Socially minded start-up support
The Design Ignites Change Fiscal Sponsorship Program provides business, individuals and organizations support through Worldstudio Foundation. Fiscal sponsorship is for those who seek the benefits of the United States government’s non-profit status for their project or organization without being registered as such.
More and more architects, designers and artists are interested in developing their own socially minded non-profit businesses, projects and programs. These initiatives are often excellent candidates for funding from individual donations, as well as grants from the government and from private and corporate foundations.
However, it is likely that an organization with registered United States government non-profit status (called a 501c3) is required to accept funding from these sources so that donations may be counted as tax-deductible.
At the most basic level, the Fiscal Sponsorship Program can give an individual, for-profit organization or project the ability to accept charitable donations through the financial oversight of Worldstudio Foundation – a well-established non-profit that has been active in the design and social change field since 1993.
The program also offers varying levels of guidance and administrative support that can be tailored to the specific needs of the project.
What is Fiscal Sponsorship?
Fiscal sponsorship is an arrangement in which one entity agrees to accept and manage funds for another. Within the nonprofit sector, fiscal sponsorship usually occurs when a group or an individual wishes to receive tax-exempt contributions for charitable or community-focused activities without building a full organizational infrastructure or receiving formal 501©3 status.
What Does a Fiscal Sponsor Do?
A fiscal sponsor…
- typically only sponsors projects with a charitable purpose consistent with the sponsor’s own mission.
- commits to supporting the charitable activities of individuals or unincorporated groups by extending its tax-exempt status to include them, allowing donors to make tax-exempt contributions.
- receives and administers charitable contributions on behalf of the sponsored organization.
- accepts significant legal and financial risk, so it is critically important that fiscal sponsorship be offered by organizations that are well-informed of the risks and structured to manage and accept those risks.
- typically charges an administrative fee for its services, usually a percentage of the budget of the sponsored organization or program.
Why Does it Help Me?
- Ability to receive tax-deductible donations. A donor that contributes to a project through a fiscal sponsor with 501©(3) status may normally deduct the contribution as a charitable contribution deduction. Those funds will then be directed to the project to assist the project with running its programs.
- Ability to get off the ground faster. Fiscal sponsorship might be chosen by a newly formed nonprofit that seeks to test-drive its ideas, or operate less formally than what is required of groups that make the commitment to apply for tax-exempt recognition from the IRS.
- Wider base of support. If the organization that acts as a fiscal sponsor has a solid track record with foundations and other funders, this may benefit a “project” of that organization. Projects that don’t already have pre-existing relationships with funders may be in a better position to secure some grants or charitable donations if they have a fiscal sponsorship relationship with a reputable charity.
- Technical assistance and administrative support. Many sponsors may also provide projects with additional support such as insurance, payroll and accounting services, office space, publicity, capacity building or fundraising assistance. This support not only makes it possible for projects to focus more time and energy on their missions and less on administrative matters, but, due to economies of scale, may also be provided at lower cost to a project than the project might have to pay if it incorporated on its own.
- Potentially Lower Insurance Costs. Often, sponsors will be able to obtain lower insurance rates than would be available to a small start-up nonprofit corporation, and these savings can be passed along to the project.
How do I get fiscally sponsored?
The first step is completing the Fiscal Sponsorship application. to get this application, please contact Ansley Whipple, Worldstudio Foundation Programs Director, by email or call 212.366.1317 ex. 15. Please include a brief note about your project and why you are seeking fiscal sponsorship.
Please see the Fiscal Sponsor program’s eligibility and guidelines and services and fees pages for more information.
Special thanks to Ioby for permission to use excerpts from their website here.