What is Fiscal Sponsorship? A relationship between a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Sponsor) and a project (Sponsoree) which provides the Sponsoree the benefit of the Sponsor’s tax-exempt status.
Why Might a Film Project Need a Fiscal Sponsor? Fundraising Credibility Technical Assistance Awaiting 501(c)(3) IRS determination (nonprofit status) of their own.
Why Not Form a Nonprofit? Is this a single film or is it intended to serve a broader mission for public good? Answerable to Board of Directors, not Staff. Time and expense of filing and maintaining status – would you rather be focused on producing and distributing your film?
Models of Fiscal SponsorshipModel A: Direct ProjectModel B: Independent Contractor ProjectModel C: Pre-Approved Grant RelationshipModel D: Group ExemptionModel E: Supporting OrganizationModel F: Technical AssistanceFor more details on different models of Fiscal Sponsorship, read Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right by Gregory Colvin (available on Amazon and at the Foundation Center Library)
Model C Fiscal SponsorshipThe Project applies to become Sponsored,by sending a “grant application” to theSponsor.Once accepted, the Project becomes a“grantee” of the Sponsor, allowing it torequest funds through the Sponsor underthe terms of their agreement.
Model C Fiscal Sponsorship Arts Project Fiscal Sponsor Funder
Responsibilities Under Model CWho Is Responsible for… Fiscal Fiscal Sponsoree SponsorMaintaining 501(c)(3) nonprofit status XFundraising, including writing grants Xor seeking individual donorsHandling donations directly from Xgrant-makers or donorsCompleting tax returns for the project XPaying employment taxes for the project XDisbursing funds to entity other than fiscal XsponsoreeLegal liabilities to manage grant funds X XOther Legal Liabilities for Project X
Autonomy Under Model CWho… Fiscal Fiscal Sponsoree SponsorOwns the rights to the project? X (X)Has creative control X (X)Has control over disbursement of funds Xreceived from donors or grant-makersHas the right to terminate the relationship (X) X
Business Identity of ProjectUnless otherwise specified by the FiscalSponsor Agreement, the sponsored projectcould be undertaken by a sole proprietor,a business corporation or partnership, oranother nonprofit organization.Fiscal Sponsorship DoesNot Absolve Sponsorees ofTax Obligations!
What is a Fiscal Sponsor Looking for In a Project? Project is non-profit in nature. Project matches Sponsor’s mission and guidelines.
What is a Fiscal Sponsor Looking for In a Project? Project is non-profit in nature. Project matches Sponsor’s mission and guidelines. Project has been well-thought out enough (in writing!) to be fundable and achievable.
What is a Fiscal Sponsor Looking for In a Project? Project is non-profit in nature. Project matches Sponsor’s mission and guidelines. Project has been well-thought out enough (in writing!) to be fundable and achievable. Project manager has realistic expectations of Fiscal Sponsor.
15 Things You Should Look for in a Fiscal Sponsor1. Do they sponsor projects like yours?2. Which fiscal sponsorship model do they follow?3. Do they provide clear guidelines and sample agreements?4. What is their track record?5. Do they have credibility within the funding community?
15 Things You Should Look for in a Fiscal Sponsor6. Do they offer other services or technical support?7. What is their turnaround time for reviewing your application?8. What is their process for reviewing your application?9. What fees do they charge? Membership? Application? Maintenance? Administrative?
15 Things You Should Look for in a Fiscal Sponsor10. What is their process for accepting and informing you of individual donations?11. How often do they pay out disbursements?12. What are the reporting requirements?13. What requirements do they have for you to maintain your Fiscal Sponsorship?14. Do they require exclusivity?15. How responsive are they?
Where to find a Fiscal Sponsor? Online Resources: Fiscal Sponsorship Directory, Foundation Center, etc. Funding Research Organizations with Compatible Missions (they won’t always have a formal Fiscal Sponsorship program) Film Organizations, including us…
About WIFV andDocs In Progress FiscalSponsorship Programs
Some current sponsorees DOCS IN WOMEN IN FILM PROGRESS AND VIDEO The New Woman: Chinatown Annie Documentary “Londonderry” by Yi Chen Kopchovsky by Gillian Willman Keter Betts We’re Not Broke by Ada Babino by Karin Hayes and Victoria Bruce The Peace The Last Song Agency Before the War by Sue Useem by Kiley Kraskouskas Refrigerator Ladies: the Remarkable Guardians of the Untold Story of Everglades the ENIAC by Connie Programmers Bransilver by Kathy Kleiman