What to include in an MOU for a federal grant application

June 4, 2013 No Comments

federal grant MOUBy Megan Hill

Some federal grants will ask you for MOUs — memoranda of understanding. With the dizzying requirements for a federal grant, we hope this breakdown helps you understand this important component.

An MOU is a written agreement between two parties. In the case of a federal grant, your MOUs will outline the agreements you have with any outside organizations for services. MOUs do not generally involve the exchange of money, nor are they legally binding.

For example, an MOU might outline an agreement with another nonprofit to partner in the delivery of domestic violence treatment services. Or maybe your local United Way has agreed to provide meeting spaces for your health collaborative. These agreements should be formalized with an MOU to lend credibility and strengthen your federal grant.

Some federal agencies will give you a breakdown of what they hope to see in an MOU. In general, you should include the following: a description of the agency you’re partnering with, some background information on the partnership, the specifics of the agreement and services to be provided, and a confirmation of each party’s commitment to the partnership.

There are lots of sample MOUs on the internet; here’s my favorite.

My final piece of advice for gathering and crafting MOUs is to do so well in advance of your deadline. It can take time for your partners to get back to you, and this isn’t something you want to push to the backburner. It’s important to show you have strong agreements in place to prove you’re capable of doing the work the government is essentially going to pay you to complete. Strong MOUs will help your funding chances tremendously.


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