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301 FW 6
Promotional Items and Services

Supersedes 301 FW 7, FWM 393, 04/25/02

Date:  July 6, 2011

Series: Contracting

Part 301: Acquisition Policies and Procedures

Originating Office: Division of Contracting and Facilities Management



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6.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter:


A. Establishes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) policy on purchasing and using promotional items and services, including publicity experts and paid advertising, and


B. Defines informational and educational materials and distinguishes them from promotional items.


6.2 What is the scope of this chapter? Although this chapter covers the use of promotional items, it does not apply to items we use as awards to recognize achievements of employees, volunteers, and other citizens.


6.3 What are the authorities for this chapter? See 301 FW 1 for the authorities for all the chapters in Part 301. The following authorities are specific to promotional items and services:


A. Money and Finance, The Budget Process, Appropriations (31 U.S.C. 1301(a)).


B. Authority for Employment, Employment of Publicity Experts, Restrictions (5 U.S.C. 3107).


C. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Subpart 5.5, Paid Advertisements.


6.4 What are promotional items and services and how do they differ from informational and educational materials? The requirements for using appropriated funds to buy promotional items and services are much stricter than the requirements for buying informational and educational materials.


A. Promotional items: Promotional items are inexpensive and typically have a logo, design, slogan, or name on them to promote a place, program, event, or idea. They include, but are not limited to, coffee mugs, lapel pins, ash trays, key rings, ice scrapers, bumper stickers, calendars, caps, balloons, and candy.


B. Promotional services: Promotional services are services performed by individuals or companies (including the mass media) hired to publicize specific places, programs, people, events, or ideas. Promotional services include paid advertising and the use of advertising agencies. Routine publication of notices and advertisements for procurement and recruiting purposes are not considered “promotional.”


C. Informational and educational materials:


(1) Informational and educational materials are items that convey significant information about Service programs or that contribute to an educational program with specific learning objectives. Materials are typically printed. Examples of informational and educational materials include:


(a) Pamphlets,


(b) Books and reports,


(c) Educational posters,


(d) Coloring books and games,


(e) Teachers’ guides, and


(f) Video programs.


(2) In some cases, it is more difficult to determine whether materials are promotional or informational/educational. If they are an integral component of a well-designed informational or educational program (i.e., sticker, pin, book cover, binder, or place mat), we may consider them informational or educational if we give them away on a restricted basis and only as part of a larger program. In cases of uncertainty, contact your servicing Regional contracting office for help.


6.5 Who reviews these types of acquisitions to approve the use appropriated funds?


A. Program managers and supervisors must ensure that all expenditures for promotional items, promotional services, and paid advertising are allowed and that their employees have completed the required justifications and attached them to the acquisition request.


B. Contracting Officers must review acquisition requests and ensure that there is adequate signed documentation to support the acquisition of these items. They must also review requests for purchasing paid advertising to ensure compliance with this policy and other regulations.


C. Contracting personnel must note violations of this policy when performing acquisition management reviews.


6.6 May employees use appropriated funds to buy promotional items as gifts?


A. Employees must not spend appropriated funds for promotional items to be given away as gifts unless the acquisition:


(1) Is specifically authorized by statute, or


(2) Is integral to accomplish a program or project. To use this reason to purchase items, you must write a justification, your managing Directorate member or Assistant Regional Director must sign it, and the Office of the Solicitor must concur. You must attach the signed justification to the acquisition request and send it to the appropriate Contracting Officer.


B. See Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, volume 1, chapter 4.C.8 for more information.


6.7 May employees use appropriated funds for promotional services?


A. The Comptroller General does not generally treat procurements of promotional services as inherently questionable. As with any expenditure of appropriated funds, these procurements must be either explicitly authorized by law or necessary to accomplish a program or project (e.g., promoting the purchase of stamps for the Federal Duck Stamp program).


B. Employees should use promotional services sparingly. You must write a justification and your managing Directorate member or the Deputy Regional Director must sign it. The justification must show that the acquisition is authorized by law and/or necessary to accomplish the program or project. You must attach the signed justification to the acquisition request and send it to the appropriate Contracting Officer.


C. If you need the services of a publicity expert, your justification must include a finding that funds have been specifically appropriated for that purpose. See 5 U.S.C. 3107. The General Services Administration Federal Supply Schedules include several businesses that provide these services.


For information on the content of this chapter, contact the Division of Contracting and Facilities Management. For more information about this Web site, contact Krista_Bibb, in the Division of Policy and Directives Management.  

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