A relatively small number of foundations award grants directly to individual artists; the vast majority limiting their funding to nonprofit organizations only. However, if you are seeking support for a project but are not affiliated with a nonprofit organization, you may be able to locate an organization to serve as your fiscal sponsor. What this means is that the nonprofit organization would apply on your behalf for funding and, if received administer the funds and complete any required reporting.
Any organization that is tax exempt under Section 501(c )(3) – (which means they have received a letter from the IRS approving the organization’s application for tax exempt status) may be a fiscal sponsor. If you are seeking a fiscal sponsorship it is always a good idea to find one whose mission will be enhanced or advanced by the project or program that you are proposing.
There are a lot of variations for fiscal sponsorship arrangements:
As soon as a fiscal sponsor agrees to sponsor a project; the expectations should be set forth in a written agreement delineating responsibilities acceptable to both parties involved. It is important to include any conditions for releasing the project early, responsibility for liabilities (unpaid bills), intangible assets (logo, name) and tangible assets (inventory, cash, equipment). This is especially true for those models where the originator has less independence.
See Fiscal Sponsorship Arrangements, published by Lawyers Alliance for NY.
In searching for a fiscal sponsor, you should seek out organizations that have a demonstrated interest in programs or projects similar to yours. It will be easier to find a fiscal sponsor if your project enhances or furthers that organization's mission and purpose; and if that organization benefits in some way from being associated with your project.
In order to develop a list of potential fiscal sponsors, begin 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.
There are a number of resources for finding a fiscal sponsor. This list just provides a few.
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