NCIL Guide to Resolution Writing

Developed by: Maris Burton

A resolution, according to Robert’s Rules of Order 1990 9th Edition, is a motion that is so lengthy, important or complex that it is offered in writing. A resolution consists of three parts: the heading, the preamble, and the operative clause.

The heading contains where the resolution was introduced, the subject or topic of the resolution and who the sponsor(s) of the resolution is / are.

The preamble is used to give a brief history or background of the problem or issue that is being addressed. It may cite precedents, agreements, or a specific part of a law. The preamble almost always begins with “Whereas” followed by a comma.

The preamble is followed by the operative clause or clauses. This tells the reader what action the committee should take to solve the problem set up in the preamble. This should be the strongest part of the resolution.

An example of the resolution format:

Whereas, The… [text of first preamble clause];

Whereas, … [text of the next to last preamble clause]; and

Whereas, … [text of last preamble clause];

Be it Therefore Resolved, …That [stating action to be taken];

Resolved, That… [stating further action to be taken]

As stated in Robert’s rules “There are several variations on this format, however all formats must have a heading, preamble clause(s) and operative clause(s). The preamble is one long sentence without any periods. Each paragraph closes with a semicolon, after which a connecting expression such as ‘therefore”, or “therefore, be it”, or “now, therefore, be it” is sometimes added. When one of these phrases is included, no punctuation should follow it, and it should always be placed at the end of the preamble paragraph, never at the beginning of the resolving paragraph, thus:

Whereas, The… [text of preamble]; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That… [state action to be taken].”

Remember to focus your energy on the action you want taken (operative clause), not the background information (preamble).