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Nonprofit Law/sponsors & fundrasing


If a gymnastics booster club 501C3 asks businesses to donate money for our gymnastics club, can we put their names on the back of t-shirts we sell.  We would like to thank them by printing their names on tshirts and a banner, and website.  The t-shirts we would be selling would be part of a fundraiser.  Thank you in advance!

See the 1994 IRS internal memorandum "Corporate Sponsorship Income"
especially page 10 "Advertising v. Acknowledgment"

Only having names of donors is generally fine. You will not have any issues as long as it is an acknowledgment and
not what the IRS refers to as "advertising".

The IRS has instituted regulations at 26 CFR 1.513-4, entitled
"Certain Sponsorship Not Unrelated Trade or Business"
and they may be read at:

Therein we see
---Start of Excerpt--
v) Advertising. For purposes of this section, the term advertising
means any message or other programming material which is broadcast
or otherwise transmitted, published, displayed or distributed, and
which promotes or markets any trade or business, or any service,
facility or product. Advertising includes messages containing
qualitative or comparative language, price information or other
indications of savings or value, an endorsement, or an inducement
to purchase, sell, or use any company, service, facility or
---End of Excerpt--

However, an acknowledgment may be
---Start of Excerpt--
logos and slogans that do not contain qualitative or comparative
descriptions of the payor's products, services, facilities or
company; a list of the payor's locations, telephone numbers, or
Internet address; value-neutral descriptions, including displays or
visual depictions, of the payor's product-line or services; and the
payor's brand or trade names and product or service listings.
---End of Excerpt--

Sorry for the delay in the answer to your question. has, for the last 10 days not been sending me the questions to answer.

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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