How to Write a Policy Memo: Writing Guide + Topics

Do you want to try a role of an adviser? Then, you have such a great opportunity when writing a policy memo. Few people know what it is until they face a need to craft this kind of a document. So, what is a policy memo? That is a clear and concise piece of writing, the primary purpose of which is to consider a particular issue from different angles and provide a detailed analysis of the problem. The target audience of a memo is a decision maker, for whom you are going to collect all necessary pieces of information and put them into one puzzle.

Take into account that the decision maker doesn't know about the issue at all or he/she knows little about the problem. Your task is to process the information on the problem and present it effectively. What does this mean? You are allowed to provide the reader not only with the brief description of the problem but also with the recommendations on how to deal with it. You are supposed to give the guidelines and promote the strategy that seems more favorable for the problem solution.

How to Write a Policy Memorandum: Expert Tips

In order to write a policy memo the right way, you need to check the format requirements. Before you get started with the process of memo writing, find out how it differs from the standard pieces of writing. If it is the first time you have faced a need to craft a policy memo, it is not surprising that you have a question “How to write a policy memorandum?” Everyone who is going to write a memo should ask himself/herself this question instead of starting writing it as a simple essay.

There is one major distinctive feature the policy memo structure has. The target audience is one of the key factors influencing the memo content and length. When crafting a memo, you should divide it into separate sections, where each one of them should be dedicated to a certain thought. Following the structure, you should provide the following information in the header: the addresser, the addressee, the date, and the subject of your writing. Then, you are expected to tell about the issue by providing a summary. Include the background information as well.

Policy Memo Format You Should Stick To?

We have already touched upon the structure of the memo above. Now, let's have a closer look at the policy memorandum format. In accordance with the specific memo format, you should follow the guidelines below when writing your policy memo:

  • Write the header line;
  • Start with the engaging sentence;
  • Describe the problem you are going to discuss;
  • Highlight the significance of the issue;
  • Share the pieces of advice on how to deal with the problem effectively;
  • Provide both your arguments and counter-claims against your opinion;
  • Prove that the counterarguments have no ground;
  • Do your best to prove that the solution offered by you is worth attention;
  • Conclude the memo.

Policy Memo Topics: Pick the Best One

Do you lack the policy memo topic ideas? Check the ten best topics below:

  1. The prevention of political conflicts and ways out of them.
  2. Political management and its importance in the management of the modern state.
  3. The effective means of saving money in the country's budget.
  4. The problem of political culture in the history of political thought.
  5. Political norms and value orientations of the modern society.
  6. The necessity to implement budget amendments.
  7. The ways of managing the money so that there are no any debts to other countries.
  8. The tense relationships between Russia and the US.
  9. How to provide poor countries with the sufficient food and water resources?
  10. The necessity to implement a new visa policy.

Policy Memo Outline Sample

Having a detailed well-written policy memo outline, you can be sure that you won't miss anything when composing the final memorandum version. The well-structured outline is a backbone of any paper, and a memo isn't an exception. Because the main requirement for this kind of writing is to demonstrate the transparent flow of thoughts, an outline is of the utmost importance. It is a good idea to have two outlines: a draft and the edited version.

In case, it is the first memo writing in your life, and it will be difficult to formulate your ideas according to the policy memo requirements the first time. So use a draft, which allows having the free flow of thoughts, and then analyze what should be included in your work, what kind of information should be excluded from it because it doesn't add any value. Here, you will find a good memo outline example. You will save much time for crafting your outline if having this one in front of you.

  1. Cover page
  2. Introduction:
    • A summary of the problem;
    • The background information on the issue;
    • The presentation of the justification that the problem is really serious and it requires brainstorming solutions.
  3. An in-depth analysis of the issue
    • Give recommendations on how to deal with the problem;
    • Provide arguments;
    • Present the existing counter-claims;
    • Recommend the best possible solution by the solid evidence.
  4. Mention the limitations of the analysis (Here, you should consider the extent to which the problem has been researched, evaluate the recommended problem solutions concerning their realistic implementation.)
  5. Conclusion (Here, you should write the final decision on the necessity and the possibility of implementation of the suggested options, innovations, technologies, etc. that have been carefully researched).

These are general guidelines for writing a policy outline. When writing your own memo, take into account that your teacher may provide you with the additional specific requirements for your assignment. Depending on the topic and the teacher's instructions, you may be assigned to write either a 1-page memo or the paper consisting of tenths of pages.