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1.4.45 Sponsorships

Effective: 10/1/2014 · Revised: 6/1/2020


To provide business standards for determining whether a sponsorship qualifies as a charitable contribution that can be recorded in andi and counted in fundraising totals. The university of tennessee foundation guidelines follow the policies concerning sponsorships established by the internal revenue code (“irc”) §513(i) and regulations thereunder.

Sponsorship Request Form

An approved sponsorship request form is required for each sponsorship transaction posted in andi. This jot form should be filled out by the department hosting the event being sponsored. The department will have all of the necessary promotional materials needed to assist our reviewer with their decision to approve or deny the request.

The department can choose to submit a sponsorship request form in advance. Prior to receiving their first sponsorship check, a request form can be submitted to receive prior approval. Once approval has been received the automated email reply indicating the approval status should be printed and sent to the ut foundation with each sponsorship transaction in order for the appropriate gift credit and non- philanthropic amounts to be recorded in andi.

Once the department fills out their portion of the sponsorship request form and clicks submit, the form is automatically forwarded to our reviewer and notification is sent to the central services office letting them know a sponsorship request form has been submitted. Once reviewed and submitted, both the original submitter and the central services office will receive notification of approval or denial.

General Provisions

Sponsorships fall into two categories: qualified sponsorships and non-qualified sponsorships.

A qualified sponsorship payment is any payment made by any person or corporation engaged in a trade or business with respect to which there is no arrangement or expectation that such person or corporation will receive any substantial return benefit other than the use or acknowledgment of the name or logo (or product lines) of such person’s trade or business in connection with the activities of the organization that receives such payment.

For a sponsorship to qualify as a charitable gift contribution in andi, all of these factors must be present:

  • The sponsorship must be made by a person or corporation engaged in a trade or business.
  • The sponsor should not expect or receive substantial return benefit (2% of contribution) for payment other than name acknowledgement and/ or promotional value. When value of the donor benefits exceeds 2% of the donation, the contribution is reduced by the value of the goods or services received in return.
  • The contribution must be in the form of cash or cash equivalents. Gifts in kind and gifts of services do not qualify.
  • The promotional information should be limited to any or all of these:
    • Sponsor’s location, phone number, web address
    • Value-neutral description of sponsor’s products or services
    • Sponsor’s brand/trade name or product/services listing
  • There is no qualitative or comparative advertising of sponsor’s products or services such as pricing, savings, value, purchase/sale inducement, etc.
  • The sponsorship should not be contingent on event attendance, ratings or public exposure.
  • An approved sponsorship request form must be obtained.

Non-qualified sponsorships are arrangements in which the sponsor receives a return benefit that involves more than an acknowledgment and includes anything valued at more than 2 percent of the amount of the sponsorship payment. This type of return benefit involves any item or service provided to a sponsor in exchange for the sponsor’s support. Examples may include, but are not limited to event tickets; food and beverages; promotional items (t-shirts, mugs, pens, notepads, etc.) And access to university services.

The following examples represent non-qualified interactions and disqualify the sponsorship from being recorded as a charitable gift contribution by the university of tennessee foundation.

  • Sponsor’s payment requires ut or utfi to use the sponsor’s name or logo in regularly scheduled and published material
  • Sponsor is granted exclusive provider status (e.g., the sponsor has an exclusive right to sell its products or services at the event)
  • Sponsor is permitted to advertise at the event
  • Sponsor is provided with table or other display space to display or sell its products
  • Sponsor is provided time to speak with event attendees about the sponsor’s business and/or its products and services
  • Sponsor’s payment is contingent on attendance, broadcast ratings or other levels of public exposure
  • Sponsor is granted the right to use the university’s or the foundation’s name, logo or endorsement
  • Sponsor is provided with any quid pro quo benefit other than recognition of the sponsor as provided in qualified sponsorships.
  • In order to track a sponsor’s total support (both philanthropic and non-philanthropic) of ut, sponsorships that do not qualify to be recorded as gifts may be recorded in andi as “non- philanthropic” receipts.
  • Non-philanthropic receipts are not counted in campaigns, cae totals or other fundraising totals. Documentation required

Before recording a qualified sponsorship as a charitable contribution in andi, the following documentation must be provided to the university of tennessee foundation:

  • Approved sponsorship request form
  • Copies of printed recognition material (e.g., event program, flyers advertising the event) and printouts of electronic recognition material (e.g., web pages, promotional emails).
    • Written agreement (if the amount of the sponsorship is greater than $25,000) using the standard gift agreement templates. The agreement is submitted through the prospect research & management office.
    • if the standard gift agreement is not used, the written agreement must conform to university fiscal policy FI0420: Contracts.