Incoming and Outgoing Sponsorships

All George Mason University employees who request, accept or approve incoming or outgoing sponsorship activity with State funds should follow the guidance provided for Incoming and Outgoing Sponsorships. Click on a topic below for additional information.

Sponsorships may not:

  • Involve the sponsorship of individuals, including employees, for their participation in a personal fundraising activity or event
  • Utilize symbols or copyrights not owned by the university, unless written permission is obtained from the owner of said symbol or copyright
  • Contain obscene, indecent, profane or other material that may violate the Code of Conduct
  • Violate the Conflict of Interest policy

All Sponsorships must:

  • Be approved, by all parties, prior to the acceptance/distribution of funds. A sponsorship request will not be approved after an event has occurred
  • Be expressed in writing
  • Meet the criteria for Outgoing, Qualified or Non-Qualified sponsorship
  • Meet the criteria established by The Office of Communication and Marketing for trademark usage

Outgoing Sponsorship

An Outgoing Sponsorship may be provided by Mason to a non-Mason entity for an external event. The value of an Outgoing Sponsorship must result in a tangible benefit to the university. A Qualified Sponsorship may meet the definition of a philanthropic sponsorship. Please contact the George Mason University Foundation for guidance related to philanthropic activity.

Outgoing Sponsorships must:

  • Align with and support the university mission
  • Align with the university brand communication (logo, trademark, )
  • Provide a tangible benefit to the university that can be quantified financially (return on investment)

Tangible Benefit: the total quantified value received by Mason as a result of an Outgoing Sponsorship. The total value of tangible benefit(s) must equal or exceed the amount of the Outgoing Sponsorship.

Submit a  Request for Outgoing Sponsorship at least 30 days prior to the event or sponsorship deadline. If approved, an eVA purchase requisition must be submitted in all cases. Units may not use the P-Card to pay for sponsorships. Guidance is available in Appendix A of the Sponsorship Guide.

Incoming Sponsorship

An Incoming Sponsorship is the provisioning of goods or services received by Mason from a non-Mason entity. Incoming Sponsorships are classified as Qualified, Non-Qualified, or Procurement.

  1. Qualified Sponsorship: goods or services received by Mason from a non-Mason entity in support of one or more mission related-activities, events or programs that is not subject to Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT). A Qualified Sponsorships must not provide a substantial return benefit to the non-Mason sponsor and may not be contingent on the level of attendance.
  2. Non-Qualified Sponsorship: goods and/or services received by Mason from a non-Mason entity that provides a Substantial Return Benefit to the sponsor or contains qualitative statements in support of the sponsor. Non-Qualified Sponsorships may be subject to UBIT and/or qualify as Procurement. In order to be exempt from UBIT, the sponsorship must clearly be 100% integral to the college experience.
  3. Procurement: When a sponsor provides a Gift-in-Kind of goods or services to the university that would ordinarily be obtained through the purchasing system, providing tangible return benefits to the sponsor has the potential to be seen as circumventing purchasing requirements. If the return benefits provided to a sponsor are valued at $5,000 or less, the transaction is exempt from purchasing requirements. If the return benefits to the sponsor are valued at more than $5,000, and the value of the return benefits provided to the sponsor is 10% or less of the value of the goods or services provided by the sponsor, the transaction will still qualify as a sponsorship and not a purchase. If the return benefits to the sponsor are valued at more than $5,000 and exceed 10% of the value of the goods or services provided by the sponsor, then the purchasing rules apply to the transaction.

Substantial Return Benefit: the total value of any item or service that Mason provides to a sponsor, in return for the sponsor’s contribution(s). The total value of the return benefit may not exceed 2 percent of the contribution amount. Acknowledgment is not considered to be a substantial return benefit.

Utilize the How to Classify an Incoming Sponsorship guide to assist with determining the nature of the sponsorship. Guidance is also available in Appendix B of the Sponsorship Guide.