Professional Unit Sponsorship Guidelines

These guidelines are intended for IFLA professional units interested in pursuing external funding in order to support their activities either during the year, or at the WLIC.

Introduction

IFLA has a number of agreements with industry partners. These are governed by the general principles of fairness:

IFLA Corporate Supporters enjoy a number of benefits, related to their level of sponsorship and/or the individualised agreements between the Supporter in question and IFLA. These benefits are based on principles that are to ensure fairness to all Corporate Supporters:

  1. Corporate Supporters should respect IFLA’s positions and values.
  2. A balance of interest is required between the Corporate Supporter and IFLA.
  3. One Corporate Supporter will not be favoured over another Corporate Supporter; to that end a good level of transparency is required, for which the opportunities need to be available.
  4. (…) the Secretary General shall be empowered to negotiate additional benefits for Corporate Supporters whose contributions to the Federation (whether in cash or in kind) substantially exceed those set out in the scale of fees. The benefits so negotiated shall be approved by the Executive Committee. [IFLA Rule of Procedure 4.3]

Professional units may wish to approach companies for sponsorship. Therefore, the Professional Committee asks anyone in the professional units to advise IFLA HQ of any discussions they wish to have on behalf of a professional unit with a corporate sponsor because HQ manages the relations with the Corporate Supporters and is therefore aware of and can help avoid any conflicts or sensitivities.

General Principles

Professional units do not have any legal authority to sign up to, or commit IFLA to, any agreement with another party, whether financial, collaborative or for representatives on committees, etc. The Board is the only IFLA body that can do this, although the Secretary General has some delegations.

Therefore, if a professional unit is asked to sign anything with a sponsor, they need to seek advice from IFLA HQ.
(Examples of circumstances when this might happen are given below.)

Any external funds raised by professional units must be audited and therefore included in the IFLA accounts.

World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) events

The WLIC is legally and financially a separate entity to IFLA. Sponsorship of the Congress is organized under our contractual terms with the Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) and National Committee (NC):

  • The PCO is responsible for the recruitment of all sponsorship other than governmental. This is to ensure that all sponsors are dealt with in a consistent manner, that potential sponsors do not receive multiple approaches for the same congress, that the same sponsorship item is not offered to more than one sponsor and that sponsorship is not sought at such an early stage that competition for sponsorship arises between IFLA WLICs taking place in consecutive years.
  • The NC coordinates with the PCO and is responsible for the recruitment of National, Regional and Local Government sponsorship.
  • All sponsorship money, regardless of which of the parties raises it, becomes part of the general Congress budget. This does not imply that sponsorship money raised in the host country necessarily has to be deposited in the Congress bank account, however, any alternative financial procedures must be agreed.

Therefore any professional unit wishing to investigate sponsorship of, or financial support for, activities at the WLIC should first be referred to the IFLA Manager, Conference and Business Relations, at HQ so that it may be dealt with in the context of the Congress by the PCO, National Committee, or IFLA.

Satellite meetings

These are dealt with in a separate document concerning satellite meeting guidelines.

The key points to note relating to sponsorship and financial arrangements are:

  • As part of the organization of the WLIC, advance information is requested from the National Committee on possible hosts of satellite meetings and what they are prepared to offer.  They should also provide an estimate of the costs, or indicate what they would sponsor - full or partial, for these services.
  • The host organization carries the legal and financial responsibility, unless specifically agreed otherwise with IFLA.
  • If a professional unit wants to co-organize the event with an independent body other than the local host, such as an international body, specific Professional Committee approval must be obtained for this.
  • Any funds related to the satellite meeting should be managed locally, that is, by the host institution.
  • Satellite meetings should aim to break even. Any surplus funds are distributed as set out in the agreement between IFLA and the host organization.
  • Sponsorship: Satellite meeting organisers are welcome to find sponsors to support their satellite meeting. As per the agreement between IFLA and the host organization, IFLA is not a party to any agreement with any third parties. 
  • The following general IFLA Principles of Fairness for Sponsorship are based on those that IFLA applies with Corporate Supporters and should be applied to any sponsorship arrangements for satellite meetings.
    1. Sponsorship Partners should respect IFLA’s positions and values.
    2. A balance of interest is required between the Sponsorship Partner and IFLA.

Therefore, any professional unit wishing to investigate sponsorship of, or financial support for, a satellite meeting should discuss this and arrange it with the host organization. If this implies a co-organization credit, other than with the local host, specific Professional Committee approval must be obtained.  

In the case where a surplus of funds is predicted or realised, staff at HQ should be contacted to discuss how this should be handled, and a short financial statement should be submitted.

Sponsorship of the professional unit’s activities

IFLA HQ tracks the extent of sponsorship by all organizations so that details can be included in the Corporate Supporters’ scheme.

Professional units wishing to investigate corporate sponsorship should consult with IFLA HQ about prospects of funding/sponsorship to avoid any conflicts or sensitivities that might be present in the more general scheme of sponsorship.

Professional Awards

These are dealt with in the separate guidelines for establishing new professional awards.

The key points to note relating to sponsorship and financial arrangements are:

Sponsorship of professional awards should adhere to the same principles of fairness that govern corporate partnerships:

  1. Corporate Award Sponsors should respect IFLA’s positions and values.
  2. A balance of interest is required between the Corporate Award Sponsor and IFLA.
  3. One Corporate Award Sponsor will not be favoured over another Corporate Award Sponsor; to that end a good level of transparency is required, for which the opportunities need to be available.

Proposals for new professional awards must be submitted to the Professional Committee.

Professional Units wishing to investigate sponsorship of, or financial support for, an IFLA professional award should first consult with IFLA HQ to avoid any conflicts or sensitivities that might be present in the more general scheme of sponsorship.

Professional projects

Professional projects may be part of, or have potential for, corporate partnerships therefore to avoid any conflicts or sensitivities that might be present in the more general scheme of sponsorship, any professional unit wishing to investigate sponsorship of, or as part of, a professional project should advise the Professional Support Officer at IFLA HQ who will examine how the project would fit with the Governing Board’s other project or key initiative funding priorities.

These Professional unit sponsorship guidelines were approved by the IFLA Professional Committee in August 2012.
Print version of these guidelines [PDF].

Last update: 21 January 2014