Emmanuel and organization.
First opening in the 1970’s, MEND has grown primarily by word of mouth into one of the leanest operating non-profit organizations in existence. More than 94% of the support and donations received by MEND provides emergency food, clothing, medical, vision and dental care, services for the homeless, job skills training and job placement assistance, English as a Second Language classes, and youth activities. Ms. Emmanuel believes strongly in her mission and works hard, but the organization is not well known in the area, and sometimes the lack of donations makes it difficult to serve the population who would benefit from its services. MEND has one other part-time employee besides you; Miguel Abdulian, who helps with event planning, computer technology, and various logistical functions. In addition to the three paid employees, MEND has 10 volunteers who work various amounts of time each week, helping with tasks such as leading client support groups, community outreach, preparing education materials, translation, and other duties as needed.
Ms. Emmanuel likes to hold monthly, hour-long meetings for employees and volunteers; she uses the time to reinforce the mission of the organization, answer questions, and make sure volunteers are following protocols. The time is also used for brainstorming, new ideas, etc.
Unfortunately, over the last few months you and Ms. Emmanuel have noticed that nearly everyone has their phones out for at least part of the meeting time. As a result, it’s hard to finish on time because things have to be repeated; volunteers are missing important information resulting in inefficient or inaccurate client service, which in turn makes MEND look bad. In addition, the lack of attention is getting Ms. Emmanuel (and other participants) down. She thinks she needs to set a new “no technology” policy for meetings, and she’s asked you to write a memo to accomplish this goal.
While the memo will deliver what will probably be regarded as bad news, it must still be persuasive—your audience has the added level of complication that they are volunteers—make them mad, and they may go away. So the task ask at hand is to announce the policy, yes—but more importantly, persuade the readers to agree and go along with it.
The final memo will go out with Ms. Emmanuel’s name on it, so the tone and style should befit the director of an organization, and reflect her persona—Ms. Emmanuel has never been the warm and fuzzy type. The memo should also follow the guidelines outlined in your text, be single-spaced, error-free, and carefully proofed before submission. Multiple drafting is highly recommended as part of your writing process.