Many of the leading international and Romanian companies are providing sponsorships and donations, as part of their marketing, promotional, educational, research, charitable and corporate social responsibility (CSR) actions.
In certain cases, it is difficult for a company to assess if the support could be granted by way of sponsorship or donation and if the requirements for approving and implementing the envisaged project are met.
In the sections below, you may find a brief overview of the main legal and compliance aspects to be considered when granting a sponsorship or a donation to a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Romania, which focuses on the questions that are usually asked during the inspections of the competent authorities. It should be stressed that certain categories of sponsors and beneficiaries have a legal obligations to disclose the transfers of value and the authorities are monitoring such activities.
A company may grant a sponsorship for supporting the non-profit activities carried out by the beneficiary in certain fields, including medical, sanitary, cultural, artistic, educational, scientific, research, humanitarian, social, sports, protection of human rights and environmental protection.
In principle, the sponsorship could be granted for supporting:
- a project, an event or certain activities organized by the beneficiary in the respective fields;
- the activities carried out by the beneficiary in connection with a project, an event or certain activities organized by a third party in the respective fields (e.g., supporting the beneficiary’s participation to a congress or event in such fields);
- the overall activities carried out by the beneficiary in those fields.
A company may grant a donation if it wishes to gratify the beneficiary.
As a rule, the donation agreements should be executed in a notarized form before a notary public; the failure to observe this requirement renders the donation agreement null and void.
By way of exception, the notarized form is not required for handed-over gifts, namely movable, tangible goods whose value does not exceed RON 25,000 (roughly EUR 5,000), provided that the conditions set forth by the Civil Code are observed.
- Eligibility: Does the beneficiary meet the legal requirements to receive the sponsorship/donation? Is the project/activity eligible for the envisaged support? Why did the company choose this beneficiary? Which are the selection criteria?
- Authorization: Is it necessary to obtain an authorization or prior endorsement for the sponsorship/donation? (N.B. this applies to certain fields and for certain products)
- Written agreement: Does the sponsorship/donation agreement comply with the law, the industry code(s) and the company rules? Which are the obligations of the contracting parties? Does the agreement provide relevant representations and warranties?
- Transparency: Is the support adequately recorded and documented? Will the sponsorship/donation be disclosed by the beneficiary and by the sponsor, if required by the law?