Sponsor and Donor Guidelines


This document lays out guidelines for the types of organizations with whom ADSA is willing to form sponsorship and other financially supportive relationships.

The document:

  • addresses the types of organizations ADSA will engage as donors and sponsors. 
  • outlines ethical and compliance operational processes ADSA will employ to achieve transparency, privacy, financial, and communications best practices.
  • provides examples of organizations and projects that fall outside of ADSA’s parameters for sponsorship and/or donor relationships.
  • outlines sanctions for failure to adhere to ADSA’s operational best practices and failure of partnering organizations to remain free of ethical and legal conflicts after a donor or sponsor relationship has been established.

This document does not:

  • contain a code of conduct for behavior at ADSA events, social media, or on communications platforms supported by ADSA. Please see: ADSA’s code of conduct.
  • outline sanctions for individuals who become members but behave unethically outside of ADSA’s platforms, events, and social media.

Why does ADSA establish relationships with external entities?

ADSA is an independent non-profit membership organization operating in the United States, with a global membership. It’s core mission is to establish a community of academics and researchers who are engaged in data science efforts, which requires establishing relationships with external entities, including funders.

ADSA establishes relationships with external entities for the following purposes:

  • To conduct research 
  • To develop curriculum and other teaching and training materials
  • To convene data science community members and stakeholders 
  • To foster communication among the interdisciplinary scope of data science practitioners about how to conduct research with and about data science, how to teach with and about data science, and how to assess the social and ethical impacts of data science
  • To communicate externally about data science and its impacts, including with members of the press 
  • To raise money and collect fees to support the aforementioned efforts from grantmakers, individuals, institutions, non-profits, and commercial sponsors

What types of organizations are preferred donors and sponsors for ADSA?

ADSA prefers to pursue donor, sponsor, and member relationships with the following types of organizations:

  • Any academic departments or units who wish to support the mission of ADSA, including but not limited to those engaged in research, teaching, and/or community-building around data science methods, data collection, model development, application and software development for data-driven practices, and/or product development reliant on data-driven practices.
  • Non-profit entities established to foster, develop, distribute, advocate for, and promote the beneficial uses of data science, AI, and data-driven approaches.
  • Non-profit entities and foundations established to advance broadly beneficial social, environmental, scientific, and/or medical practices.
  • Governmental agencies tasked with distributing social goods, evaluating program success, carrying out enforcement of data protection regulations, and/or those working to incorporate more data-driven techniques, models, or data impact assessments.
  • For-profit organizations that are actively and demonstrably researching or addressing the impacts of data science and data science products on society.
  • For-profit organizations that routinely collect data for evaluative, predictive, or descriptive purposes, particularly those that conduct (or are interested in conducting) assessments around their core business practices and product features related to societal impact.

ADSA reserves the right to offer privileged access and exclusive opportunities to preferred organizations.

What types of organizations are prohibited from partnering with ADSA?

As a fiscally sponsored project of the Hopewell Fund, ADSA is prohibited from engaging in or partnering with: 

  • Lobbyists working to elect specific individuals 
  • Lobbyists promoting or opposing legislation, ordinances, or other regulatory mechanisms proposed at the US federal, regional, state, city, or municipal level

What behaviors or business practices will be grounds for blocking a relationship with ADSA? 

ADSA reserves the right to review and act upon instances of these on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of activities that are objectionable to ADSA and may trigger a review include:

  • Offering usurious, deceptive, discriminatory, or unfair financial terms to ADSA members.
  • Promoting or engaging in violence, sexual aggression, abuse, hate speech, exploitative uses of data science, covert surveillance, or misinformation campaigns.
  • Engaging in research, development, testing, manufacturing, or deployment of datasets, databases, code, products, tools, or other physical or digital techniques designed to identify individuals for the purpose of deporting them.
  • Engaging in research, development, testing, maintenance, modeling, or deployment of datasets, code, or modeling that contribute to discriminatory practices against groups based on their age, disability status, ethnicity, gender, income, nationality, race, religion, political union membership, political party affiliation, sexual orientation, military status, or wealth.
  • Engaging in research, development, testing, manufacturing, or deployment of technologies designed to restrict the human rights of individuals as established in the Geneva Conventions.
  • Violation of university policy (for those based at universities).
  • Violation of applicable law.
  • Violation of ADSA’s code of conduct.

Panel to adjudicate donors, sponsors, and members who may have violated ADSA’s criteria

In cases where an allegation that a member, sponsor, or donor has failed to adhere to ADSA’s criteria, ADSA will convene a panel to conduct a review of the sponsor, donor, or institutional member. The panel will consist of at least three ADSA members, at least one of whom is an ADSA employee or board member.  Where available, members with experience in the elements of the case will be prioritized for empanelment above other members. Members will not be compensated for their time served on a panel, but they may have their future membership dues reduced.

ADSA will share the broad results of the panel’s findings with members, but reserves the right to withhold full details. 

The panel can issue three classes of rulings:

  1. Member, sponsor, donor in good standing 
    No objectionable infraction found.
  2. Member, sponsor, donor in poor standing 
    Membership/sponsorship is allowed to continue, but the entity is on probation for a time period established by the panel, during which they are subject to additional surveillance and perhaps specific terms recommended by the panel (e.g. an entity  whose job posting was found to be problematic may be prohibited from posting other jobs for a period of time).
    This option will be used when there is reliable evidence of poor behavior, non-compliance with the law, non-compliance with the criteria established by ADSA as criteria for membership, sponsorship, or donor relations, but the evidence cannot be corroborated by two or more sources. 
    This option may also be used when the infraction relates to an activity that was proposed, but did not actually take place (e.g. a member may advocate for creating a database containing racial and ethic data to be sold without review, but at the time of the review has not created such a database or has not sold it and is willing to delete it and discontinue the project.)
  3. Member, sponsor, donor relationship termination
    In cases of overwhelming evidence, willful, or egregious violation of local law, university policy (for those based at a university), ADSA’s Code of Conduct and/or sponsor/donor criteria, the membership, sponsorship, or donor relationship will be truncated immediately.

Refund of fees for subordination of ADSA mission

Should a sponsor, donor, or member be found unable to continue as a donor, sponsor, or member by the panel, any fees the sponsor or donor has paid to sponsor newsletters or events that have already occurred will not be refunded. Any fees associated with events or newsletters scheduled more than 30 days into the future will be refunded. Fees associated with events or newsletters scheduled from 1-30 days in the future will be considered on a case by case basis.

Members who are found unable to continue their membership by the panel will receive a refund of a pro-rated amount, less a $50 processing fee and less the cost of any material benefits associated with the membership payment.


If an entity believes the process the panel followed was improper, incomplete, biased, or unprofessional, they have a right to appeal the decision. The entity requesting an appeal can be any member of ADSA or a sponsor or donor involved in the specific case.

ADSA will appoint a new panel to conduct the appeal, following the criteria for panel selection laid out above.

How will ADSA adhere to ethical and regulatory compliance benchmarks?

ADSA prizes transparency. To uphold this value in the context of sponsor and donor relationships, ADSA commits to:

  • Sharing criteria for sponsors and donors with ADSA members, donors, and sponsors and with potential ADSA donors, sponsors, and members
  • Sharing a list of ADSA donors and sponsors on the ADSA website.
  • Sharing a list of ADSA institutional members on the ADSA website.
  • Sharing decisions to remove sponsors or donors, in abbreviated form, with the ADSA membership.

ADSA is subject to a number of regulatory rules and will comply with them as follows:


  • ADSA will only send newsletters to those who voluntarily request newsletters
  • ADSA will include an ‘unsubscribe’ link in each newsletter and honor unsubscribe requests
  • ADSA will include a physical address in each newsletter


  • ADSA will not collect sensitive data as described in Articles 9 and 10 of the EU GDPR
  • ADSA will never sell data about individuals.
  • ADSA will not share data about individuals without first notifying individuals that their data may be shared with entities other than ADSA.
  • ADSA will facilitate data subject access requests to know which categories of data are collected, which specific pieces of data are collected about a given individual, to delete a data record, and/or to correct a data record as outlined in the GDPR and/or CCPA.
  • ADSA will not use data to discriminate against those who do not give or share data about themselves with ADSA, except in situations where sharing data is required for participation (e.g. to participate in ADSA’s Slack environment, an email address controlled by the data subject must be shared).
  • ADSA will adhere to basic data retention and deletion practices. Users  of ADSA’s Slack that have been inactive for two years will be asked to verify active account standing and offered an opt-out. Users who do not respond within 30 days will have their accounts deleted .

What types of donor and sponsor opportunities are currently available?

ADSA is working to build out a full suite of membership, donor, and sponsorship opportunities tailored to address the needs and concerns of our preferred community members.

The following opportunities are currently available:

  • Sponsor single issues of the Data Science Community Newsletter, tiered pricing.
  • Paid job postings in the Data Science Community Newsletter (posts run in 2 newsletters)
  • Paid events in the Data Science Community Newsletter (posts run in 1 newsletter)
  • Institutional membership
  • Lab membership
  • Individual membership
  • Sponsorship of ADSA events

Criteria for Job Postings

Job postings placed in the Data Science Community Newsletter must adhere, and those posted to the ADSA website are encouraged to adhere, to the following criteria:

  • Unpaid positions or positions likely to pay below the minimum wage are not allowed.
  • Full-time positions must come with health care benefits.
  • Full-time positions must offer paid sick leave.
  • Employers must adhere to Equal Opportunity legislation (US employers only).

Jobs posted on the ADSA website and/or in the Data Science Community newsletter are encouraged to adhere to the following criteria:

  • Employers are encouraged to indicate whether the job is suitable for remote candidates. If not, employers must include the job location.
  • Employers are encouraged to publish salary ranges.
  • Employers are encouraged to host a complete job posting that includes skills, job descriptions, and benefits available on their own website. ADSA does not offer hosting for complete job posts.

Criteria for Sponsored Content Boxes in the Data Science Community Newsletter

The encouraged uses for sponsor boxes are to: 

  • Bring awareness to data science events, working groups, conferences, tools, datasets, and communities of practitioners.
  • Bring awareness of new companies, non-profits, foundations, and other stakeholders in the broader data science community.
  • Bring awareness of key facts about the data science community by showing survey or other research results about the data science community itself.
  • Invite Data Science Community Newsletter readers to hackathons, datathons, kaggle competitions, award submissions, and grant-able funds.
  • Announce the winners of award submissions, scholarships, grants, kaggle competitions, or key personnel appointments.

Sponsored boxes in the DSCN must adhere to the following criteria:

  • Links must not go directly to a product or service for sale.
  • Links must not be affiliated with malware, adware, or any other security vulnerabilities.
  • Links must point to websites that allow users to set cookie settings before having cookies or other tracking beacons placed in their browsers.
  • Content in the sponsor box must refrain from using profanity, derogatory terms, incitement to violence, incitement to smoking, or incitement to the use of illegal substances.
  • Sponsors must hold the copyright for any images that appear in the sponsor box and release ADSA to use their copyrighted material.
  • Sponsors must allow ADSA 48 hours during the regular business week to review their proposed content for the sponsor box.