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Strategic Partnerships - What You Need To Do First

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

Strategic partnerships can greatly enhance a nonprofit in many ways. Let’s face it. “We” is better than “Me”! Partnerships can improve your ability to change lives through program enhancements, reduce administrative costs and show your donors that you work well with others in your community. Collaboration is a beautiful thing! After all, we are building a Kingdom, not an Empire.

Are you considering a strategic partnership with another nonprofit?

If so, I recommend having both parties sign an MOU (memorandum of understanding). We all have good intentions, but nonprofits can be messy sometimes. An effective MOU prevents misunderstandings and disputes by clarifying the expectations of the partners. There are a number of elements that should be covered in your MOU. Since each project and its partners are unique, the following suggestions – provided by the Nonprofit Risk Management Center – are to serve as an example. 

As with any contract, it is critical to obtain legal counsel before obligating your nonprofit.

  • Overall Intent: Begin with a brief description of the overall intent of the parties.

  • The Parties: The next clause in an MOU describes the parties to the agreement.

  • The Period: Specify a time period for the partnership with start and end dates.

  • Assignments/Responsibilities: This important section of the MOU describes the duties and responsibilities of each partner.

  • Disclaimers: Typically an MOU will contain one or more disclaimers.

  • Financial Arrangements: A typical partnership will have financial implications.

  • Risk Sharing: Another critical element of an MOU is a description of who will bear the risk of a mishap.

  • Signatures: A representative from each partner with authority to bind their organizations contractually should sign the MOU.

Learn more about nonprofit collaboration and strategic partnerships by downloading the toolkit below.


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