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What is fiscal sponsorship? How do I find a fiscal sponsor?

Fiscal sponsorship is a formal arrangement in which a 501(c)(3) public charity sponsors a project that may lack exempt status. This alternative to starting your own nonprofit allows you to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under your sponsor's exempt status.

Webinar Fiscal Sponsorship for Artists and Arts Organizations

During this one-hour webinar, Dianne Debicella, program director for fiscal sponsorship at Fractured Atlas, will discuss the fiscal sponsorship arrangement under which a charitable project without 501(c)(3) status might benefit from the tax-exempt status and administrative support of a sponsoring organization.

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Video What You Need to Know About Fiscal Sponsorships

During this one-hour video, Rachel Epps Spears, Executive Director, Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, shares the pros and cons of having a fiscal sponsor and what organizations can do to avoid potential problems when entering into a fiscal sponsorship agreement.

Since most grantmakers give to organizations, not individuals, fiscal sponsorship may help you qualify for more funding opportunities. Thus, you may be able to fund and start your project sooner. Meanwhile, you can work on getting your own nonprofit status if that is your ultimate goal. To learn more about fiscal sponsorship, please see:

How to Find a Fiscal Sponsor

  • Look for nonprofits whose missions are similar to yours. You might start with your current affiliations. Make a list of the professional societies, educational associations and institutions, religious organizations, social and recreational clubs, and other groups with which you are already associated, including employers.
  • The Fiscal Sponsor Directory allows you to search by state, service category, or keyword for nonprofit fiscal sponsors. Profiles include eligibility requirements, fees, services, and types of projects supported. The site also provides statistics and resources on fiscal sponsorship.
  • Foundation Grants to Individuals, online or print version, is available for purchase or for free access at our locations. Do a Type of Support search for "Fiscal agent/sponsor" to find nonprofits with fiscal sponsorship programs.

Once you have a list of potential fiscal sponsors, you may want to know whether they have received grants from foundations or corporate funders. Foundation Directory Online or our Grant Guides can help you research this.

When approaching your prospects, be ready to give a verbal or written proposal that explains:

  • Your project: Why it’s needed, and its goals, objectives, method, evaluation, staffing, and budget. This is similar to a grant proposal. To learn more about writing one, please see our proposal writing resources.
  • How it advances the nonprofit’s mission.
  • Other ways the nonprofit can benefit from being associated with your project.

Selected resources below may also be helpful.

Books & Articles

Check title availability at our libraries and Funding Information Network partners or through your local library.

At Last--A Way to Evaluate Fiscal Sponsors
This article provides a list of 16 benchmarks by which a nonprofit may assess whether to become a fiscal sponsor.

Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right
Describes the six forms of fiscal sponsorship recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), with examples, charts and diagrams.

See more books & articles»

Web Sites

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