How to write a successful motion

A motion is a formal request for action or to express a point of view. Clearly and succinctly state what specific action is desired. Do not make the organization’s members guess your point. Do not include justification within the motion. Use as few words as possible to express the action desired.

Use active, not passive voice.

Support your position. Include statutes, rules, other motions, or other supportive information. Be specific. Attach relevant supporting documents.

In the description, it is not necessary, but you may want to include information against your position (if any) along with the supporting information. Provide the argument as to why your position overcomes objections.

Take the time to get the motion right. Edit, put aside, read again, have someone else review, if possible. Check for accuracy, spelling, grammar, punctuation, smooth transitions, and clarity.
Avoid overstating the case. Avoid hyperbole. State the facts without excessive editorializing. Avoid ad hominem personal attacks. Use standard English and avoid idiomatic speech.

Avoid writing motions as resolutions. Resolutions should be reserved for very important or formal ceremonial situations. Resolutions contain a list of “Whereas” paragraphs and “Resolved” with the action decided at the end. Do not overcomplicate a proposal with a resolution unless it is clearly necessary. Binding resolutions are reserved for resolutions that are themselves intended to become law.

Be accurate. Be prepared to support any and all assertions.

Indicate whether the motion will require any expense and if so, justify the expense and describe the source of funding.

Include the names(s) of persons, positions, or groups who will be responsible for carrying out the desired action.

Imagine yourself as the recipient of the information. What would your response be?

Sample format

Motion: I move to (action verb).

Description and justification
List changes
Current condition
Desired condition
Cost and funding source or cost saving estimate
Effective date, if not immediate upon passage
Attached supporting document(s)

Once written, post in the current month’s Motions in the LPF Forums > Executive Committee > (current year) Minutes, Agendas, and Motions > (current month) > Motions Current Month