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Oct 18, 2010

What is in a name? Sponsor vs. Supporter

There are many organizations that provide support for IEEE Signal Process Society conferences. Some organizations provide staff support; some provide grants; and some donate meeting space; sometimes an organization will donate the food for a snack break. Almost every conference has at least one organization that helps to make it a success. The question is: “How should the conference recognize these organizations in its information and materials? Do you call them a “Sponsor” or a “Supporter”?

It isn’t as simple as choosing one or the other. Although they seem to mean the same thing, in legal terms they are quite different.

A Sponsor/Co-Sponsor is the organization/organization who assumes financial and legal liability for the conference as authorized by IEEE. A sponsor assumes the risk and receives the reward of the event. A Sponsor has responsibility for the technical, financial, public and administrative, and legal aspects of the conference.

A Co-Sponsor shares the financial and legal liability for the conference in the same proportion as its risk or reward defined in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) executed on behalf of each Co-Sponsor by its authorized leadership.

A Technical Co-Sponsor shares in the responsibility for the technical aspects of the conference (i.e. program, peer review, etc.) but has no financial or legal risk and therefore receives no financial benefits.

A Supporter is an individual, corporation, or organization that provides a gift, financial or otherwise, of support to the conference but is not financially or legally liable for the conference. The supporter has no responsibility for the technical, financial, publicity or administrative aspects of the conference. It is important to not call these organizations “Sponsors” as it could make them appear to the public to be liable should there be an incident.p

How to Recognize a Supporter

The logo of an organization that has provided support to a conference cannot be placed on the conference materials with greater or equal prominence as the IEEE or the Sponsors’ logos, per IEEE Policy. The logo of a Supporter should be placed on a separate page titled “Supporters”.

If you have any questions, please contact the SPS Conference Services staff.