Writing Partnership Letters and Agreements might not be your forte. That said, if you work as a nonprofit director or program staff, you know writing is part of the job.

Specifically when dealing with partnerships and grants, there are some key documents that play a central role to the success of your project.

We hope that today’s quick tips on partnership letters and agreements will offer some clarity:

Letter of Support

These are the most simple in our list of letters. They are used to express your….yep …you got it…SUPPORT for another community partner’s project/ initiative.

Typically one page or less, this letter confirms that there is a valid need and/or interest in the project and extends a statement of support. While it is helpful to outline specific contributions to the initiative such as willingness to refer clients, assist with PR, or offer a specific service, this letter is “generally specific” at best. These letters are almost always drafted to add value to a specific request for funding. 

Partnership Letter

Typically these letters are written to satisfy requirements for a grant request and a simple statement of support is not enough. Because these letters are often created to share with a donor, they should clearly reflect a commitment to work collaboratively to reach specified goals. Partnership letters should include brief statements addressing the following: 

  1. Commitment to partnership/initiative
  2. Confirm the need for the project
  3. History of prior successful partnership or why a new partnership is a great fit
  4. Commitment to a project as it relates to specific roles, responsibilities and resources
  5. Closing assurances and contact information
Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)/Memorandum of Understanding

These terms can be used interchangeably and in the nonprofit world reflect a strategic agreement between partner organizations. MOAs/MOUs tend to be written for the partnering organizations rather than the donor. While these agreements are most often drafted to outline partnership goals and norms, they might also be used as supporting documents in a grant proposal. Effective MOAs/MOUs should include the following:

  1. Purpose/Goal of partnership
  2. Key players
  3. Roles and responsibilities of each partner
  4. Joint roles and responsibilities
  5. Fiscal agreements/policies
  6. Leadership
  7. Communication and follow-up
  8. Partnership Norms- values, conflict resolution, sharing data/impact, PR
  9. Process for amending or canceling MOA/MOU
  10. Time frame of partnership
  11. Signatures of authorized individuals
Sub-contract Agreement

These formal documents may involve a community partner who has a vested interest in your project or a qualified contract professional hired to provide a service. Sub-contract agreements are often less detailed in HOW goals will be accomplished. Instead, more focus is placed on goals, financial agreements, expected timelines, completion, and quality assurance. These documents should be drafted and signed with care since they are intended to be legally binding. They usually require approval from an executive staff member or board of directors. Some organizations and grant donors might even request a notary’s signature on the agreement.

Partnership Letters and Agreements should be concise, clear, and realistic (We offer a Document Review Service for Nonprofits that need an extra set of expert eyes to review key documents). We hope today’s snapshot was helpful. Check out our YouTube Channel as we have various playlists related to various Nonprofit organization topics. 

Fiscal Sponsors: Ministry Programs and Partnerships

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Sponsor or Partner? Giving the Relationship a Label

As always, Keep Growing for Good!