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Category Administration and Management
Type Guideline
Approved by Council, 12 November 2002
Date Guideline Took Effect 1 January 2003
Last approved revision 19 October 2022
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor, External Engagement
Responsible officer Director of Development and Alumni Relations

Please note that compliance with University Guidelines is expected in normal circumstances, and any deviation from Guidelines – which should only be in exceptional circumstances – needs to be justifiable.


These guidelines reflect the fundamental principles that shape the University's relationships with sponsors. The guidelines confirm the University of Otago's commitment to a sponsorship programme of high integrity and sustainability.

Productive partnerships will be formed within the framework defined in the University's vision, mission and guiding principles

Organisational scope

These guidelines apply to all incoming sponsorships University-wide. They do not apply to externally-funded research or academic consultancy activities, which may or may not provide a benefit to the funder.


Constituent entering into the sponsorship agreement.
Incoming Sponsorship
Arrangement under which a sponsor provides a monetary contribution or in-kind support for an activity and, in return, the sponsor receives benefits either by certain association or entitlements.
Activities the University undertakes to raise financial support for the University through philanthropic gifts or incoming sponsorships.


  1. Introduction

    1. The University of Otago welcomes sponsorships and other forms of support from alumni and friends of the University, individuals, corporations, major trusts and foundations. Such support is a vital addition to Government funding and income received from tuition fees.
    2. The University is committed to the highest standards of accountability regarding the provisions of any sponsorship agreement, including the stewardship of sponsors and any agreed benefits.
  2. Staff responsibilities

    Before sponsorship development

    1. One of the primary purposes of the University is to protect the freedom of staff and students to question and test conventional wisdom in a manner that is thoughtful, prudent, and respectful. To ensure that all forms of incoming sponsorship are consistent with this principle, they must:
      1. Not compromise the University's fundamental principles of integrity, autonomy and academic freedom.
      2. Adhere to the following principles outlined in the University's Treasury Management Policy:
        • The University has a commitment to ethical and socially responsible investing. Therefore, any equity and bond investment made must consider social good as well as financial return.
        • The University should not invest directly in companies that are primarily involved in the production or distribution of alcohol, tobacco or munitions, or in the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels. A measured approach should be taken with materiality issues considered.
      3. Not expect the University to provide inappropriate consideration to the sponsor or anyone designated by the sponsor, such as employment in the University, enrolment in a University course of study, or a University procurement contract.
      4. Not accept sponsorships that involve unlawful discrimination, or involve terms and conditions contrary to the University's Equal Educational Opportunities Policy or Equal Employment Opportunities Policy, or promote causes that are deemed to be contrary to the interests of the University.
      5. Align to the University's commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, guiding principles and strategic objectives.
      6. Be in accordance with all relevant University policies.
    2. It is the responsibility of the staff member seeking to initiate a sponsorship to ensure that the sponsorship complies with these requirements. This responsibility includes gaining an understanding of these guidelines and seeking support from the relevant department(s), such as the Development and Alumni Relations Office (see below), where appropriate.
    3. Managing the sponsorship

    4. If the above requirements are met and the sponsorship proceeds, the following rules apply:
      1. Naming rights associated with sponsorship will be determined in accordance with the University's Naming Rights Policy.
      2. Promotional use of sponsors' corporate logos and colours may be included in printed materials and content, including online content. However, corporate identification and logos should always be displayed secondary in size and position to the University's branding.
      3. All use of the University's logo by the sponsor must be approved by Marketing Services.
      4. The Incoming Sponsorship Guidelines will be provided to sponsors in the course of negotiations concerning formal agreements, and the Policies and Guidelines referred to herein will be referenced in agreements as appropriate.
      5. Sponsors may not use the University's communications as a direct sales channel for their products or services.
      6. Staff members must comply with the University's Conflict of Interest Policy.
      7. Staff and sponsors should be aware that sponsorships attract GST and is deducted from the total sponsorship amount. In-kind sponsorship is also liable for GST .
      8. The University does not accept responsibility for ensuring that sponsorship agreements entitle the sponsor to tax deductibility.
      9. University funds that are made available from time to time to supplement sponsorship funding will be allocated in accordance with established budgetary procedures.
      10. The terms and conditions governing the use of sponsorship funding are matters of public record, except for information that is confidential or proprietary.
    5. Sponsorships over $2,500

    6. The Director of Development and Alumni Relations must be informed of and approve all intended approaches at or above $2,500 before any sponsorship request is developed (refer to the definition of Development under Definitions in this document).
    7. Sponsorships under $2,500

    8. Sponsorship opportunities amounting to less than $2,500 may be developed and advanced without the approval of the Director of Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO). DARO staff can provide guidance or support to staff with these sponsorships where time and resources permit.
  3. DARO responsibilities

    1. The Development and Alumni Relations Office is responsible for:
      1. Providing strategic management of meaningful philanthropic and sponsorship relationships with the University.
      2. Developing sponsorship proposals for approved University projects or areas valued at or above $2,500.
      3. Obtaining feedback from the Communications Office and Marketing Services on potential sponsorship deliverables for sponsorships valued at or above $2,500.
      4. Ensuring required sponsorship deliverables are fulfilled for sponsorships valued at or above $2,500.
      5. Co‑ordinating and providing formal reports to sponsors for all sponsorships valued at or above $2,500, and for ensuring that these reports conform to University policy.
      6. Assisting the Vice-Chancellor in advising the University Council on a quarterly basis of all sponsorship agreements of $50,000 and above.
      7. Providing advice to staff on sponsorship development, where appropriate.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of these guidelines or need further clarification, contact:

Senior Strategy and Policy Adviser
External Engagement

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