It may be helpful for your company to formalise the arrangements you have with your charity partners through an agreement to help clarify the activities and benefits for all involved. An agreement like this isn’t meant to be a definitive, detailed project plan (which you may have in addition to this), but an overview of the partnership that will act as a guide. There are lots of benefits:
Accountability and responsiblity
- It creates trust between your organisations
- Both parties agree about what they’re setting out to achieve
- There’s agreement on the commitment, resources and other activities that each party will bring to the partnership
- Misunderstandings are less likely
- Major changes can’t be made without joint agreement
- Any issues or disputes can be easier to tackle, as you have a joint place to start discussions from
- You’re more likely to fully deliver the outcomes of the partnership
- You can be evaluated and build upon those outcomes, creating a stronger partnership over time
- You can safeguard the partnership in the case of staff changes or other transition periods
- Both you and your charity partner can properly plan activities and budgets knowing that time, resources and financial support are agreed and secured
The content of your agreement is entirely up to the parties involved – there’s no one size fits all. Its length, language, formality and level of detail will depend on the complexity of the partnership and the preference of the parties.
It’s important to note that it isn’t a legally binding document but rather a statement of intent, agreed voluntarily by equal partners. If there’s a significant level of funding involved, or reputational risk is at stake, you might want to take legal advice in preparing or reviewing the agreement.
Naming the document
A ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU) is preferred by some as its generally understood in the UK to be a non-legal agreement and is often used within the charity sector. The word ‘partnership’ can have a specific legal meaning with legal implications, so some organisations using of the term in a signed agreement. However, you could include a disclaimer, as shown in the template. Another option to name the document could be a ‘Joint Working Agreement’.