University at Buffalo Crest.

Policy Information

Date Established: 10/4/2019
Date Last Updated: 9/3/2020
Administration and Governance
Responsible Office:
University Advancement
Responsible Executive:
Vice President for University Advancement

Policy Contents


Sponsorship and Advertising Policy


This policy governs all revenue generating sponsorship and advertising practices of the University at Buffalo. The policy promotes a comprehensive, coordinated, singular point of contact to existing and potential sponsors. University schools, centers, departments, venues, and student groups who engage external entities for sponsorship or advertising must do so with coordination through the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.

Policy Statement

The University at Buffalo (UB, university) recognizes that many of its activities and programs provide potential sources of revenue or other benefits through sponsorship, advertising, and promotional opportunities. The university also recognizes that, as a public institution, it is important to protect its reputation and brand while maintaining high standards of integrity and ethical conduct. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities must:

  • Align with the university’s mission and core values
  • Be free of obscene, indecent, or profane material
  • Comply with applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations as well as university policies

The university does not partner with sponsors who are engaged in, or have a documented history of, discrimination. Sponsorship and advertising materials which ridicule, exploit, demean, or marginalize persons on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, gender, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, familial status, veteran  status, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction status are prohibited. Sponsorship and advertising materials promoting firearms, tobacco, or illegal goods or services also are prohibited.

Sponsors and advertisers promoting age-restricted goods must align with the event content and maturity of the target audience.

Corporate sponsorships and advertising activities must not offer direct or indirect personal gain to any employee or representative of the university. Additionally, sponsors will not be given preferential treatment during a subsequent purchase or in the New York State competitive bidding process, regardless of previous sponsorship volume.

In support of these standards, all university entities seeking external sponsorship or advertising must complete the Corporate Sponsorship Request Form before solociting potential sponsors.

Use of University Marks

Sponsorship of a university program, activity, or event does not automatically give the corporate entity the right to use university trademarks, names, or logos. The university’s Trademarks and Licensing Program must approve corporate sponsor use of university trademarks or logos. Use of university marks by a corporate or external sponsor is limited to factual statements and must not appear as an endorsement or implied endorsement of the sponsor by the university. Sponsor products bearing the university name or marks must adhere to institutional branding guidelines and be produced by a university licensed vendor. The university does not endorse, directly or by implication, any products, services, or ideas of a sponsor. The sponsorship relationship to the university must be apparent to the consumer of the product. Refer and adhere to all requirements in the Trademarks and Licensing Policy.

Sponsorship Advisory Committee

The Sponsorship Advisory Committee (the committee) is comprised of representatives from the Office of the President, Finance and Administration, University Communications, Office of the Provost, Student Life, University Advancement, and Athletics. The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) will engage this committee on an ad hoc basis to approve sponsorship agreements that fall into the following categories:

  • Sponsorship creates revenue over $50,000
  • The designation of “official sponsor” is being considered
  • Sponsorships with unique circumstances where additional advisement is needed such as:
    • University-wide sponsorships
    • Sponsorship requests with assets extending over multiple units
    • Multi-year sponsorship agreements
  • Non-qualified sponsorships, if such sponsorship is desired

The committee provides advisement to CFR, governs jurisdiction of Sponsorship Agent Services Agreements, and is the ultimate approver for sponsorships of $50,000 or more. The committee will also make a determination on where revenues are deposited and how they are distributed if the sponsorship commits university-wide assets.

Approval of Contracts

Prior to entering into a Sponsorship Agent Services Agreement (third party agency working on behalf of the university), approval must be obtained from the Sponsorship Advisory Committee. Sponsorship Agent Services Agreements must go through the established procurement process managed by Procurement Services. The authority to enter into contracts on behalf of the university is designated by the State University New York Board of Trustees to senior business officers of the university as dictated by university policy.

Valuation of Sponsorships

CFR offers guidance relative to the establishment of fair values for all sponsorship arrangements.

Allocation of Sponsorship Funds and Advertising Revenues

In most cases, funds received from sponsors and advertisers will be allocated to the units(s) that fulfill the benefits as defined in the sponsorship agreement. In those cases when the university asset offered to the sponsor is a university-wide asset, allocation of sponsorship funds or advertising revenues will be considered by the Sponsorship Advisory Committee.

Campus Access

Non-university entities or vendors are given the opportunity to access the university through periodic vendor fairs, table rentals, and corporate sponsorship agreements.

Outside corporations and marketing representatives must have prior approval for any on-campus solicitation or information distribution. Products or information to be distributed must not include university marks unless in compliance with trademark and licensing guidelines.

Approved on-campus presence will be carried out in a manner that:

  • Does not infringe on the rights of individuals
  • Does not physically obstruct normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic flow
  • Does not create excessive noise, trash, or disturbance at the site or adjacent areas
  • Does not interfere with classes, scheduled meetings, activities, or athletic events
  • Does not damage, deface, or litter university property
  • Clearly identifies the hosting university entity
  • Does not include distribution of information on the windshield of vehicles on campus

Door-to-door solicitation is not permitted anywhere on university property.

The use of campus mail for sales and sponsorship materials must be arranged in advance with the head of campus mail.

Tax Implications

For revenue classification and tax purposes, a distinction is made between corporate sponsorships and advertising revenues. Corporate sponsorship revenue is considered contribution revenue, not subject to tax, whereas advertising revenue is subject to New York and Erie County business and occupations tax and may be subject to federal Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) depending on the facts and circumstances.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations provide an exemption from UBIT for student newspapers (i.e., The Spectrum), provided all advertising sales are conducted by students.

The university prefers qualified sponsorships so as not to incur tax expense.


Sponsors and advertisers gain value from the exposure and association with the university through a sponsorship relationship, requiring that the university be compensated accordingly. This policy defines the sponsorship approval processes and requires appropriateness, consistency, and coordination of effort across the university regarding sponsorships and advertising. All sponsorship and advertising considerations must be compliant with this and other applicable university policies and standards and avoid the commercialization of essential student services.


This policy applies to all employees and students soliciting corporate sponsorships or advertising revenue. This includes but is not limited to university academic and administrative units, centers, institutes, student groups, and clubs that seek corporate sponsorship or advertising revenues.



Statement or sign of recognition of sponsorship support. A typical acknowledgement may include sponsor logo placement or sponsor information in materials associated with a university event or activity being supported by the sponsor.


Paid service purchased by a non-university entity that includes messages that contain qualitative or comparative language, price information, an endorsement, or an inducement to purchase, sell, or use the non-university advertiser’s products or services.


Any item or service provided to a sponsor in return for the sponsorship of a university activity, event, product, or program. Examples may include, but are not limited to, acknowledgement, event tickets, food and beverages, merchandise, or access to university services (e.g., meeting rooms, job boards), or access to students, faculty, or staff.

Non-qualified Sponsorship

Sponsorship for which the support received from a sponsor is considered income to the university under the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) provisions of the Internal Revenue Code because the sponsor is receiving a substantial return benefit in exchange for the sponsor’s support.

Official Sponsor

An entity that is given exclusive rights to a university-wide sponsorship associated with the category of business in which the entity operates. Because use of the term "official" in connection with a sponsorship activity may be perceived as an endorsement which is prohibited, the university will permit use of the "official" designation only after special consideration by, and with approval of, the Sponsorship Advisory Committee.

Qualified Sponsorship

Sponsorship for which the support given to the university by the sponsor is not taxable income to the university under UBIT provisions. In general, this means that there is no arrangement or expectation that the sponsor will receive any substantial return benefit (e.g., advertising, endorsement) other than acknowledgement by the university.


Relationship with an entity where that entity provides money, goods, or services to the university and in return, the entity receives acknowledgement of the sponsorship via signage, tickets, programs, other print materials, or online communications. Sponsorships do not involve messages endorsing or comparing products or messages that relate to the quality of products. Sponsorships differ from corporate gift support, which is generally provided without expectation of tangible benefit or quid pro quo.

Sponsorship Agent Services

Individual or agency that procures sponsorship funding through a sales and management program including entering into sponsorship rights agreements with sponsors on behalf of the university.

University Assets

Programs, services, or activities owned by the university that provide a benefit to sponsors. These include, but are not limited to the university name, marks, logos, signage, websites, materials related to activities supported by the sponsor, venues, media, events, programs, tickets, hospitality opportunities, and merchandise.

University-wide Asset

University asset whose ownership or responsibility to maintain is not specific to one unit or department but spans over multiple units or departments.

Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT)

Taxes that result from income produced by the sale of goods or services to external users not substantially related to the university’s tax exempt purpose.



Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations

  • Develop a holistic understanding of corporate relationships with the university.
  • Manage the external sponsorship and external advertising program of the university.
  • Solicit sponsorships and respond to external sponsorship inquiries that benefit the university and align with our mission.
  • Act as a subject matter expert for units seeking sponsorships.
  • Create a consistent approach to sponsorship.
  • Engage the Vice President for University Advancement in all sponsorship and advertising commitments with revenues between $25,000 and $50,000.
  • Engage the Sponsorship Advisory Committee for sponsorships requiring their oversight.
  • Provide guidance relative to the establishment of fair values for all sponsorship arrangements.

Vice President for University Advancement

  • Approve all sponsorship and advertising commitments with revenues between $25,000 and $50,000.

Sponsorship Advisory Committee

  • Provide final approval for sponsorships generating revenues greater than $50,000.
  • Provide advisement when engaged by CFR for sponsorships with unique circumstances.
  • Determine where revenues are deposited and how they are distributed if the sponsorship commits university-wide assets.
  • Approve Sponsorship Agent Services Agreements and govern jurisdiction of such agreements when needed.
  • Approve the designation of “official sponsor.”
  • Approve non-qualified sponsorships.

University Unit or Department

  • Consult with CFR on all sponsorships initiated through their unit or department.
  • Obtain proper authorization to engage in sponsorship up to $25,000, in accordance with internal policies or procedures.
  • Complete the Corporate Sponsorship Request Form before soliciting potential sponsors.

Athletic Director

  • Manage all advertising and corporate sponsorships in athletic programs and athletic venues.

Division of University Communications

  • Oversee the Trademarks and Licensing Program.
  • Develop, maintain, and enforce university identity and brand standards.
  • Review and approve requests from entities to use the university name and marks in sponsorship materials.

Financial Services

  • Coordinate UBIT reporting.

Internal Audit

  • Consider the appropriate handling of sponsorship and advertising revenues in the risk-based audit program.

Contact Information

Contact An Expert





Assistant Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations Jill Szczesek 716-881-1413
Associate Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations Erin Uppington 716-881-8051

Interim Vice President for University Advancement

Jason Diffenderfer


Related Information

University Links


Related Links

Revision History

Date Revision
September 2020 Updated the policy to:
• Specify the requirment to complete the Corporate Sponsorship Request Form in the Policy Statement
• Remove The Center for the Arts from the Sponsorship Advisory Committee membership
• Add a responsibility for university units and departments to complete the Corporate Sponsorship Request Form

Presidential Approval

Signed by President Satish K. Tripathi

Satish K. Tripathi, President