Commercial arrangements, sponsorship and donations procedures

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


All staff who arrange, approve and/or deliver commercial arrangements, sponsorship and donations.

Version Date Descripton of changes Approved by


15/03/2024 Under the 2023 Policy and procedure review program, converted into new template and improved readability. Updated the unsuitable product list to include vapes. Reduced school administration by:
  • simplifying responsibilities and delegations so Business Engagement co-signs agreements over $50,000
  • ensuring schools only need to record value-in-kind sponsorships worth $5000 or more in the sponsorship register, where there is no record in SAP
  • ensuring Business Engagement monitors all sponsorship transactions in SAP
  • consolidating mandatory actions on fundraising, donations and bequests from multiple documents.
Executive Director, Communication and Engagement
V02.1.0 30/06/2023 Includes updates required by Governance of Sponsorship audit:
  • mandatory sponsorship risk assessment and conflict of interest declaration
  • defining record management, monitoring and registering of sponsorship activity
  • general ledger and fund codes
  • legal review of third-party agreement templates
  • significant obligations for schools in P&C managed sponsorships.
Executive Director, Communication and Engagement
V02.0.1 16/11/2022 Updates to business unit name and links. Executive Director, Communication and Engagement
V02.0.0 01/10/2021 Combines Sponsorship policy and Commercial Arrangements – School-based Activities policy into a single policy and moves instructions regarding advertising on the school perimeter to the Sharing of School Facilities policy This document is published as PD-2009-0399-01. Executive Director, Communication and Engagement

01/04/2020 Initial publication Sponsorship and Commercial Arrangements – School-Based Activities Implementation Procedures (published as PD-2005-0295-01). Includes updated procedures for signage and advertising on school property and new implementation procedures for crowdfunding. Supersedes Sponsorship Guidelines V10 and the Commercial Arrangements – School-Based Activities Guidelines V7. Executive Director, Learning and Business

About the policy

Term Definition
Acknowledgement A mention or recognition of a sponsor or supporter, either in words and/or with a logo, in the context of a specific program or initiative. It is a factual statement the department produces without external input, usually of gratitude for support received. An acknowledgement must not endorse or recommend (actual or perceived) a product and/or service and/or encourage patronage of any external organisation.
Advertising An external organisation pays to publish promotional material in a school’s communication channels, or when the department and/or a school pays to promote its products and/or services via external channels. Advertising content is produced by the organisation seeking to advertise, must be clearly identified as advertising wherever it is published and must be presented in balance and proportion with educational and informational content.

Transferring private property such as cash, securities and/or other assets to a school or directorate as specified in a will.

A bequest may be made in several ways – pecuniary, specific or residuary. Bequests may take the form of a ‘living bequest’ or a normal bequest on the death of the testator (the person who has made a will or given a legacy). A living bequest enables a donor to make one or more tax-deductible donations during their lifetime, which are invested by the named recipient with interest earned on the invested funds recapitalised, thereby growing the value of the bequest during the donor’s lifetime.

Benefits Sponsorship benefits refer to the return on investment and any additional or potential value provided. This will normally be a list of benefits that a school or directorate receives or provides for a sponsorship investment during the term of the agreement.
Collaboration Refers to the department working with subject matter experts, other teams across government and industry groups or suppliers to achieve a common vision or goal, or outcome that one stakeholder could not have achieved alone. Using an agreed set of expectations, a collaboration will draw on each stakeholder’s strengths and capabilities to deliver significant outcomes for teachers and students. A collaboration arrangement will involve shared responsibility by a school or directorate and an external organisation to support a particular program, event, or initiative. It is not commercial and does not involve the exchange of funds. See also Partnership arrangement (within this table below).
Commercial arrangements

A school or directorate provides goods and/or services in exchange for cash and/or value-in-kind contributions. While the subject of a commercial arrangement may not directly contribute to educational outcomes in a school – for example, selling advertising in the school newsletter or hiring out the school hall – the cash or value-in-kind contributions (goods and/or services) must be used to enhance educational outcomes in line with the department’s strategic objectives.

Commercial arrangements are instigated by external organisations seeking to pay a school for its goods and/or services. A school or directorate paying an external organisation for goods and/or services is a procurement activity and subject to the department’s Procurement policy (staff only).

Crowdfunding A form of fundraising involving an internet platform or benefit to raise money for a project or initiative. Schools can use crowdfunding to support extra-curricular projects, or projects that would not be government funded. Crowdfunding must be for an identified need, as opposed to funding for the whole school. Crowdfunding is not a commercial arrangement or sponsorship but a form of fundraising.
Directorates Education support staff and their organisational areas (non-school-based staff).
Expression of interest

An expression of interest (EOI) is part of a fair and open selection or qualification process. Schools and directorates interested in seeking sponsorship should develop criteria against which they will potentially assess sponsors’ EOIs. The EOI is usually made widely available on the department and/or school website.

A supplier or organisation will use the EOI process to demonstrate their capacity to meet the criteria specific to a sponsorship proposal. It can result in the supplier or organisation negotiating for a contract or being shortlisted. Schools and directorates should document the assessment and selection process for the decisions made.

Fundraising Schools and directorates seeking to raise funds by conducting activities such as fetes, appeals and raffles.
Gifts and donations

Gifts or donations are not a commercial arrangement or sponsorship. Gifts and donations require nothing in return – there is no exchange of value. Schools or directorates do not need a formal agreement to document a gift or donation, but they will need to provide a receipt.

Donations are contributions in cash or value-in-kind (for example, goods and/or services) provided to a school or directorate without receipt of anything in return other than acknowledgement of the donation. Donations can be received as gifts, bequests, or through fundraising activities including crowdfunding.


The government or other organisation provides discretionary funding to an external organisation, individual or business for a specified purpose directed at achieving goals and objectives consistent with the government’s or other organisation’s policy. A grant recipient is selected on merit against a set of criteria. A grant is not a donation.
Memorandum of understanding A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a non-legally binding document suitable for documenting an intention to work towards a shared goal with another government agency.
Partnership arrangement A relationship between 2 or more organisations with a common goal. For example, an event may have media partnerships to support the broadcast. Partnership arrangements need to be documented in a sponsorship or collaboration agreement to avoid the legal implications associated with the term ‘partnership.’ Schools and directorates need to contact Business Engagement if an organisation is seeking a partnership. See also Collaboration (within this table above).
Philanthropy An act of charitable giving or a gift provided for humanitarian purposes on a large scale. Acts of philanthropy include donating money to a charity or a school program, volunteering or raising money to donate to educational research.
Project lead The staff responsible for managing a commercial arrangement.

While advertising refers to controlled, paid messages distributed through media channels, promotion is typically a short-term marketing strategy designed to increase brand or product awareness or sales by immediate customer incentives. Commercially, promotional activities are usually paid campaigns. In an educational context, limited promotional activities may be offered as sponsorship benefits.


A commercial arrangement in which a sponsor provides a cash or value-in-kind contribution to support a particular program, event or initiative in return for certain specified benefits. They can be provided by the corporate sector or private individuals to support a public sector activity, or by the public sector to support related and worthwhile private or public sector activities. It does not include selling advertising space, joint ventures, consultancies, grants (regarding received sponsorship), unconditional gifts, donations, bequests, or endowment.

Sponsorship is not philanthropic. A sponsor expects to receive a reciprocal benefit beyond a modest acknowledgement.

Incoming sponsorships are instigated by a school or directorate to seek cash and value-in-kind contributions to support an extracurricular program or initiative.

Outgoing sponsorship is any contribution (cash or value in kind) that the department provides to a private sector or community organisation to support a program, event, or initiative in return for specified benefits.

Suitable organisation A reputable body that provides goods and/or services that benefit student outcomes and whose objectives, products and marketing strategies do not conflict with the department’s values and objectives.
Unsolicited proposal Potential sponsors can initiate unsolicited proposals that are not in response to any sponsorship-seeking activity from the school or directorate.
Value-in-kind contributions A form of sponsorship where an organisation provides services and/or goods instead of cash to support a program, event, or initiative. Sometimes referred to as ‘in-kind’ or ‘contra’ sponsorship or contribution.

Principals, managers and project leads:

  • ensure their school's or directorate’s commercial arrangements comply with this policy, they have assessed risk and declared and documented any conflicts of interest. Refer to Conflicts of interest (staff only)
  • approve commercial arrangements for their school or directorate in line with the department’s Delegations of Authority (staff only)
  • approve contributions and donations from the school’s parents and citizens association
  • consult with Business Engagement, if they become aware that an external organisation is negotiating similar commercial arrangements with multiple schools and/or directorates
  • consult with Business Engagement when the value of a sponsorship or commercial arrangement contract exceeds $50,000 (cash or value in kind)
  • record value-in-kind sponsorships valued at more than $5,000 in the sponsorship register (where no money is received and no record exists in SAP).

Directors, educational leadership:

  • approve commercial arrangements involving a group of schools in a principal network
  • consult with Business Engagement when the value of the sponsorship or commercial arrangement contract exceeds $50,000 (cash or value in kind).

Procurement staff:

  • advise on commercial arrangements that are greater than $50,000 in value (cash or value in kind) with an existing or pending supplier (including those on a prequalification scheme).

Business Engagement staff:

  • advise, review and co-sign all commercial arrangements greater than $50,000 in value (cash or value in kind)
  • advise on all statewide activity and other commercial arrangements on request
  • monitor sponsorship transactions in SAP to ensure sponsors are suitable
  • refer commercial arrangements to Procurement as required.

Legal staff:

  • advise when a sponsor, school or directorate proposes any substantial change to a department agreement template.

What needs to be done

All staff must adhere to the principles of commercial arrangements. The principles provide practical guidance on how to ensure commercial arrangements benefit the department and students, satisfy NSW Government regulations, and uphold the department’s reputation.

These procedures do not address:

  • a school or directorate paying an external party for goods and/or services – refer to the Procurement policy (staff only)
  • an external party using any part of a school’s premises, including outside school hours care (OSHC) Licences, Preschool Licences, Community Use Agreements, advertising on the school fence – refer to the Sharing of School Facilities policy
  • hiring government property for community, private or commercial use – refer to the Sharing of School Facilities policy
  • students attending external programs or participating in excursions (principals make decisions about their students' engagement in activities with external organisations in incursions and excursions). Refer to the Excursions policy
  • grants – for more information on creating and managing grants visit the NSW Government Grants Administration Guide. For more information on applying for grants see Schools Finance Sources of revenue.

1. Principles of commercial arrangements, including sponsorship arrangements

Commercial arrangements, including sponsorship programs and activities, should:

  • contribute to student outcomes
  • enhance educational programs or reduce the cost of a particular program, event or initiative
  • achieve greater community awareness or public profile for the department, or for a particular department service, program or product, than may otherwise have been possible.

1.1 Supplement department funding, do not displace it

Corporate involvement in public education can only supplement funding for educational programs and events. It cannot displace government funding, or other provisions for NSW public schools and the department.

1.2 Only partner with suitable organisations

Organisations, individuals and businesses must have a public image, products and/or services that are consistent with the department’s principles, vision and goals as outlined in the Values in NSW public schools policy.

Staff should not seek or accept sponsorship from organisations or individuals that the department may regulate or inspect during the life of the sponsorship such as childcare providers.

Organisations that promote unhealthy food, tobacco products and/or vapes, alcohol products, gambling products, weapons manufacturing and anything illegal, are unsuitable.

Suitable sponsors:

  • are reputable organisations, individuals or bodies
  • have objectives, products and marketing strategies that do not conflict with the department’s values and objectives
  • provide goods or services that will benefit student outcomes and be of the required type and quality.

In cases where it may not be clear, principals may use their discretion to decide if an organisation is suitable to engage in commercial arrangements, sponsorships and donations based on their local context and school community. Principals should prioritise students’ educational outcomes when making decisions and assessing risks, and document these in the Sponsorship Risk Assessment (available on the business engagement resources page).

For example, in the case of RSLs, workers clubs and community clubs, principals may decide in their local context if the organisation is suitable to engage with.

1.3 Run open processes

The department’s processes should be open, fair, transparent and not limited solely to invited sponsors.

Every sponsorship arrangement must include a sponsorship risk assessment (PDF 766 KB) and conflict of interest declaration (DOCX 54 KB).

For all sponsorship proposals, consider expressions of interest (EOIs) (DOCX 77.1 KB).

When managing large, high-profile and/or statewide activities attracting substantial sponsorship amounts and strong sponsor interest, consider competitive processes such as tenders or expressions of interest.

1.4 Refuse personal benefits

Staff members must not:

  • seek or receive a personal benefit, or be perceived to receive a personal benefit, from a commercial arrangement or sponsorship
  • request support from a sponsor for a non-departmental program or charity.

Sponsor contributions must:

  • go to the school or directorate, not to a staff member
  • be seen to benefit the department.

1.5 Offer suitable sponsorship benefits

Staff must only offer suitable benefits to a sponsor, as outlined below. Do not offer any of the unsuitable benefits outlined in this section.

These can include:

  • sponsor acknowledgment and logo recognition
  • invitations to attend functions such as concerts, dinners, sporting events, exhibitions, dance or drama performances, presentation nights, or competition finals with school and department staff
  • the opportunity to address the audience (with department’s prior approval of the text) and/or present awards at these events
  • acknowledgement at major events in a designated sponsor section in school or program communication channels. For example:

‘Thank you to [sponsor name] for its support of the school music concert. Its contribution has enabled the school to purchase a range of new instruments, making it possible for more students to participate in our music program.’

  • a letter of appreciation or certificate recognising the sponsor’s designation or level of support (a template certificate of appreciation (PDF 1.15 MB) is available on the business engagement resources page)
  • editorial material or a foreword included in publications associated with a program, event, or initiative – in line with the department’s content guidelines with no endorsement
  • a branded award provided by the sponsor such as ‘The [sponsor name] creativity award’
  • the opportunity for sponsors to provide branded token gifts (with the department’s prior approval and which comply with the Gifts, benefits, and hospitality procedures (PDF 342 KB)) that are distributed at department events, programs and initiatives to participating staff, teachers, and students
  • the opportunity to distribute promotional flyers, products, and advertising material at department events, programs and initiatives to staff, teachers, and participants over 18 years
  • use of a school’s premises, such as advertising on a school fence, or provision of a venue. This type of benefit must be processed according to the Sharing of School Facilities policy.

These include the following:

  • Endorsement – do not offer or agree to endorse a sponsor, or a sponsor’s product or service. Staff must advise value-in-kind sponsors they do not have the right to claim or imply that the department or school endorses their product or service. Refer to Endorsement.
  • School rewards programs – schools must not agree to receive financial support for recommending parents, staff and/or students use a particular product or service provider. Businesses may choose to operate a school rewards program at their discretion and make donations to schools. It must be clear that a donation does not require anything in return. Staff must provide a receipt for the donation.
  • Kickbacks, spotter’s fees and finder’s fees – staff must not receive financial remuneration for recommending, endorsing, or directing business to a sponsor or supplier. For example, a school enters an arrangement to endorse, or recommend a real estate agent in exchange for a $500 finder’s fee to the school.
  • First right of refusal – staff cannot offer a sponsor first right of refusal when a contract finishes. They must undertake an open, fair and transparent process to seek further sponsorship. Refer to Sponsorship and collaborations.
  • Naming rights – staff cannot give a sponsor naming rights to brand or replace the title of a department or school program. For example, ‘The [sponsor name] Sports Carnival’ or ‘The [sponsor name] Education Week.’
  • Promotional activities to underage participants – The department strongly discourages schools and directorates from distributing promotional flyers, products and advertising material in schools, or at department events, programs and initiatives, to underage participants. For special conditions, refer to Manage a promotional activity or a request to film on school grounds. Refer to Controversial Issues in Schools policy for more information.
  • Designation – staff cannot offer a sponsor the designation ‘School Sponsor’ or ‘Department Sponsor.’ Sponsorship may only be sought for specific programs and initiatives.

1.6 Ensure value for money

Staff need to consider costs across the lifecycle of a commercial arrangement, including initial costs as well as long-term expenses and benefits (refer to the Design Framework: Sustainability). To ensure value for money, the benefits should outweigh the effort and costs required to establish and oversee it.

1.7 Thank sponsors, do not endorse them

Staff must not:

  • provide testimonials
  • endorse an organisation’s products or services
  • provide testimonials for third parties.

External parties must not:

  • claim the department, or its staff endorse their product or services
  • publish or share school or department logos without prior authorisation, for example, an external organisation cannot state ‘as recommended by the school.’

Accepting a product and/or service as a value-in-kind contribution does not imply the department or school endorses it.

Commercial arrangements must not:

  • imply, infer, or involve the endorsement of a particular company, product, or service by the department, its employees, or students
  • place any pressure on students, parents, or department employees to purchase and use any goods and services
  • promote an organisation’s products or services as superior or the best value or include directives to support the sponsor.

Acceptance and/or use of an organisation’s product or service must not be a condition for student or teacher participation in a commercial arrangement, sponsored program, event, or initiative.

This restriction on endorsement also applies to businesses that deliver services on school premises, such as allied health providers and before and after school care services. School staff must not endorse or promote a business regardless of whether it operates on the school’s grounds or not.

1.8 Manage conflicts of interest

If a school or directorate decides to accept and manage an actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest, they must record the decision-making processes and conflict management strategies. Refer to Conflict of interest (staff only).

Schools and directorates are not to enter procurement commitments in the expectation that sponsorship revenue will be received. The expectation of sponsorship revenue should not be leveraged in procurement negotiations.

1.9 Maintain written agreements and seek relevant approval

Commercial arrangements must be documented in writing, using a department agreement template wherever possible. Only use a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between NSW Government agencies.

Schools or directorates need to note any use of a school’s premises offered as a benefit in a sponsorship agreement but process it according to the Sharing of School Facilities policy.


  • may include the option to extend for an additional year, up to 2 times (to a total of 2 additional years). Contracts, including extensions, should not last longer than 5 years
  • once signed and completed, can have changes to the agreed benefit schedule documented in a letter or email of variation.

Schools or directorates must consult Legal Services:

  • before signing any third-party agreement templates
  • if a sponsor proposes a substantial change to a department agreement template.

Ensure that commercial arrangements are co-signed as appropriate (Table 1).

Table 1 Agreement review by value of commercial arrangement

Commercial arrangement involves Approval (according to Delegation of Authority) Business Engagement needs to review and co-sign

Single school (up to $50,000)

Principal or authorised project lead


Group of schools in a principal network (up to $50,000)

Director, Educational Leadership


Single school (over $50,000)

Principal or authorised project lead


Multiple schools (over $50,000)

Director, Educational Leadership


1.10 Know when to decline a value-in-kind sponsorship contribution or donation

Value-in-kind sponsorship contributions and donations may be unsuitable if the goods or services:

  • are poor quality, out of date or obsolete
  • will cost the department money to maintain, continue, or dispose of
  • are covered by a mandatory procurement contract
  • present security risks (for example devices or digital services that are not compatible with the department’s security protocols)
  • undermine or compromise an existing procurement arrangement
  • do not meet the Education Facilities Standards and Guidelines.

For advice contact Procurement (contact details at the end of this page under Contacts).

2. Working with external organisations

2.1 Assess an organisation’s suitability

Principals, managers or project leads must assess an organisation by following the instructions below.

Ensure the organisation has a valid Australian Business Number (ABN). Check Australian Government - Australian Business Register.


For advice contact Procurement (contact details at the end of this page under Contacts).

Consider any controversial issues that might impact the viability of working with the organisation.

Examples may include:

  • the type of products or services it markets and their impact on the health of consumers, the community and the environment
  • criminal conduct, allegations, court action
  • board members
  • privacy policy
  • marketing methods
  • its public image, as well as its parent companies or subsidiaries.

For more information, refer to Controversial Issues in Schools policy.

Assess an organisation's suitability independently of its affiliations, sponsorships and partnerships.

A National Rugby League team (NRL team) may have unsuitable sponsors (for example, an alcohol vendor). It is appropriate for students to receive coaching and mentoring from the team if their sponsors have no influence or input into activities with the school.

The Australian War Memorial may have unsuitable sponsors (for example, weapons manufacturers) but it is an appropriate place for students to attend regardless of this affiliation.

2.2 Work with parents and citizens association

Schools can follow the process outlined below when collaborating with their parents and citizens association (P&C) on commercial arrangements, sponsorships, collaborations, donations and fundraising activities.

Agree on a sponsorship and fundraising strategy with the P&C:

  • establish and develop the P&C’s capacity to apply for grants and engage the local community to raise funds
  • develop a list of projects suitable for sponsorship, fundraising and donations (refer to Seek incoming sponsorship for an initiative (incoming sponsorship)
  • P&Cs do not need a permit for fundraising
  • a P&C may be eligible to apply for grants that a public school is not. In general, P&C associations are not eligible for deductible gift recipient status, but like a school, may operate a building fund that is eligible
  • if the P&C wishes to donate particular goods and services to the school, it is better for the P&C to donate the GST-exclusive amount, and the school to purchase the goods and services directly. This means the department pays the GST amount and claims the input tax credit.

Monitor potential P&C sponsorship arrangements to ensure:

  • the suitability of any organisation the P&C plans to engage with (refer to Assess an organisation’s suitability)
  • P&C sponsorship policies and guidelines are aligned to the department’s
  • any obligations (as outlined below) for the department or the school are approved.

Obligations might be:

  • minor, for example, a logo acknowledgement in a school newsletter
  • major, for example, arranging for filming, photography or an event on school premises.

If the obligations are significant, principals need to determine whether the school should be an additional party to the agreement, or the direct recipient of the sponsorship.

Ensure the P&C is aware of its role and responsibilities, which include:

  • issuing their own receipt for a tax-deductible donation, rather than the school issuing it
  • ensuring all grant applications include the P&C association’s banking details and not the school’s
  • ensuring a formal agreement is in place to use school facilities for fundraising activities (for example, fetes).

Manage cash and value-in-kind donations from the P&C appropriately.

Ensure P&C-donated equipment is compatible with existing department equipment and systems. Check with Asset Management, Information Technology and Procurement).

2.3 Respond to unsolicited proposals

It is best practice to go through an open process (expression of interest [EOI]) to be fair and equitable and to capture other sponsors or collaborators (refer to Seek incoming sponsorship for an initiative (incoming sponsorship). In situations where unsolicited proposals need to be evaluated, principals, managers or project leads must undertake the following:

  • Decide whether the proposal presents value for money, aligns with your school’s or directorate’s strategic objectives, and presents no conflict of interest.
  • Accept the proposal if desired, provided it meets the following requirements:
    • the organisation is suitable. Refer to Assess an organisation’s suitability
    • the organisation provides a unique product, service, or solution
    • the proposal does not undermine or compromise an existing procurement arrangement
    • an EOI is not feasible. This may be because the offer contains confidential, sensitive information or intellectual property (commercial-in-confidence); or it is a one-off of major benefit requiring a quick decision or deadlines prohibit any further market testing
    • it is documented in a written agreement. Refer to Maintain written agreements and seek relevant approval.

If the above requirements are not met, decline the proposal and/or advertise as an open opportunity (EOI).

If the proposal is accepted, record:

  • exceptional circumstances
  • reasons for accepting the unsolicited offer
  • reasons for not conducting an open process.

2.4 Share external communications

When providing a link to an external source, the department must avoid the implication that it endorses those websites or the people or companies who own them, and vice versa.

Staff must:

  • determine whether information from an external organisation is appropriate to share on department channels. Complete the ‘Sharing External Communications Checklist’ on the business engagement resources page
  • if the message passes the checklist, share it on appropriate channels.

Staff can use the following disclaimer:

‘This link is provided with the intention of increasing the information available to you. The NSW Department of Education has no control over linked websites and is not responsible for the views, opinions, standards or information expressed on linked websites. The provision of a link does not imply that the NSW Department of Education endorses those websites or the people or companies who own them, and vice versa.’

2.5 Display an organisation’s name or logo

When displaying an organisation's name or logo, in conjunction with a commercial arrangement, sponsorship, collaboration, donation or fundraising activity, staff must comply with the department’s requirements, as set out below.

  • Ensure the organisation whose name or logo is to be displayed is suitable. Refer to 2.1 Assess an organisation’s suitability.
  • Display the organisation’s name or logo, ensuring compliance requirements are met (as outlined below).

Compliance requirements:

  • As part of a sponsor benefit, the department can publicly display an organisation’s logo or name in connection with the department’s logo, or a school’s logo, in any school or directorate communication or media channel.
  • The sponsor logo must not be larger than the department logo. For guidance on displaying the NSW Department of Education logo see the department’s brand guidelines (staff only).
  • Logo acknowledgement needs to specify sponsorship of a program, event, or initiative rather than of the school or department as a whole. For example, the Schools Spectacular, Education Week, teachers’ conference, school breakfast club or robotics team.
  • Always place the logo in the context of the sponsored program, event, or initiative, for example:
    • on a sign promoting the program
    • in printed and online materials (newsletter, flyer, program)
    • on the school or program communication channels in line with relevant policies, for example, the Nutrition in Schools policy and Social Media policy.
  • Do not give the impression that the department endorses the organisation, its products or services.
  • Do not display an organisation’s name and logo on school uniforms ordinarily worn by students. For sport, physical education and physical activity classes the school’s sport uniform is classed as ‘a school uniform’.
  • A sponsor’s or manufacturer’s logo may be displayed on a school’s representative sporting uniform (for example, football jumpers), commemorative attire (for example, a school leaver’s jersey), or other clothing produced for a specific school team, event, or occasion (for example, a school’s choir, robotics team, chess club). The school or department should remain the primary brand.
  • An organisation’s logo may link to an appropriate page on their website. The department accepts no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of third-party sites linked to and from department sites. You can use the following disclaimer from the department’s copyright page

    ‘If you use the links provided on this website to access a third party's website, you acknowledge that the terms of use, including licence terms set out on the third party's website apply to the use that may be made of the materials on that third party’s website or where permitted, by the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The department accepts no responsibility for content on third-party websites.’

3. Commercial arrangements

3.1 Paying for and selling advertising

All paid advertising that the department leads must comply with the NSW Department of Customer Service’s rules and regulations and the Government Advertising Act 2011 (refer to ‘Paying for advertising’ below).

Schools may sell advertising space in school newsletters and on school perimeters, fences, and boundaries. Schools may also offer advertising space as a sponsorship benefit.

If the advertising is on a school premise such as the school perimeter, fence or wall (see example scenarios (PDF 188.87 KB)) you must comply with the Sharing of school facilities policy and the Advertising on School Perimeters checklist (PDF 156.39 KB) (refer to ‘Selling advertising’ below).

For information and to request support on advertising, please refer to the Communications and Engagement Advertising intranet page.

Paid advertising should only be considered part of a strategic communications plan where there is evidence to demonstrate it will help achieve the department's objectives.

Government advertising is not permitted in the lead-up to a state election.

Principals, managers or project leads must ensure advertising material complies with the department’s requirements.

  • Ensure any potential advertiser is a suitable organisation. Refer to Assess an organisation’s suitability.
  • Complete an advertising letter of agreement to determine where advertising will be placed.
  • Publish the advertisement. Make sure advertising material published in a school communication channel is:
    • clearly distinguishable as paid advertising
    • proportionate to school-generated content (ensure advertisements are not more prominent in position, size, or number than school content)
    • not placed in classrooms or in a position in the school that targets students.
  • Distributing promotional flyers and advertisements to students is strongly discouraged.
  • Invoice and receive advertising revenue in SAP. Refer to the Schools Finance Sources of revenue for the correct cost assignment, general ledger and fund code.
  • Remove advertising at the end of the agreed term.

3.2 Manage a promotional activity or a request to film on school grounds

In general, the department strongly discourages promotional activities such as direct marketing, sales promotion and public relations by external organisations in schools.

Principals, managers, or project leads must follow the steps below:

  • Ensure there is an overriding educational, wellbeing or strategic benefit or outcome for students and the organisation is suitable. Refer to Assess an organisation’s suitability.
  • Where a second opinion is required, staff should consult the Director, Educational Leadership or the Director, Engagement and Corporate Reporting. For advice on complying with the department’s obligations regarding non-endorsements, contact Business Engagement (contact details at the end of this page under Contacts).
  • If the activity involves filming on school grounds or a media visit, staff must contact the Media Unit (contact details at the end of this page under Contacts).
  • Consider completing a risk management plan to ensure any risks are addressed and mitigation agreed to in writing with the third party.

4. Sponsorship and collaborations

4.1 Seek incoming sponsorship for an initiative (incoming sponsorship)

There are 3 phases for seeking incoming sponsorships, as outlined in this section:

  • Phase 1 – planning and advertising for a sponsorship, including deciding on an approach, putting out an expression of interest and assessing responses.
  • Phase 2 – setting the sponsorship up, including completing a mandatory risk assessment, developing and signing agreements and steps to receive and record sponsorship funds and value-in-kind contributions.
  • Phase 3 – managing and supporting the sponsorship, including delivering the sponsorship arrangement, evaluating and reporting at the end of the sponsorship activity and renegotiating or terminating agreements as recommended.

Principals, managers, or project leads must adhere to the following the processes and decide whether to use an open process (best practice to ensure incoming sponsorships are equitable and fair) or a direct approach.

A direct approach may be necessary in some circumstances, for example, where:

  • the selection criteria indicate only one suitable sponsor
  • the activity is of interest only to one potential sponsor
  • time is limited
  • an open expression of interest (EOI) process produces no result
  • the reason for approaching a single sponsor, rather than using an open EOI is documented in the Sponsorship Risk Assessment (PDF 766.27 KB).

Prepare an Expression of Interest (EOI) template (DOCX 77.1 KB). The EOI must include selection criteria against which the project lead will assess potential sponsors and suitable sponsorship benefits that will be offered. Contributions can be cash or value-in-kind. Refer to Offer suitable sponsorship benefits.

Approve and publish the EOI (go to market), and:

  • publish on the department or school’s website
  • distribute the EOI to all or as many organisations in the targeted industry sector or category as possible.

Assess respondents. Principals, managers, or project leads must decide on the basis of:

  • alignment with the published selection criteria
  • the organisation’s values and reputation (refer to 1.2 Only partner with suitable organisations)
  • risk and conflict of interest (addressed later in the Sponsorship Risk Assessment)
  • value for money (the cost of managing smaller sponsorships may outweigh the benefits received)
  • whether it undermines or compromises an existing procurement arrangement
  • whether the value-in-kind products or services meet the department’s Education Facilities Standards and Guidelines.

Notify successful and unsuccessful EOI applicants.

Principals, managers, or project leads must follow the process outlined below.

Complete the mandatory Sponsorship Risk Assessment (PDF 776.27 KB) (including a conflict of interest declaration) for successful sponsors. If there are several sponsors with similar risk profiles, project leads can complete a single sponsorship risk assessment and conflict of interest declaration for the whole sponsorship initiative. The Sponsorship Risk MyPL training is not mandatory, but provides a sound guide to the 4 major sponsorship risks, outlined below:

  • the department engages with an unsuitable organisation and suffers reputational damage
  • department staff endorse a third party or its products or services
  • sponsorship facilitates or conceals fraud or a conflict of interest
  • a sponsorship results in physical or emotional harm to staff or students.

Develop and sign agreements:

  • use an agreement template on the business engagement resources page and refer to Maintain written agreements and seek relevant approval
  • seek advice from Legal Services before signing an agreement supplied by a third party
  • ensure value-in-kind contributions are at a fair market value and documented, including GST
  • ensure written agreements incorporate the opportunity for rights of termination, including without cause
  • ensure agreements involving a network of schools are approved by a Director, Educational Leadership
  • for agreements that are greater than $50,000, Business Engagement must review and co-sign the agreement.

Receive funds and register value-in-kind contributions:

  • record all sponsorship revenue raised in the finance system, SAP. Use the specific general ledger account 420008 – Sponsorships received. Refer to the Schools Finance Sources of revenue or specific guidance
  • register value-in-kind sponsorships and collaborations valued at $5,000 or more (where no money is received and no records in SAP) in the Sponsorship register (refer to the business engagement resources page)
  • update the school equipment registers as needed to reflect the receipt of value-in-kind contributions. However no further action is necessary in the school’s finance system.

Incoming sponsorships attract GST, as sponsors receive an agreed set of benefits (a good or service) in return, such as acknowledgement, signage or invitations to events.

Principals, managers or project leads must:

  • Ensure sponsorship benefits outlined in the agreement are delivered. Acknowledge sponsors, preferably in writing or by profiling the organisation’s logo. Refer to Display an organisation’s name or logo.
  • For transparency, consider evaluating and reporting on sponsorship where appropriate, including lessons learned and a recommendation about continuing the sponsorship. A report can remain internal if required.
  • Share data and insights, planning and future recommendations, and how the commercial arrangements and sponsorships benefited the department, school and student outcomes. Use the evaluation and report templates on the business engagement resources page.

Decide how to progress the sponsorship arrangement – either:

  • end the arrangement at the completion of the agreement term
  • terminate it earlier, with a letter or email of termination. Document the reason/s for terminating the sponsorship by updating the mandatory sponsorship risk assessment and conflict of interest declaration. Reasons for early termination may include adverse publicity surrounding the sponsoring organisation, agreement or sponsored activity; the sponsorship threatening the department’s integrity; or an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest arises that cannot be effectively managed
  • extend the arrangement if both parties agree. Document this in writing (refer to Maintain written agreements and seek relevant approval)
  • begin a new EOI process, which enables options to be re-evaluated and the market to be retested.

4.2 Sponsor an external initiative (outgoing sponsorship)

To sponsor an external initiative, staff must develop an agreement that aligns to department values and improves educational outcomes for students.

Principals, managers or project leads must:

  • Assess the initiative to ensure it:
    • aligns with department values and strategic objectives
    • can provide tangible evidence of improved educational outcomes for students.
  • Complete the Outgoing Sponsorship Framework (DOCX 93.4 KB).
  • Approve outgoing sponsorships according to standard financial delegation and procurement procedures.
  • Consult with Director, Educational Leadership for amounts greater than $10,000, or where there is doubt about the receiving organisation’s or individual’s suitability.
  • Consult Business Engagement team for expenditure greater than $50,000 (cash and value in kind).
  • Document in an Outgoing Sponsorship Agreement (DOCX 63 KB) and record outgoing sponsorship expenditure in the finance system, SAP, using:
    • school and community funds only (funds the school community has raised)
    • the specific general ledger, fund code and cost centre relevant to the school or directorate. Refer to the Schools Finance Sources of revenue for specific guidance.
  • Evaluate and report on the outgoing sponsorship. Include:
    • lessons learned and a recommendation about continuing the sponsorship
    • share data and insights, planning and future recommendations
    • how the commercial arrangements and sponsorships benefited the department, school and student outcomes
    • if required, a report can remain internal but should be undertaken for transparency. Use the evaluation and report templates on the business engagement resources page.
  • Renegotiate, retest or terminate the sponsorship agreement:
    • if renegotiating a sponsorship, retest the market to ensure current sponsorships offer the best value to deliver on the strategic outcomes
    • if terminating a sponsorship send a letter or email of termination.
  • If ending an agreement, staff can update the mandatory sponsorship risk assessment and conflict of interest declaration and use these to document the reasons for terminating a sponsorship. Circumstances that could result in termination include:
    • not being able to deliver on the department’s strategic objectives
    • adverse publicity surrounding the sponsoring organisation, agreement or sponsored activity
    • the sponsorship threatening the department’s integrity
    • an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest arises and effective management strategies cannot be established or maintained.

4.3 Collaborate with an external organisation

Principals, managers, or project leads must:

  • Ensure the initiative is a collaboration and the organisation is suitable. Refer to Collaboration definition (under the Definitions tab at the top of this page) and Assess an organisation’s suitability.
  • Complete a Risk Assessment (PDF 766 KB). Collaborations follow the same principles as a sponsorship. The sponsorship risk assessment template and conflict of interest declaration can also assist in assessing the risks of engaging in a collaboration.
  • Complete a Collaboration Agreement (DOCX 83 KB).
  • Ensure the collaboration initiatives are delivered as per the agreement.
  • Evaluate and report on the collaboration. If required, a report can remain internal but should be undertaken for transparency. Use the evaluation and report templates on the business engagement resources page.
  • Renegotiate, retest, or terminate the collaboration agreement.

5. Donations, fundraising and bequests

Principals, managers or project leads need to follow the processes outlined in this section to:

  • receive and process gifts and donations
  • receive a bequest
  • raise funds, including through crowdfunding.

5.1 Receive a donation or gift

Principals, managers, or project leads must:

Donated funds must be received over the counter via cash, cheque, or EFTPOS, or through an online portal on the school’s website. Schools must not share the NSW Government Schools bank account details to receive donated funds as these payments are unable to be matched to the school.

Donations to schools are GST free because no goods or services are provided in return. Contributions to library and building funds require documenting due to tax deductibility requirements associated with such payments. A school library fund is a public fund maintained solely for the acquisition or maintenance of books and other educational resources.

A school building fund is a public fund maintained solely for the acquisition, construction, or maintenance of school buildings. Government special schools may be endorsed as deductible gift recipients, not just for a building fund or public library. This allows them to use their deductible gift recipient funds for a broader purpose, which may mean they can apply for certain foundation grants. Refer to Deductible Gift Recipient Status for Schools (staff only).

Donors wishing to contribute to staff and student scholarships can find out more from the Public Education Foundation.

  • Record in a gifts and benefits register, also refer to Gifts, benefits and hospitality procedure (PDF 342 KB).
  • Provide a receipt as evidence of the gift or donation –use the letter of acknowledgement template for a gift or donation. The parents and citizens association must issue its own receipt for any tax-deductible donation it receives. The school must issue its own receipt for any donation it receives, including tax deductible donations.
  • Use your donated funds, goods, or services to assist in providing education and support to students. This can include buildings and facilities, equipment and resources to meet the educational needs of students. A school may provide a modest acknowledgement, for example, mention in a school newsletter, on a school website, donors’ board, or plaque. A modest acknowledgement is not considered a material benefit. This is good practice but not mandatory. All purchases must be compatible with other department systems and equipment - check with Asset Management, Information Technology and Procurement contract suppliers if required.

5.2 Receive a bequest (bequeathed funds or material assets in a will)

Principals, managers, or project leads must:

  • Review the bequest to ensure:
    • the terms and conditions do not conflict with department policies
    • any material assets meet health and safety guidelines, are of a quality and type acceptable to the school or directorate.

Staff can contact Business Engagement for general support, or Legal Services if there is a specific legal query (Legal Services can only provide legal advice for department staff. Schools must instruct third parties to seek their own legal advice when offering a bequest).

  • Record funds in the Register of Financial Items including:
    • name of the testator (the person who wrote the will)
    • date of will
    • total amount of bequest
    • property address (if appropriate)
    • annual conditions of expenditure
    • instructions on closure of bequest or closure of school
    • internal order number.
  • Record property or equipment in the Register of Financial Items and the asset register:
    • for property bequests contact your local Asset Management Unit on 132 779
    • register all property in the name of the Minister for Education
    • if the school derives income from property, such as leased property, the school is also responsible for any expenditure incurred in relation to the property.
  • Receive funds with the correct general ledger and fund code, refer to Sources of revenue. Each individual bequest has its own internal order number. The Schools Overview Report is to be reviewed monthly to determine the remaining balance of any bequest and legacy funds held so the interest can be calculated and journaled. See the Schools Finance Sources of revenue for guidance.
  • Contact EDConnect for assistance with queries about gifts, bequests, legacies and deductible gift recipient status. Each individual bequest must have its own internal order number.
  • Provide evidence to the third party of compliance with any terms and conditions. For example, signing the formal receipt issued by a law firm.
  • Keep a record of any reports.

5.3 Fundraising and crowdfunding

Staff must follow the processes outlined below when:

  • fundraising for a school or department initiative, or for a registered charity
  • fundraising with the purchase and resale of goods
  • running a targeted crowdfunding campaign.

Note that:

  • schools do not need a permit for fundraising
  • fundraising activities are generally exempt from Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) however there are some exceptions. Contact the EDConnect Taxation Centre (contact details at the end of this page under Contacts) for advice.

Principals, managers, or project leads must follow the process outlined below.

Approve the fundraising initiative:

  • ensure the initiative is appropriate and consider the fundraising method such as a fundraising drive, a fete, an appeal, a raffle or a crowdfunding campaign (for further information see Run a targeted crowdfunding campaign drop down tab below)
  • confirm that the charity is registered for deductible gift recipient status on the Australian Government’s ABN Lookup page and that it is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. This evidence must be retained with the school’s transaction records.

Conduct fundraising activity in accordance with the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 and the Community Gaming Act 2018 (for further advice on the fundraising and gaming Act contact Legal Services). To comply with this legislation, staff must:

  • maintain accounts, records and minutes of decisions
  • maintain a minimum ratio of expenses to receipts
  • identify the purpose and beneficiary of the fundraising (if raising funds for a charity)
  • issue a receipt for all cash donations
  • not ask for donations from motorists on public roads
  • ensure children participating are over 8 years old, have parental approval and work in groups of 2.

The department’s fundraising fact sheet (PDF 160.29 KB) provides further information on complying with each obligation and running games of chance. When running a game of chance, staff must:

  • ensure prizes are appropriate (for example, cash, goods, services or vouchers). Tobacco, firearms and cosmetic surgery are not permitted as prizes
  • ensure cash prizes do not total more than $5000
  • ensure fundraising tickets have charity information and are clear on when and how the winners will be notified
  • have a permit if required. Permits are free and are issued by NSW Fair Trading.

Receive fundraising revenue using the correct general ledger and fund code:

  • revenue raised from fundraising for the school must be assigned using the correct cost assignment, refer to Schools Finance Sources of revenue.
  • revenue raised for a charity must be assigned using the correct cost assignment, refer to Schools Finance Third party monies.

Use funds raised for the advertised purpose or donate funds raised to the registered charity if applicable. Payment of raised funds to a registered charity must be made using the correct cost assignment, refer to the Schools Finance Third party monies. It is best practice to use a PCard to donate to charity, provided funds are raised and received first and processed as third-party receipts and payments.

  • Purchase goods for resale by students and school staff to the public.
  • Hold stock in a secure location.
  • Conduct a stocktake at the end of the activity (or at the principal’s request).
  • Maintain a record of the following:
    • total value of purchases
    • amounts paid to the supplier
    • stock issued to each person responsible for resale
    • amounts collected from each person responsible for resale
    • value (at cost) of balance of stock
    • total profit.

Fundraising to support the personal needs of members of the school community (for example, to undergo medical treatment) should be undertaken by individuals rather than the school.

P&C activities are not subject to the NSW Government banking and services contract and restrictions around crowdfunding platforms do not apply.

Schools must ensure any crowdfunding strategy:

  • is for a specific and short-term need, as opposed to long-term funding for the whole school
  • is used to support an extra-curricular project, or one that is not exclusively government funded
  • has an allocated target
  • is approved by the Director, Educational Leadership and supported by the school community
  • outlines the project without identifying individual students
  • shares a link to the crowdfunding page in appropriate communication channels
  • considers the management and acquittal of funds and reports appropriately on results including any unused funds or funds raised above the target or need
  • communicates to donors if there are third party provider fees and conditions associated with the crowdfunding platform. Schools will need to report on these fees separately in their school reporting.

Record-keeping requirements

There are 2 mandatory sponsorship documents that schools and directorates must keep and make available on request. Both documents are available on the business engagement resources page:

  • Sponsorship Agreement
  • Sponsorship risk assessment and conflict of interest declaration.

Manage any further record keeping in accordance with the department’s Records Management Program. Staff may wish to retain:

  • the sponsorship proposal or expression of interest (EOI) document
  • a list of organisations who received the EOI
  • relevant or significant correspondence between parties
  • variation deeds
  • an evaluation report
  • risk management plan.

Mandatory tools and templates

Supporting tools, resources and related information

Policy contact

Business Engagement
02 7814 3863

Legal Services
02 7814 3896
Submit an online request for legal advice

Media Unit
02 7814 1559

Submit a procurement enquiry

1300 32 32 32
EDConnect homepage for all enquiries including EDConnect Taxation Centre

Communication and Engagement
Request support
EDConnect advice on delegations (staff only)

The Director, Engagement and Corporate Reporting monitors the implementation of this procedure, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.

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