University of Minnesota  FAQ

Classifying and Recording Sponsorships for University-Hosted Events/Activities


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Please use the contact section in the governing policy.

Sponsorship Package Questions

  1. We have three levels (Silver, Gold, and Platinum) of sponsorship packages for our event. In looking at the Job Aid for Sponsorship for University-Hosted Events/Activities, the Platinum sponsorship package falls into the non-gift eligible section. Do we direct the Platinum sponsorship payments to the University and the Silver and Gold sponsorship payments to UMF?

    No, all the sponsorship package payments should be directed to the University. If any sponsorship level is non-gift eligible then all levels are considered non-gift eligible and deposited at the University.

  2. How do I determine the fair market value of a sponsorship package?

    See Appendix: Considerations when determining Fair Market Value.

  3. How do I handle sponsorship packages for events hosted by student organizations?

    For approved campus life programs: determine if the sponsorship is gift or non-gift eligible and follow this policy.

    For registered student organizations: gifts or non-gifts should be made payable and sent directly to the registered student organization. The Foundation does not accept these gifts, and the University doesn't accept non-gift sponsorships for registered student organizations.

  4. Can sponsorships include opportunities where a sponsor is allowed to hire student interns or direct a student project as part of a class curriculum, and if allowable, is this gift or non-gift eligible?

    Yes, a sponsorship package may include opportunities to engage with students through recruitment or directing class projects. This type of opportunity would be a return benefit to the sponsor, thus, non-gift eligible.

  5. Can I display a sponsor’s slogan along with their name and logo and consider the transaction gift-eligible?

    No, for a gift-eligible activity, the recognition must consist of name and logo only. It is good practice for the unit to retain editorial control over any content being used. The IRS does provide an exception for slogans that are an established part of the sponsor’s identity. Please consult with the Tax Management Office.

  6. What if I want to offer a sponsorship package with a naming opportunity for something other than a University-hosted event/activity?

    Refer to Board of Regents Policy: Namings and Renamings (PDF) section 5 subd 3 “Other namings associated with gifts or sponsorships”

  7. What if I have a sponsorship opportunity that is not related to an event?

    The Job Aid for Sponsorships for University-Hosted Events/Activities can be used to determine gift eligible and non-gift eligible sponsorships as the same principles apply.

  8. A company that distributes alcohol responded to a sponsorship appeal, can the University accept that sponsorship?

    Yes, the sponsorship must be in compliance with Board of Regents Policy: Alcoholic Beverages (PDF).

  9. What if I want to offer a sponsorship package that includes copies of student resumes?

    Any access to students, including providing copies of student resumes to the sponsor, is a non-gift eligible sponsorship.

  10. For one of the sponsorship packages, a celebrity will sit at each of the gold sponsors table during the event. Is the package a gift-eligible package? 

    Yes, if the celebrities are not acting in their professional capacity during the event and the return benefits for all of the sponsorship packages fall into the gift-eligible category.

  11. My sponsor fulfilled their sponsorship by providing a product. Do I need to book anything in EFS? 

    Yes, this is considered a non-monetary financial transaction.

  12. For one of the sponsored packages, a tour of the lab is included. Is the package gift-eligible? 

    Yes, as long as the tour is just that. If the tour includes more than incidental access to U of M experts, students, or research, the sponsorship package is not gift-eligible. See U of M Access definition for more information.

  13. Can I include a sponsor’s logo on the U of M event webpage? 

    Yes, for recognition purposes of University-Hosted Events/Activities sponsorships only. Review the Brand Standards for details.

  14. Can I provide a link to the sponsor’s website on the U of M event page? 

    Yes, however, the link must be to a non-promotional page.

General Questions

  1. A sponsorship organization contacted me and needs a W-9 form, which W-9 should I send?

    It is important to understand where the funds will be going (University or UMF) prior to completing or sending a W-9 form. If funds are going to UMF, then the UMF W-9 form should be obtained from UMF. If funds going to the University, then the University’s W-9 form should be sent.

  2. My sponsor wants me to send them a bill/invoice. How do I do this?

    The sponsorship form should have enough detailed information on how to submit a payment. If the payment is going to UMF, the sponsorship form should act as the bill/invoice. If the payment is directed to the University, bills should be created in the EFS Billing module. Contact your Financial Cluster for billing instructions.

  3. A sponsorship organization is requesting our bank routing information and/or completion of a form, what should I do?

    For funds going to UMF, forward the request to UMF. For funds going to the University, forward the request to Accounts Receivable Services. See the contacts section in the Policy for contact information.

  4. What type of events/activities does this policy apply to? 
    Fundraisers, conferences, symposiums, programs, etc. See the definitions section for complete event/activity definitions and FAQ #5 for Membership/Consortium arrangements.
  5. What is the difference between a sponsorship and a membership?

    Sponsorships are typically offered as a component of a single event/activity and are opportunities for an entity to monetarily support an event/activity. The sponsoring entity in turn receives return benefits. Examples of return benefits include any item of value, such as: a booth or table at an event/activity, tickets to an event/activity, advertising, and name and logo recognition. Memberships are typically offered for a longer duration of time (for example, annual memberships) and the return benefits are different in nature as they often provide access to faculty, students, labs, experts, committee involvement, or academic programming that is specific to the membership population or is individual in nature dependent on the need/discipline. Memberships are classified as external sales or sponsored projects.

  6. An outside entity wants to co-host an event/activity with my unit, does this policy apply?

    Yes, this policy applies when the University is co-hosting an event/activity. This policy applies if the event/activity includes sponsorship packages for other entities.

  7. In the past, my department has hosted an event where we have solicited support from local businesses in exchange for them to setup displays and distribute promotional items with their business logos. We have decided to include additional "add-ons" to our agreements that allow local businesses access to our faculty and staff experts for the full academic calendar year. Will the new agreement with the "add-ons" as described still constitute a Sponsorship?

    No, this no longer qualifies as a Sponsorship. This is effectively considered a Membership, which is either an External Sale or Sponsored Project. Review the Gifts, Sponsored Projects and External Sales (PDF) appendix for determination. The change is due to the substance of the agreement offering return benefits beyond just the single event where the length spans a full academic year by providing access to faculty and staff experts.

  8. Can another University of Minnesota department sponsor my event/activity?

    Even though the target situation for the policy is when organizations outside the University are sponsoring University-hosted events/activities, University departments can choose to participate in other University-department hosted events/activities by selecting a sponsorship package offered to external organizations. In the case of an internal sponsorship (between departments), sponsorship payment or reimbursement may be processed via a journal entry, or in some circumstances, a journal voucher in AP module may be allowed per Administrative Policy: Selling Goods and Services to University Departments FAQ#1. Revenue accounts indicated in the policy procedure are not applicable to internal revenue generating transactions and should be classified under the appropriate 5001xx account value.

  9. Can a faculty or staff member provide funds to the University in support of their own work or to control its use at the University?

    Yes, however it is not a charitable donation and is not accepted by a recognized Foundation. The funds are directed to the University of Minnesota and should be treated like a non-gift eligible sponsorship. The responsibility for how funds are allocated for use rests with the Dean/Chancellor/Vice President.

  10. For conferences, symposia, or other events funded by sponsored projects, are the registration fees and realized sponsorship packages deposited at the University or UMF?

    The registration fees and realized sponsorships are Program Income. Where the receipts are deposited depends on several factors; sponsor contract, type of program income, and if the program income is reportable. See Administrative Policy: Managing Program Income Earned on Sponsored Projects for the specific details and contact your Grant Administrator.