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How to write an effective partnership proposal

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A partnership can go a long way toward building a stronger and more cohesive community. Partnership and collaboration can bring stability (both financial and non-financial) while attaining common goals, in addition to propelling your mission forward.

While each organization has its own reasons for collaborating, there are several similar reasons why not-for-profits may want to consider these alternatives.

Partnerships can help organisations to:

  • Maximize cost-saving– Partnerships can reduce operational or even programming expenses by balancing the costs between the collaborating organisation.
  • Create better programs – Organizations can improve their services by combining current programs or creating new ones. Not-for-profits can expand their reach while cutting expenses by utilising a wider net of resources and tools.
  • Effectively deliver – When two (or more) organizations work together to pursue a shared goal, the odds of accomplishing that goal effectively, and even more quickly, increase significantly. Dividing tasks and financial decisions allow individuals in each organization to focus on specific responsibilities.
  • Enhance services – A pool of resources offers organisations an opportunity to strengthen their services and mission. For example, a not-for-profit working to end homelessness can partner up with a foundation that works to provide food and hygiene products to people in need. These two causes go hand in hand as they both focus on the same population and offer complementary services.
  • Become more inclusive – Partnerships open up many doors to allow people from all walks of life and from different cultural backgrounds to band together and create programs that make sure no one gets left behind when availing life-changing services.
  • Increase credibility – Aside from increasing awareness about the cause, working together with other credited foundations allows organisations to build trust within the community they serve and the donors that they want to reach.

According to Hailstone, writing a professional partnership proposal is very similar to writing a grant proposal as both outline organisation’s needs, activities and projected outcomes, provide information on how the grant/partnership will impact sales and staff retention, provide access to key markets, and align with strategic priorities.

The key difference between the two proposals lies in the presentation of data. While a grant submission contains around 85 per cent hard data, a partnership proposal should weave this data into a narrative that fosters a human connection with the objectives of the proposal.

An effective partnership proposal needs to:



  1. Highlight shared values.

What draws you to the organisation that you want to be in partnership with? demonstrate a keen interest in the company you want to collaborate with. It helps if you read their website, check social media or read any published case studies so you can back up your words with correct data.

2. Set clear goals. 

What does your organisation want to achieve out of this partnership and how will the other organisation come in and assist with this? state the problem clearly, be concise and direct to the point. Show that you are aware of these problems and the need to improve on them and the goal of achieving a long-term solution for them.

3. Outline benefits for potential partners

Emphasize how this partnership will benefit both organisations in terms of reaching the shared goal and how it can help in building credibility with sponsors and donors. Structure your words in a way that it communicates clearly what they want and need to know.

4. Demonstrate commitment to a long-term relationship

Assure the other organisation that this will be beneficial for both parties. Use reasonable repetition of your keywords, avoid superlatives and use phrases that may give off a negative tone. Tailor your letter to the organisation and make sure it aligns with their mission and vision as well.

Other key points you need to remember are:

  • Introduce yourself, your company, and what you do.
  • Highlight your key accomplishments.
  • Keep it short but well-informed.
  • Remember your hook, this is important to keep them reading.

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