1) Possible Legal structures (from the Nonprofit Law Blog)
- Written Contract: enforceable agreement with another party. Written contract stating each party’s obligations and promises. Term of the agreement.
- MOU (memorandum of understanding): where parties don’t want an enforceable agreement. Be careful of the wording so as not to be legally binding.
- Service agreement: one party provides services to another party in exchange for money or some other form of consideration.
- Mutual service agreement: each party commits to performing services, either towards a common class of beneficiaries or toward each other, without a transfer of money.
- License agreement: provides for one party’s right to use certain intellectual property of another party.
- Resource sharing agreement: sharing of office space, equipment, employees. Can trigger issues involving leases, insurance, licenses, permits, employees, and independent contractors.
- Fiscally Sponsored Collaborative: fiscal sponsor owns and is responsible for one specific project, but the parties assign individuals to collectively serve as the steering cmte to the project.
- Partnership: deep collaboration on one particular program, owned by both parties.
- Cross-sector joint venture: nonprofit in partnership with a for-profit, to take advantage of expertise and opportunities such as access to capital.
- Merger: Surviving corporation inherits assets of the disappearing corporation and its liabilities and obligations.
Local Resource: Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, UW-Madison School of Business
2) Standards of Excellence for strategic partnerships (from The Arc)
3) Factors that make collaborations work (from the Foundation Center)
- Start small to set up a stable foundation for partnership work
- Talk … a lot! A partnership is a relationship. Be transparent.
- Set boundaries.
- Share resources, assets, connections.
- Go on a journey with your partners.
4) Developing a contract or written agreement for your nonprofit collaboration (from the Foundation Center)
5) Planning for Strategic Alliances (from Bridgespan)