Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways To Do It Right
Fiscal sponsorship’s origins (part 2)
Fiscal sponsorship’s origins (part 1 of 2)
LEAD STORY: Fiscal sponsorship models and how they evolved by Greg Colvin Part 2
So how many ways are there to do fiscal sponsorship right? Frankly, if we had left it to the IRS to define fiscal sponsorship, they probably would’ve come up with only one way. The alternatives we developed allow much more flexibility in the vehicles that can be used to sponsor projects. We came up with six models, the first three, A, B and C, were an outgrowth of analysis done by [the late] Tom Silk, a mentor to me and an inspiration for how to get these things done, who successfully defended them with the IRS.
In Model A, called comprehensive or direct sponsorship, the sponsor takes full responsibility for everything that’s going on. Those who work for the project get paid, usually as employees. In Model B, workers are engaged as independent contractors providing a service to the fiscal sponsor. Model B occurs in situations where a single consultant, a single producer of an event, or an artist producing a piece of sculpture or music is hired to do something for the sponsor. MORE
My engagement with fiscal sponsorship started in 1989 when John Edie, general counsel for the Council on Foundations in Washington, D.C., published an article called “Fiscal Agents Can Be Illegal.” It caused quite a stir and was followed by a major article three years later, “The Use of Fiscal Agents: A Trap for the Unwary.”
“In too many communities,” Edie wrote, “it is generally accepted that when grants or gifts cannot be made directly, all one must do is launder the money through a convenient fiscal agent, which is frequently the local community foundation or some other well-established public charity.” MORE
Fiscal sponsors: create or update your agency profile
Fiscalsponsordirectory.org helps connect community projects with fiscal sponsors. San Francisco Study Center created and maintains this directory based on self-reported information from the fiscal sponsors listed. Create your listing and help projects and other nonprofits find you fast. To update your profile send us an email.
Projects: Find a fiscal sponsor
Use the directory to find the fiscal sponsor that best fits for what you do. To search by state: click on the map links below.