A nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that acts as a sponsor for a project or group that does not have its own tax-exempt status. Grants or contributions are made to the fiscal sponsor which manages the funds. In the case of a grant, the fiscal sponsor is responsible for reporting back to the foundation on the progress of the project.
Fiscal sponsors also sometimes serve as "incubators," providing shared office space and accounting and administrative services. The organization that is sponsored usually pays a fee to the sponsor for its services, usually about 10 percent of the new group's revenues.
Fiscal sponsorship is complicated and is individualized for the two organizations. If you wish to partner with a sponsor, first identify several possibilities...groups that have missions similar to yours. Approach these with a sensible proposal. Both organizations should have legal counsel to help set up formal agreements that protect each entity.
For more information, see How Fiscal Sponsorship Works.
Today there are organizations that focus only on providing sponsorship services. These are called "dedicated" sponsors. Some well-known dedicated fiscal sponsorship organizations are The Tides Center in San Francisco and Community Initiatives.
The Fiscal Sponsor Directory provides a list of fiscal sponsors across the country.
The National Network of Fiscal Sponsors provides information about fiscal sponsorship and best practices for fiscal sponsors; as well as a directory of sponsors.
Pronunciation: fis-kal spahn-sor
Also Known As: Fiscal Agent or Fiscal Agency
Examples: The small arts organization has a fiscal sponsor so it can solicit tax-exempt contributions.