Asking for help in an email can feel pretty heavy – but trust us, it’s not that hard.
When writing an email asking for help, you must clearly explain what you want, why, and when.
This article describes when to ask for help in an email, the essential parts of every help request email, and provides 4 email samples and a template.
Follow our advice, and you’ll get all the help you need!
Should you ask for help in an email?
You may need help moving a shelf, writing a CV, choosing a car, or anything else. There are no rules about what you can ask for help and how.
Some people suggest you always do it in person, but this isn’t possible in many cases. You may not be in the same company or country, or you may be separated by time zones or even speak different languages.
Emails are quick to write, easy to send, and free – but there are additional benefits, including:
- You can provide precise details (date, time, and specifics relating to your request)
- It’s easier for the person to say no if they want or need to
- You can send the same request to several people (be careful to check the names!)
- It can save the embarrassment that some people feel asking for help in person
The benefits are obvious, so let’s show you how to write effective emails asking for help.
How to write an email asking for help
Writing emails requesting help is expected; it’s the basis for a learning module from the British Council. They’ve done this because we’ll all need to ask for a helping hand at some point in our personal and professional lives.
While we salute the British Council for their promotion of how to write messages asking for help, we’re not too impressed with their email help template (sorry, British Council). Their emails are fairly long and beat around the bush when a simple, straightforward, and basic email is much more effective.
Don’t worry; we illustrate our approach in the 4 email help samples below. But before we get to that, here are 5 basic principles for writing the best help emails:
- Be clear and concise – Time is tight, and life is short, so don’t waste it by writing long emails. Instead, the best help emails are clear, concise, and short.
- Make the request upfront – Isn’t it annoying having to read through paragraphs of text to find out what you want to know? Don’t be this person. Be upfront about what you want in your help request messages. Most people will appreciate this!
- Don’t assume favors – You’re asking for help, but there should never be an expectation it will be given. This means you must consider your tone at all times. Also, if your request is big, you should give people an easy get-out. Never assume someone can help you.
- Provide all details – Use lists, bullet points, and bold text to specify exactly what you want. Make it as simple and easy as possible for people to do what you want them to do.
- Don’t forget to say thank you (if they can help you or not!) – It sounds crazy, but in many cases, people can forget to say thanks. In our examples, we offer a compliment upfront and then say thanks several times to ensure the message gets through.
Asking for help email format
The email format used to ask for help should be familiar if you’ve ever written an email before.
To make it as simple as possible, we’ve split it into three sections: the subject line, the body copy, and the ending. Let’s take a look at each section in greater detail:
1. Email subject asking for help
So, what makes a good email subject line asking for help? Using the word help in the subject line is a good start! Like anything in life and business, it’s best to be as clear and upfront as possible, like this:
- Can you help me?
- I need your help
- Are you available to help me?
There’s no way that the meaning of this message will get lost. However, it can appear a little desperate so you can add some extra information, like this:
- Could you help me at my latest event?
- Would you be prepared to read my CV?
- Are you available on (date) to help?
These subject lines are suitable for friends and family and formal requests for colleagues and coworkers. Of course, if you’re emailing a friend or family member, you can be much less formal and funny.
2. Help request email body
So, we’re getting into the details of any help message. We’re fans of being upfront, so just ask for what you want.
- I’m getting in touch to ask for your help.
Is this effective? Absolutely. If you’ve not met the person before, haven’t spoken in a while, or want to add some extra sweetness to the message, here’s how:
- We haven’t chatted in a while. How are things? I know you’re really busy, but I wanted to ask if you could help me with (insert details). I wouldn’t usually ask, but you’re 100% the best person for the job!
Whichever route you take, you’ll need to add more details, including what you’re asking the person to do and why.
- I’m getting in touch to ask for your help. I’m arranging an event on (date) and looking for people to work with us on the stand. Is this something you can do?
Next, provide details about the request.
- If you can help, here’s what I need you to do.
- We love bullet points
It can be a good idea to provide people with an easy get-out. Sometimes they may be unable to help you for genuine reasons, or they may choose not to help you. Either way, it’s a good idea to offer an out.
- I appreciate this is a lot to ask, so there are no hard feelings if you can’t help me this time.
3. How to end an email asking for help
Ending an email asking for help follows a familiar format. You’ll want to include your contact details and, in most cases, provide a deadline for a response.
- Thanks for reading this far; I appreciate it. Can you help me? My contact details are below. I’m already putting the team together for the event and will need to if you want to join us by (date).
Finish with a polite ending (thank you, kind regards, cheers, etc.), your name and signature and you’re done.
Ask for help in email examples
By now, it should be clear that writing help emails isn’t too hard. Here we bring it to life with some samples.
These provide an excellent introduction to the basics, but as always, you must edit and adapt these.
As previously mentioned, in many cases, you’ll want to ask several people for help, so always check all names, dates, and contact details!'
1. How to ask for help politely in an email sample
Asking for help politely in an email is as simple as this sample. We start with a positive greeting and get straight into the details.
This sample asking for help follows all our basic rules and advice above.
2. How to offer help at work via email sample
In this example, we offer help to someone who needs it. This could be helping at an event (as above), offering to read a job application, or dealing with domestic issues.
The structure is obviously slightly different, but the core of the messages – an intro, body copy, and end remains the same. See how it works in this email offer to help.
3. Happy to help email sample
If someone has asked for help, how do you respond? Here’s one option, that says you’re happy to help!
A happy-to-help email could literally say just that, but we add more details about dates and levels of support. You’ll see what we mean in this happy-to-help sample.
4. Ask a colleague for help email sample
It’s common to ask a colleague for help, but it’s not always easy. You may be making a sensitive request or dealing with someone stressed, so we’ve kept this as simple as possible.
You’ll also see that we’ve provided opportunities for the person to say no if they simply don’t have the time.
Ask for help email template
The samples provide context for common email help requests, but what happens if your circumstances are different? You can use this help email template. We’ve produced a basic help email message that you can cut, paste, and adapt to your specific circumstances. Have fun with this ask for help email!
Email template asking for help with Flowite
Flowrite is an AI writing assistant that turns your instructions into ready-to-send emails and messages, like this:
Our Chrome extension covers the email format, capitalization, grammar, spelling, punctuation.
In other words, you can focus on the message, and Flowrite will take care of the delivery. We dare to claim that it's the easiest way to request something in an email.
Our email template collection features dozens of templates to help you. To grasp how easy is is to write an email asking for something by using Flowrite, check out an example of how to use our all-purpose general template below:
It’s hard to ask for help, but never be afraid to do so. The structure, samples, and templates here should provide a guide but go with your feelings.
Be clear, say what you need, and feel free to demonstrate vulnerability. People will respond positively to a genuine request and in most cases, will offer to help.
We hope we’ve helped you get the help you need.
Supercharge your communication with Flowrite
Write emails and messages faster across Google Chrome.
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