Approval emails have a clear purpose: to get a rubber stamp from your boss or sign-off from a key stakeholder.
An approval email provides evidence and an audit trail that your boss (or other person involved) has agreed upon all your decisions.
Writing an email to your boss requesting approval is a basic business skill, but we can show you how to do it better!
We've made it easier to get a yes with our approval request article packed full of expert advice. We explain the main parts of a persuasive message and provide 7 email approval samples suitable for professional use.
How to write an approval request email
Before we get into how to write approval requests, let's define what they are.
An approval request email is a formal message to gain their agreement on a course of action, activity, or decision you have made.
You may have to ask for approval before acting– such as spending company money or agreeing on a contract. In other cases, your approval request may be required, such as submitting an expenses claim, for example.
Approval emails are formal requests for confirmation, so they should be simple and clear to read, understand, and reply to.
They can (and should!) be saved somewhere. Why? Because you may need to refer to them in the future. Keeping your approval emails can avoid embarrassing questions about an expense claim, leave request, contract, or decision.
The best approval emails have a single purpose and should be simple to understand and action.
Approval request email format
The approval email format is standard. If you understand the basics of effective email writing, you'll already know the three core parts:
- Superb subject line
- Compelling body copy
- Straightforward sign-off
Let's look through each of these in more detail to define best business practices.
1. Approval email subject line
Your subject line has to be attention-grabbing, but it must also be concise. (And it must be relevant to the request!) The simplest approach is to be straight up with what you're asking:
- Approval request: Expenses claim (date)
- Can you approve my (details)
- I need your approval for (details)
- Please approve (details)
- Leave request – approval needed
- Contracts are ready – can you approve?
There's no need to get creative here; just stick to the basics. If your request is urgent, it's worth adding an approval date:
- Urgent approval needed for (details)
- Approval needed by (date)
- Please approve by (date)
These may seem less friendly than other emails, but don't worry too much if you're being pushed for a decision.
2. Asking for approval email body
Every email – including approval requests – begins with a basic introduction. Then, you can provide a brief refresh of information if needed. Finally, hit the person up with a clear request.
- I'm contacting you to request approval for my leave request. I wanted to take off (insert dates). Is this OK?
- I have attached a copy of my recent expense claim. Can you review it and approve it, please?
- We've made huge progress on the contract with (customer), and we're ready to sign. Before I send it to them, I wanted to share it with you for your approval.
This is a great start, and in some cases, it may be enough. In other cases, you may need additional details and supporting information, such as deadlines. You can use bullet points to break up emails and make requests easier to understand.
- I wanted to explain some of the expenses in the claim.
- To help you understand some of the changes in this contract, I've listed them below in bullet points:
- (Drop in the details here)
You can also provide supporting information to help people
- I have checked the office calendar and see there's adequate coverage during my proposed leave dates.
3. How to end an email asking for approval
You'll want to focus on using polite language in your professional emails, but don't shy away from a call-to-action (CTA).
- Can you confirm that you have received my email and approved my request?
Next, express gratitude and set out the next steps.
- I appreciate your consideration of this request. Once I've received your approval, I'll share it with (person's name).
- I know you're busy, but it would be great if you could sign off my leave request by (insert date).
Don't forget to add your preferred contact details, a sign-off (kind regards, many thanks, etc.), and your signature.
7 approval request email examples
It's essential you understand how to create approval emails, but using real-life scenarios is an effective way to demonstrate these principles in practice. Here, we share 7 examples of common approval requests.
You'll see how each is tailored to specific situations and captures the professional tone of voice we've talked about previously.
1. Formal request for approval email sample
Formal email requests embody everything we've been talking about. It's written in formal language and a professional tone appropriate for business situations. OK, so it's not the most exciting email – but it's laser-focused on getting a response!
2. Follow-up email for approval sample
If your initial message is ignored, then send an approval follow-up email. These act as a polite reminder of the previous message and include a clear request for a response.
Inaction is an action, so detail the following steps if you receive no response.
3. Seeking approval from boss email sample
When writing to your boss in business, you'll need to nail the professional tone. That means pushing for the answer you need but not upsetting or offending someone.
The key is to provide a clear request for your boss. They're going to be busy, so while it's essential to justify the request, the most effective approval emails are as short as possible.
4. Approval needed reminder email sample
Sometimes you may need to provide a prompt for a reply. A gentle reminder can still contain a clear request for a response. You're emailing for a reason, so explain the urgency of the matter.
5. Request for approval of expenses email sample
Expense claims will need a manager's approval, so be sure to save this sample. This clear and concise request contains details of expenses alongside supporting documentation. This expense approval request email has everything you need to get paid!
6. Sample email for overtime approval
If you're working outside the 9-5 – or, more accurately, your contracted hours – you should be due overtime! You must provide details of the overtime request, including hours and dates worked, alongside a total. Always include an explicit request for approval.
If your overtime hasn't been pre-approved, add a justification for the request (such as an urgent project or customer request).
7. Leave approval request email sample
Holiday request (or leave request) emails or messages must be sent to your manager before booking a trip, holiday, or other activity. Always include details of the days (or weeks) you need off. If your absence could impact the team, mention potential backup if needed.
Approaching your boss with a plan is going to get the best results! We hope you're going somewhere nice...
Approval request email template
If none of the previous request email samples is suitable, this customizable template is for you. It's super-formal, with simple and professional language, which makes it appropriate for various scenarios.
Work through the template from top to bottom, filling in the gaps and deleting unsuitable or irrelevant sections. By the time you reach the end, you'll have a professional approval request that’s right for every purpose.
Asking for approval using Flowrite
Requests for approval can largely be automated with Flowrite. Here's what we mean:
Flowrite is your personal email writing assistant, that uses AI to speed up your messages.
Final words of approval
Approval request emails aren't fun to write. But they have a critical professional function.
Getting approval gives you peace of mind and protection that the decisions you've made (or requests you've made) have been agreed upon. So you can sit back, book your leave, or wait for your expense claims to hit your bank account!
Don't try to be overly friendly or informal. It is crucial to get straight to the point, say it confidently, and be clear. It’s the best way to get the quickest response.
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