What is Fiscal Sponsorship?
Fiscal Sponsorship refers to the practice of nonprofit organizations offering their legal and tax-exempt status to groups—typically projects—engaged in activities related to the sponsoring organization's mission. It typically involves a fee-based contractual arrangement between a project and an established nonprofit.
The term fiscal sponsor is sometimes referred to by funders using other words such as the applicant must have 501(c)(3) status, be tax-exempt, and be a nonprofit. However, the correct term is fiscal sponsor for these purposes.
A fiscal sponsor allows a project that furthers the nonprofit mission to raise funds from individuals, foundations, government, and other philanthropic sources that give only to nonprofit organizations, using the nonprofit status. Funds raised for the sponsored project are re-granted, at the discretion of the fiscal sponsor, to the project and can be requested to pay project expenses.
Does having a fiscal sponsor make me or my project a nonprofit or a 501(c)(3)?
No. Having a fiscal sponsor does not make an individual or project a nonprofit or a 501(c)(3). Only the IRS can make a 501(c)(3) ruling.
What is the application deadline?
There is no application deadline; you can submit it anytime. Please note that responses around holidays or film festival travel will take longer. Please check with us if you are trying to meet a specific deadline.
Is my application confidential?
Yes! All applications are kept confidential.
Once I apply, how long does it take to get a decision?
Why is the budget for my project so important?
Your budget will back up your funding plan, be as detailed as possible and demonstrate you’ve taken into account all categories of project expenses. Do your best to get well-researched estimates for all project-related costs that you anticipate. We understand that these may change as the project moves forward. Include a fair and industry-standard salary for yourself in your project budget. Your budget should also contain a revenue section which will share your funding revenue to date, as well as a list of prospects and targets.
Do I need to have a fundraising plan for my ENTIRE budget?
We currently only consider projects that are in post-production. Therefore, you are only required to provide a fundraising plan for post-production.
Can I apply for Fiscal Sponsorship at any stage of my project?
No, you must be in post-production to apply for our fiscal sponsorship. However, completed projects can also get fiscal sponsorship for covering their film festival and/or distribution costs.
What are the criteria for the selection of the projects?
Please see the Project Review Criteria on the Fiscal Sponsorship Homepage page. While each element is important, a well thought out fundraising strategy and a reasonable chance of raising those funds is given particular emphasis. After all, the whole point of fiscal sponsorship is to raise money for your project.
Can I receive grants and funding that do not require a fiscal sponsor?
Yes. You can directly receive funds that do not require fiscal sponsorship, but be aware that you will need to consult with your tax advisor to ensure you are accounting for those funds and their tax liability correctly.
As part of your fiscal sponsorship you can receive donations only. Investments of any kind with the provision of earning some return is prohibited under fiscal sponsorship guidelines; however, at any given point of time you can simultaneously receive donations as well as investment for the project, even from the same person, provided you agree to give the tax benefit only to the amount that was a ‘Donation’.
What is the difference between a donor and an investor?
A donor contributes money to your project and receives a tax receipt in return. A donor cannot receive profits from the project.
An investor contributes money to your project with the intention of receiving their investment principle, plus a return at the end. An investor cannot receive a tax receipt for invested funds.
The words donor and investor are not interchangeable.
Can someone on my crew or one of my actors provide their services as an in-kind donation?
No, the donation of time or professional services are considered volunteer work and are non-deductible by law.
Should I include my script in the application?
As much as we would like to read your script we do not have the bandwidth to read scripts for every application.
What does the fiscal sponsorship fee and application fee cover?
A fiscal sponsorship program creates a significant amount of administrative, legal, and accounting work. The fee covers our administrative and related overhead costs.
To provide independent filmmakers with education in the area of music licensing and scoring while creating another means for filmmakers to raise money for their film projects.
To see indie filmmakers turn to OL:M for fundraising support, and the Memphis Music Banq, for all of their film, soundtrack and scoring needs.