Commercial Arrangements, Sponsorship and Donations

Direction and guidance for schools and directorates on managing commercial arrangements, sponsorships and donations with external organisations, individuals and/or businesses.

Changes since previous version

2023 Jun 30 - updated policy statement to reflect the exclusion of weapons manufacturers. Updated Commercial Arrangements, Sponsorsip and Donations procedures to include advice regarding:

  • mandatory sponsorship risk assessment and conflict of interest declaration
  • defining record management, monitoring and registering of sponsorship activity
  • general ledger accounts
  • legal review of third party agreement templates
  • significant obligations for schools in P&C managed sponsorships.

Document history

2022 Nov 16 - updated business unit name in policy statement. Updated business unit name and links in implementation document.

2022 Jan 21 - updated contact details in policy statement.

2021 Oct 01 - policy name change to reflect the consolidation of Sponsorship policy and Commercial Arrangements School-based Activities policy into a single policy. Instructions regarding advertising on the school perimeter moved to the Sharing of School Facilities policy. Implementation document: Commercial Arrangements, Sponsorship and Donations added to policy.

2020 Apr 08 - updated contact details and repaired broken links.

2019 Feb 14 - updated contact details and made minor style and editing changes.

2015 Dec 17- updated content in response to the School Operations and Performance realignment including financial delegations.

Superseded documents


  1. Policy statement
    1. The department supports commercial arrangements, sponsorship and donations with appropriate organisations, individuals, businesses and other government agencies excluding organisations promoting unhealthy food, tobacco, alcohol products, gambling products, weapons manufacturing or anything illegal.
    2. Commercial arrangements include a school or directorate providing goods and/or services to an external organisation, individual or business in return for cash, non-cash goods and/or services (value-in-kind contributions).
    3. Sponsorship is a specific form of commercial arrangement in which a sponsor provides a contribution in money or value-in-kind to support an activity in return for certain specified benefits.
    4. A school or directorate may provide an external party with goods and/or services in a commercial or sponsorship arrangement (incoming sponsorship) in return for cash and/or value-in-kind contributions.
    5. A school or directorate may sponsor an external program, event and/or initiative (outgoing sponsorship) if it aligns with this policy and the department's strategic objectives.
    6. Sponsorship does not include gifts, donations, promotional activities, advertising, fundraising and crowdfunding.
    7. Donations include funds and goods or services provided at no cost to a school or directorate this can be received as gifts, bequests or through fundraising activities including crowdfunding.
    8. This policy does not cover:
      1. a school or directorate paying an external party for goods and/or services see the Procurement policy (staff only)
      2. an external party using any part of a school's premises, including the school fence see the Sharing of School Facilities policy
      3. hiring government property for community, private or commercial use see the Sharing of School Facilities policy.
    9. Schools and directorates must consider conflict of interest issues when assessing any commercial arrangement, sponsorship or donation. Refer to Conflicts of interest (staff only) and Controversial Issues in Schools policy (staff only).
    10. Schools and directorates can use commercial arrangements, sponsorship and donations to supplement funds allocated to educational programs, without displacing any government funding or other provisions for NSW public schools and the department.
    11. Schools must use revenue from commercial arrangements, sponsorship and donations including gifts and fundraising activities to meet educational outcomes and support the department's strategic objectives.
    12. Commercial arrangements and sponsorship must be consistent with the principles, vision and goals of public education in NSW. The arrangements must:
      1. support teaching and learning
      2. meet an identified need within the school or program
      3. represent value for money for the department or school.
    13. The school, department, employees or students must not endorse (perceived or actual) products and/or services, or pressure individuals to adopt or purchase particular products and/or services because of commercial arrangements.
    14. Commercial arrangements must be documented appropriately for the type of arrangement, as outlined in the Commercial Arrangements, Sponsorship and Donations procedures (PDF 344 KB). Revenue must be recorded in standard financial, annual and project reports.
    15. Schools and directorates must manage donations, including receiving gifts and bequests and fundraising activities in accordance with the Code of Conduct, Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality procedures and finance and accounting advice (staff only).
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. All staff who arrange, approve and/or deliver commercial arrangements, sponsorship and donations in schools and/or across the department (directorates).
  3. Context
    1. This policy draws on definitions and standards outlined at
    2. The Commercial Arrangements, Sponsorship and Donations procedures (PDF 344 KB) provide further direction for implementing this policy.
    3. Schools and directorates should continue to operate in accordance with established policies, and with the department's Delegations of authority.
    4. Specific responsibilities and approvals arising as a result of this policy are outlined in section 4 below.
    5. All monetary amounts listed in this policy are inclusive of GST, unless otherwise stated.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. Principals and authorised delegates:
      1. ensure their school's commercial arrangements comply with this policy, they have assessed risks, and declared and documented any conflicts of interest refer to Conflicts of interest (staff only)
      2. approve commercial arrangements for their school for up to $50,000 in value (cash or value in kind)
      3. liaise with Business Engagement where an external organisation is negotiating similar commercial arrangements with multiple schools and/or directorates.
    2. Directors, Educational Leadership:
      1. approve commercial arrangements involving a group of schools in a principal network
      2. consult with Procurement directorate and Business Engagement for arrangements involving a group of schools where the total contract value is more than $50,000 in accordance with 4.3 and 4.4.
    3. Procurement directorate:
      1. advise on commercial arrangements more than $50,000 in value (cash or value in kind).
    4. Business Engagement:
      1. advise on and approve all commercial arrangements more than $50,000 in value (cash or value in kind)
      2. advise on all statewide activity as well as any other commercial arrangements on request.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Director, Engagement, monitors the implementation of this policy, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.
  6. Contact
    Business Engagement
    02 7814 3863
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