Policy Steward: 
Director of Financial Accounting and Reporting
Format Updated: 
University Policy & Standards Converted: 
Revision Date: 
Friday, December 8, 2017

* This information replaces FIS 410-03 Donations, Contributions, and Sponsorships


The terms “donation,” “contribution,” and “sponsorship” can each have different meanings depending on their usage.

Institutional funds cannot be used for donations and contributions wherein the essence of the transaction is charity.  These include donations to the OSU Scholarship Fund.

In addition, institutional funds cannot be used to provide sponsorships wherein the essence of the transaction is to provide support for an event or operations of an external entity.  In some cases, a transaction that is called a sponsorship includes goods, services, or access that represents an exchange of value and the primary benefit helps fulfill the University’s mission and purpose.  In those cases, the amount of the transaction that is reasonably representative of the value of the exchange may be made from institutional funds. It is the responsibility of the authorized OSU budget authority to substantiate how and why the benefits of the exchange are commensurate with the amount of the sponsorship. The portion of the sponsorship that is over-and-above the value of the exchange cannot be made from institutional funds. In these cases, recognition and the display of the university’s logo by the recipient is NOT sufficient to be deemed an exchange and would not justify an expenditure from institutional funds.

When transactions are confusing and/or ambiguous, contact your Business Center and/or Business Affairs prior to the event to help plan the most appropriate way to fund the transaction.