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Maximize Collaborative Impact (Part 1)

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it”. H.E. Luccock

A major goal of the engagement and development of strategic collaborative partnerships is to maximize the positive, significant impact on the communities that we serve. All non- profits strive to make the world a better place. Strategic partnerships expand the depth and breadth of that vision, exponentially. With double the brainpower, double the efforts, and double the resources, it is critical that these energies be directed toward the achievement of the joint vision. Here are a few ways to maximize impact today:

Create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

According to, a memorandum of understanding is a non-binding agreement between two or more parties, which outlines the details of the collaborative endeavor, as well as the roles and responsibilities for each participant. Developing a MOU brings a sense of professionalism and commitment to the strategic collaborative partnership.

When crafting a MOU, consider the following:

1) Identify the legal names of each agency, as well as their respective areas of expertise, in relationship to the joint venture.

2) Describe the collaborative initiative, and outline the objectives for its achievement.

3) If the joint initiative includes providing direct services to clients:

a. Outline the demographic of clients who are appropriate for service, the assessment and referral process, criteria for success, and any other relevant policies and procedures.

4) Clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities for each agency, including the use of respective agency staff and other resources, in accordance with the objectives.

5) Describe the communication flows, reporting and record-keeping requirements and procedures.

6) Identify the anticipated terms, length and methods for evaluation or renewal of the strategic collaborative relationship.

7) Delineate indemnifications, liabilities, and confidentiality assurances for each participating agency.

It is recommended that after crafting a MOU, though non-binding, to have qualified attorney review the document, to ensure that statements are worded correctly, and that there are no substantial omissions of important components of the MOU. For more information on this process, please review A Guide to Memorandum of Understanding & Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

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