Several Inns have had success in securing sponsorships to fill in budgetary gaps. Law firms or other legal or professional entities can contribute a sponsorship for a monthly meeting, special event, a social event, or a happy hour. It is important to have an understanding between the Inn and sponsor of the benefits/services to be received before accepting any sponsorship monies. Any sponsorship revenue should be recorded on the Inn’s income statement, and may have an impact on the Inn’s Federal tax filing for the year.
Inns should limit any sponsor promotion in publications to recognition and acknowledgement. Any significant or qualitative advertising by a sponsor (e.g., sponsor exhibits, opportunities to promote services to members, advertisements sold in an event guide/program) may subject the Inn to the requirements of the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT), where income is derived from activities unrelated to the Inn’s core mission or activity.
The following activities should not subject an Inn to UBIT:
- Having a sponsor mingle with the members during the cocktail hour and the dinner;
- Having a sponsor give people they meet their business card;
- Having a sponsor engage in one-on-one conversations about their company (if anyone wants to be a part of such a conversation);
- Having a sponsor name/logo on a thank you slide or sign or in the program;
- Having a sponsor have a non-qualitative ad in the program;
- Having a sponsor participate as a panelist (in a substantive way, not in a sales capacity);
- Having a sponsor introduce the program/panelists, including very brief remarks about the services/products their company provides
If you are unsure about your Inn’s efforts, please contact your Chapter Relations Director for assistance.
Sample Sponsorship Solicitation
The _________ American Inn of Court offers sponsorship opportunities to service providers to the legal profession.
The _________ American Inns of Court is an association of judges and lawyers organized to improve law practice in the community. The Inn holds monthly educational and networking meetings at which sponsors may have the opportunity to network with members and guests. Sponsor benefits include:
- Reception and Dinner
- Recognition in event promotions and during event
The sponsorship fee is $500 per event.
Only one sponsor per field or discipline is permitted at each meeting or event.
Inn meetings generally take place at the [meeting location and address]
For additional information, contact [name and email address/telephone number]