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Policy Guidelines: Endorsements, Sponsorships & Advertising

The university recognizes that many of its activities provide potential sources of revenue or other nonfinancial benefits through legitimate and worthwhile opportunities for sponsorships, advertising, and other promotional activities. It is also necessary to recognize that the university is a public institution and that its reputation and image must be protected. University Policy Section 80.1.4 [PDF] governs the granting of such rights to nonuniversity entities seeking to associate themselves with Rutgers.

Sample Advertising and Sponsorship Documents

These samples may help as you formulate your own policies and procedures:

Tips for Soliciting and Managing Sponsorships

Starting and managing relationships with potential and current sponsors is a critical aspect of any campaign. Read on for helpful tips to cultivate your sponsorships.

Key steps to success

Visual Identity Guidelines

For guidelines on how to use a sponsor’s name and/or logo together with a university entity’s name and/or logo in a sponsorship acknowledgment or in the marketing or promotional materials for the sponsored activity, consult the Rutgers Visual Identity Manual and Rutgers Visual Identity System website.

  • Sponsors may not use a university name, trademark, logo, or the Spirit “Block R” mark without prior written approval from the Vice President for University Communications and Marketing, or a designee. To request permission, please contact Trademark Licensing at 848-445-1921 or via email webform.
  • Sponsorship of a university or registered student organization (RSO) activity or event itself does not automatically give the sponsor the right to use any university trademarks, names, or logos. 
  • Links to sponsor websites should be to the sponsor’s home webpage, whenever possible.
Sponsorships Are Not Partnerships

There may be a tendency to loosely refer to the university’s relationship with a sponsor as a partnership. However, in a legal sense this is not accurate. The common legal definition of a partnership is a contract between two or more persons or entities to invest money, property, or other resources into a venture in which the parties are co-owners and share profits and losses. The university’s relationship with its sponsors does not amount to or create a partnership.

Related Policies

Other policies to review before entering into a sponsorship agreement include:

Key Provisions

The policy on Endorsements, Sponsorships, and Advertising in and on University Assets and Communication Materials:

  • does not permit endorsements, except in exceptional cases and only with the consent of the Rutgers Board of Governors as noted in Policy 80.1.4 Section III [PDF];
  • in general, allows sponsorships and advertisements in accordance with the established policy and guidelines;
  • does not allow advertising or sponsorships in or on print or electronic materials, websites, or other university assets that students are required to access to complete their studies, such as the web registration system, or that prospective students are required to access when seeking admission to Rutgers, such as application and financial aid forms;
  • explains that certain revenues generated by endorsements, sponsorships, and advertising may be subject to unrelated business income tax (UBIT).


The name, logo, or images of the university or any of its campuses or units may not be used in any statement, website, print or electronic communication, or activity to market, sell, promote, or endorse any corporation, business, product, service, or candidate for public office. See Policy 80.1.4.Section III [PDF] for clarification.

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All sponsorship agreements must be shared with the Office of Strategic Communications before a contract is signed. Draft agreements should be emailed to the Office of Strategic Communications.

Types of Sponsorships

There are two types of sponsorships according to IRS guidelines:

  • Qualified Sponsorships are not subject to unrelated business income tax (UBIT).
  • Nonqualified Sponsorships are subject to UBIT.

The university prefers that sponsorships be Qualified Sponsorships, and therefore exempt from UBIT, due to the significant accounting, record-keeping, and reporting obligations required for activities that generate unrelated business income.

Types of support provided by sponsors

  • Gift-in-kind, which is a product or service donated, in lieu of a cash gift, to a school, college, department, or unit.
  • Gift of money, which is a cash donation or pledge made directly or through the Rutgers University Foundation to a school, college, department, or unit.

Purchasing Rules

Sponsorship agreements may not include the purchase of goods and services from the sponsor or any 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.

Use of Campus Facilities

Special guidelines may apply when a department or unit uses campus facilities as part of a sponsorship. Contact the Office of University Planning and Development for more information.

Linking to Non-Rutgers Websites and Pages

Links to external vendors on Rutgers websites and pages are permitted, but should be to the entity's home page or other non-promotional page. See the acceptable use matrix [PDF]. Text that includes live links should not imply an endorsement of any kind. When a website or pages have been developed by a non-Rutgers entity, a text credit may be used (for example:This site was created by ABC Company). See the university's endorsements and sponsorship policy for more information.

Registered Student Organizations

The university does not prepare or sign sponsorship agreements for registered student organizations (RSOs), however, RSOs must comply with the provisions of University Policy Section 80.1.4 [PDF] that relate to unacceptable sponsorship, prohibited endorsements, and use of university trademarks and images. RSOs should consult the contracting guidelines in the Student Organization Handbook for pointers on entering into sponsorship agreements.


The following considerations should be taken into account before a unit accepts advertising in and on university assets and communication materials.

Tax Considerations

Advertising in university publications that does not directly relate to the university's educational and research mission and is designed to generate revenue may be subject to unrelated business income tax (UBIT).

Activities that may be subject to UBIT are revenue-producing activities that are carried on regularly and:

  • are not directly related to accomplishing the university’s educational and research mission;
  • are conducted for the primary purpose of earning a profit;
  • compete with commercial businesses that provide similar services to the public;
  • generally involve the provision of services or products to nonuniversity persons (i.e., other than university academic and staff employees and students).

UBIT is imposed at the same tax rates that are applicable to for-profit corporations. Consult the university tax department for guidance.

Determining Advertising Value

Units and programs need to consider the following points when determining the value associated with advertising opportunities.

  • Asset Valuation

    There are a number of factors to be considered when determining how much to charge for advertising (asset valuation). The standard industry measurement is cost per thousand impressions (CPM). 

    Calculating the number of impressions is dependent on the type of advertising you are considering accepting. Some examples of measurement include:

    • foot traffic (i.e., the number of people you expect to attend or pass by an event);
    • website visits (i.e., number of clicks on a particular page or pages);
    • distribution
      • Number of copies (electronic or printed)
      • Pass-on rate (average of 2.5 per electronic or printed piece)
      • Leave-behind opportunities;
    • life-cycle of advertisement (one-time only, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, indefinite length of time);
    • broadcast mentions (radio/tv/webcast/social networking/announcement at event).
  • Rate Card

    It is important to set a rate card in advance. A rate card does not limit your ability to negotiate pricing, but it sets a baseline for consideration. Minimally, the rate card should include:

    • a brief description of the opportunity, including “publication” date;
    • audience demographics;
    • options for size/type of advertisement and associated cost;
    • reservation deadline;
    • artwork deadline (including file format required); and
    • contact information for payment and artwork.

    Below are some sample average rates (as of December 2011) to consider when developing a rate card for your unit. (CPM=cost per thousand impressions.)

    • Event Advertising
      In conference center postering ($500 CPM per day)
      Booth costs ($300 CPM per day)
    • Website Advertising
      Banner ads ($20 CPM per week)
    • Enewsletter Advertising
      Enewsletter ($15 CPM per day)
    • Event Program/Journal Advertising
      Anywhere from $100 for a business card (1/4 page) to $1,500 for a full page back cover
      See a sample rate card (Rutgers Magazine [PDF])  and advertising policy (RU-tv Network).
  • Measuring Return on Investment

    One of the most critical selling points for potential advertisers is the return on their investment (ROI). Items to consider that can boost the value of ROI include:

    • demographics of your audience (who will see the advertisement);
    • ability to provide a link to the advertiser’s website or specific homepage so they can capture data.


Prior to accepting any advertising, establish procedures and practices that incorporate the General Rules listed in Policy 80.1.4 Section II A [PDF]. See a sample advertising policy (RU-tv Network [PDF]) and sample media kit (Rutgers Magazine [PDF]).