How to Write a Memorandum of Agreement

A memorandum of agreement, also known as a memorandum of understanding, is a formal business document that outlines any agreement made betwixt two separate entities, groups or individuals. Unlike business contracts, writing a memorandum of agreement does not legally bind the two entities. Instead, the memo simply defines common interests and goals. Learn how to write a memorandum of agreement to identify business partners and expand your business' reach.

Set up a meeting with all interested entities involved with entering into the memorandum of agreement with you or your business. If one of the parties or individuals are absent, take copious notes and set up a subsequent meeting to ensure that all interested entities are in agreement.

Identify your common goals and plans before starting to write a memorandum of agreement. Be clear on each identifiable goal, outlining specific traits and characteristics of the goal and how each involved party will know when that goal is met.

Define how each involved entity will contribute toward working toward the shared goal or plan. Each involved individual must be willing to input a certain quantity and quality of resources at a level that all partners in the memorandum deem to be fair and equal. This element of writing the memorandum of agreement should take advantage of the unique resources of each involved individual. For example, if a large human services organization is partnering with a catering service to launch an event, the catering service's unique capabilities (e.g. food and catering) would be specifically noted when the two companies write a memorandum of agreement.

Set a flexibile timeline or proposed finish date for the memorandum of agreement. This allows each involved party to track its progress toward meeting its agreed contributions, and also notifies each party on when its commitment to the other parties ends.

Circulate the draft memorandum of agreement with all of the information decided up on Steps 2-4. Have each involved party or individual propose specific changes where needed. After all involved parties agree upon the final draft, have a representative from each involved group sign the memorandum.


  • When you write a memorandum of agreement, use positive language (e.g. write what each party will do, and not what they will not or can't do). Be specific when attempting to write a memorandum of agreement, being sure to clearly state the "who, what, when and how" of each goal.


  • Be realistic about how each group or individual can contribute to prevent the involved parties from defaulting on their agreed commitments.