How to write a resignation letter from a board of directors

Updated February 21, 2017

Resigning from the board of directors of any organisation requires tact and an understanding of how to minimise potential discomfort. A resignation can result from a mutual agreement that leaves good feelings on both sides, such as when a person has other opportunities that conflict with the board position. Other resignations may be less pleasant. For example a forced resignation from the other board members, or a belief from the resignee that the board and organisation are going in the wrong direction.

Set the margins of the page to 1 inch on the right and left, and 1.5 inches on the top.

Type your name and complete address in the upper right hand corner of the page. Break the address into separate lines for your name and street address. The city, state and zip code go on the third line together. Skip a line.

Type the current date in the Month, day, year format. Skip a line.

Type the inside address with the complete name of the person to whom you are writing, the business, and the business address. Break the address into separate lines for the recipient's name, the business name and street address. The city, state and zip code go on the fourth line together. Skip a line.

Direct the salutation to the Chairperson of the Board. Use the format, "Dear [First Name if semi-formal]" or "Dear [Mr. Last Name if formal]." Do not use the quotation marks or brackets.

Place a colon after the salutation. Skip a line. State in the first sentence the intent to resign and the effective date. If any last business needs to be taken care of then include your plans in the first paragraph. Skip a line.

Give thanks for the opportunities in the second paragraph. Include a positive statement about the organisation and your experience. Skip a line.

Explain your reason for leaving in the third paragraph. Be brief and positive. If there is disagreement with the board over an issue or if the board is requesting a resignation then simply state that you are sorry that things did not work out as well as hoped for. This is not a time to bring up issues that have already been discussed and disagreed upon. Skip a line.

Provide contact information in the next paragraph if you wish further communications. Skip a line.

Close with a desire in the final paragraph that all be well with the board and organisation in it's future endeavours. Skip a line.

Add a complimentary close such as "Sincerely" on the far left margin. Place a comma after the complimentary close. Skip 2 lines.

Type your name at the far left margin. Sign your name.


If there is an ongoing dispute or situation that has yet to be resolved you can include an addendum on a separate sheet that covers the material. Note the addendum on the original letter. Both the letter and addendum become part of the official record of the board of directors so be cautious of using intemperate words or levelling accusations that may be grounds for legal action. Business letters do not use indented paragraphs.

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About the Author

Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.