Always begin contact with a polite introduction. I usually try to keep it short and sweet, while simultaneously packing in a good amount of information about myself.
"Aloha! I'm Allison, a senior at Hawaii Pacific University, pursuing a double major in Math Education and Computer Science."Reason
Although it is common in many cultures to spend a great deal of time socializing prior to getting down to the nitty-gritty of business, Americans tend to prefer direct, concise communication. When I give my reason for initiating contact, I try to keep it to one or two sentences. It is important to be both clear and complete in these phrases.
"In my software engineering course this semester, I have been asked to reach out to the community and work with a local non-profit. I was wondering if your organization has any technological needs that might be fulfilled by software development."Connection
Once you have stated your reason for contacting your target organization, I recommend giving available times as well as contact information, allowing effortless scheduling of your first meeting.
"I would love to speak with you regarding any ideas you might have. I am available Tuesday and Thursday after 1 PM, and can be reached most quickly via cell: ###-###-####.Closing
Again, the closing should be polite and succinct.
"Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to meeting with you!