Seeking Corporate Sponsorship

Sponsorships can help state and local PTAs further programs, aims, and goals of the association and can be linked to specific events, programs, activities, or publications, or can be added to general funds. Sponsorship money or in-kind donations cannot be solicited nor accepted from companies that manufacture products or take public positions inconsistent with National PTA’s positions and resolutions (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, or firearm companies).

Sponsorship vs. Endorsement

Corporate sponsorship is a funding mechanism in which a for-profit entity provides cash, products, or know-how to a charitable or educational association in return for an acknowledgment of thanks. The acknowledgment of thanks generally takes the form of public recognition for the sponsor’s support. Endorsement activities are fundraising mechanisms in which charitable or educational associations endorse the products or services of a for-profit entity.

Sponsorships are an appropriate means of funding projects and programs that promote the objectives of the association. Endorsement activities are not appropriate for PTA participation based on PTA’s noncommercial policy

A 501(c)(3) charitable or educational association is not prohibited from engaging in corporate sponsorship activities. A special provision in the IRC makes 501(c)(3) organizations exempt from paying federal income taxes on income from corporate sponsorships, as long as the benefits that are given back to the corporate sponsor fall within IRS guidelines. Because qualifying corporate sponsorship income is considered a charitable donation, there is no limit to the amount that can be received by a 501(c)(3) organization.

Recognition Guidelines

In return for sponsorship, a PTA may thank the sponsor for its contribution. The thank you may be in writing or on posters, banners, or other appropriate media. The written acknowledgement must be limited to an expression of thanks and can list identifying information for the sponsor. The acknowledgement can never make a qualitative judgment regarding the sponsor or its product, and it cannot appear as though PTA is directly requesting that people buy a sponsor's products or services; otherwise, the sponsorship payment may be subject to federal income tax.