How to Cancel a Sponsorship

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When you agree to a sponsorship, you take on a significant obligation to the sponsored organization. However, circumstances may arise that require you to cancel the sponsorship, such as a disagreement with some of the organization’s recent actions or tenets. If you decide you need to cancel a sponsorship arrangement you may have to go through a few extra steps compared to a standard advertising purchase.

Get in touch with the same contact who set up the sponsor program with your company by phone as soon as possible if you wish to cancel. This person likely has your complete information and sponsorship materials on hand, and dealing with the same contact makes it more likely that you’ll have the advertisements pulled quickly.

Explain your regret at having to cancel the sponsorship agreement. If asked for a reason and you have decided to cancel your association due to an issue you have with the organization’s values, activities or recent actions, it is your decision to express that sentiment as well. Otherwise, you can state a more general reason, like a change in direction regarding your organization's marketing plan.

Urge the company to immediately remove your sponsorship materials from circulation, such as in print and Web advertisements. However, at a certain point in the process, it may not be possible for the organization to pull your sponsorship ads or logo from communications that were already printed for a specific event. With very late notice you may have to continue with the arrangement or ask the organization to publicize that you are no longer officially one of the event or organization sponsors.

Follow up your cancellation request with a letter via fax or certified mail to provide additional confirmation of your decision.

Retrieve your sponsorship fee or deposit less any production costs that were unavoidable. Note that some organizations do not allow any refunds at all — only cancellation of sponsor ads. It depends on the terms of the sponsor agreement you signed.

Tips & Warnings

  • In some states you have the right to cancel a contract within three days of signing and get your money back under the "cooling off" rule. This rule may apply to a sponsorship contract.
  • Get advice from your lawyer or a public relations professional for more complicated matters pertaining to the sponsorship --- especially if proceeding with the arrangement could potentially damage your own organization's reputation.

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