Declining partnership offers is a natural byproduct of receiving partnership offers as a business organization. Not all partnerships are strategic or a good fit for your organization.  As a business owner or manager, you are bound to receive more than a few ill-conceived partnerships offers by email.  An understanding of how to decline partnership offers by email when they are not aligned with your business objectives or strategy is critical to maintaining the image and integrity of your business and organization.

Be sure to check out the detailed article on how to respond to partnership offers by email and check out the samples for accepting partnership offers by email.

Declining Partnership Offers

While declining a partnership offer may seem negative, it is up to business professionals to ensure there are no long-term negative implications.  Objectivity, professionalism and effective communication are essential when declining a partnership offer.   Clearly communicating to the sender that the decision to decline the partnership offer is objective ensures that future interactions between the two organizations are unaffected.

There are various reasons organizations decline partnership offers.  This article provides an example of some reasons and sample emails for communicating the decline to the requesting organization.

Decline Partnership Offers that are a Wrong Fit

The business focus of organizations that serve niche markets or implement innovative strategies can be easily mistaken by external parties.  For instance, a training company may seem like a good fit to approach with a proposal for an initiative to offer training.  However, the training company may not offer training in the specific field of interest or may lack the expertise to deliver a particular intervention.

While it is the responsibility of the requesting organization to align their offers with the objectives of the organization they are approaching, receiving organizations should properly communicate misalignments to assist the requesting organization in improving their offers/processes.

Email  Sample I: Declining a Partnership Offer that is a Wrong Fit

Re: Youth Development Project Partnership

Dear Mr Patrick,

Thank you for your interest in partnering with Ace Training Limited to deliver capacity development programs for inner-city youths.

We regret to inform you that we are unable to accept your offer to partner.  Ace Training Limited specializes in financial and accounting training interventions; therefore the proposed youth development initiatives are outside our area of specialization.

Please find attached details of other training providers we believe have the capacity to support your proposed initiative.

We wish you all the best with this laudable initiative.


Anna May

Ace Training Limited

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Declining Partnership Offers for LaterDeclining Partnership Offers for Later

While some partnership offers are a great fit for your organization, the timing of the proposed partnership may be wrong.  Forward-thinking organizations are careful to only accept projects they can deliver effectively.  Taking on a promising partnership offer when your resources are tied up on other projects may lead to delivery of substandard results.

Email Sample II: Declining a Partnership Offer Due to Wrong Timing

RE: National Day Exhibition

Dear Anthony,

Further to your email requesting a partnership with Dance Inc. for the National Day Exhibition, we regret that we are unable to participate in this exhibition.

The National Day Exhibition is a great opportunity for Dance Inc. and Next Steppers to showcase the talent of the students of each studio.  Unfortunately, Dance Inc. has committed to an out of state showcase within the same period and will, therefore, be unavailable to perform with Next Steppers as proposed.

Thank you for the kind offer.  We look forward to partnering with Next Steppers on future projects.


Hayley Rains

Dance Director,  Dance Inc.

Declining Partnership Offers with Unfavorable terms

As discussed in the article on accepting partnership offers, focused organization evaluate every partnership offer objectively based on the compatibility of the partnership offer with the organization’s strategic objectives and priorities.  Declining Partnership offers that leave your organization at the losing end is essential to business success.

Decline unfavorable partnership offer terms tactfully to maintain professionalism and business relations.  For instance, if you receive a partnership offer and observe that the burden of most expenses and efforts will fall on you with little effort on the part of the offering party.  Communicate this professionally by indicating your inability to dedicate the required resource instead of questioning the low investment from the other party.

Email Sample III: Declining Partnership Offers with Unfavourable Terms

Re: Women’s Day Event Partnership – Orange Nation

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for your email requesting to partner with The Training Space to execute an event for the International Women’s day celebration.  Further to review by our management team we, unfortunately, have to decline your partnership offer at this time.

We thank you for considering The Training Space as a partner for the proposed Women’s day event.  The proposition to use the event hall of The Training Space for the community engagement event and our staff to coordinate the participants and activities conflicts with other strategic initiatives at this time.  We are therefore unable to dedicate the event hall and the requested staff on the proposed dates.

We look forward to other opportunities to partner or collaborate with Orange Nation to improve the state of women in society.  Thank you once again for your consideration.

We wish you great success with your initiatives to improve the state of women.



Project Manager


Declining partnership offers must be done with tact and skill to maintain harmonious relationships with the requesting organizations.  A misaligned offer, poorly timed project or unfavorable terms are merely incidental barriers to partnership offers.  Other opportunities for collaborations may exist in future, therefore partnership offers must be declined with professionalism to maintain relationships for other potentials opportunities.

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