Partnering agreement template

It is designed for civil society organisations at the building and scoping phase of new partnerships, and includes the essential defining elements of the partnership to be agreed by partners.

This tool is part of our How to Strengthen Collaboration toolkit for civil society organisations. PDF and Word checklist versions of this individual resource are available for download at the bottom of the page.

There will be different forms of agreement related to a partnership:

Partnering agreement

Non-legally binding agreement of intent to capture the value, vision and spirit of a collaboration and enshrine the principles of partnership


Legally-binding agreements, sometimes bi-lateral and usually including financial flows and accountabilities required by funding rules (may be similar to service contracts)

Work plan

Constantly iterating project plan with activities, timelines, clear and measurable outputs / outcomes and performance indicators

Partnering agreements will likely be iterative documents and will be added to and adapted as understanding of the partners and partnership is built up.


  • Short description of partners (including legal status, overall mission), identification of representatives of each partner organisation


  • Vision statement
  • Overarching drivers/reasons for involvement of each of the partners
  • Objectives of the partnership
  • Demonstrable value created through partnering


  • Mission statement
  • Context and target of the partnership activities
  • Initial high-level theory of change and expected activities
  • What each partner brings to the table
  • Roles and responsibilities of each of the partners
  • External resources
  • Overall measures of success


  • Governance/accountability structure including decision-making principles
  • Operational structure (coordination/management arrangements/secretariat) and internal  communications
  • Financial arrangements (details may be in a separate contract)
  • Measures to strengthen partner capacity to implement commitments  where necessary
  • Timeframe and procedure for ongoing partnership review and revision
  • Metrics for tracking and measuring partnership performance against partnership and each individual partners’ objectives
  • Sustainability strategy for sustaining partnership ‘outcomes’

What if?

  • Risks/threats and mitigation
  • Grievance mechanism to resolve differences
  • Rules for individual partners to leave or join
  • Exit (‘moving on’) strategy for partnership as a whole

External communications and intellectual property

  • Rules for branding (using own or each others) and other rules for the public profile of the partnership
  • Intellectual property and confidentiality rules
  • Protocols for communicating externally


  • Agreed underlying principles/values of the partnership and partners
  • Code of conduct/expected behaviours in the partnership

This template is available for download in English:


This resource was developed by GNDR and The Partnering Initiative as part of the Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development project.

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