What is fiscal sponsorship and why is it needed?
What does 501(c)(3) mean?
Does Artspire’s Fiscal Sponsorship program provide direct funding?
Why does the Fiscal Sponsorship program have an application process?
How do you select which projects are admitted to the fiscal sponsorship program?
What do I need to include with my application?
Do I have to have any money raised before I apply?
Is there a template budge/proposal I can see?
What types of emerging organizations are fiscally sponsored by Artspire?
Why does Artspire need to control the funds for a sponsored project?
What administrative fees does Artspire charge for fiscal sponsorship?
What happens if I raise more than I need?
Can I take an artist fee?
Can I spend funds from fiscal sponsorship on travel?
Is there a maximum I can raise?
Is there a minimum I have to raise?
What other services does Artspire’s Fiscal Sponsorship program provide?
How is a film considered non-profit?
Can I work on international projects?
Can my project just be making paintings for a gallery show?
How long will I need for fundraising?
Do projects have time limits?
Will you research funders for us?
Does the project/organization retain its own legal identity if it has a fiscal sponsor?
Does fiscal sponsorship allow the project to be absolved from tax reporting?
Do you need to be a US citizen to be accepted?
Am I allowed to sell my work through the project?
Can an organization that has a 501(c)(3) be accepted for sponsorship?
Can I be fiscally sponsored by Artspire if I already have a fiscal sponsor?
Does my emerging organization need to be incorporated?
Why am I not seeing all my transactions?
What is the Artspire Online Credit Card Donations Processing Schedule?
Q: What is fiscal sponsorship and why is it needed?
A: Fiscal Sponsorship gives an artist or emerging arts organization access to funding opportunities and other resources through an affiliation with a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
Fiscally sponsored artists and organizations can apply for grants from foundations or corporate funders that are usually restricted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. And individual donors who support a fiscally sponsored artist or organization enjoy the tax incentives of making a charitable donation.
Q: What does 501(c)(3) mean?
A: 501(c)(3) is the tax determination given to a non-profit charitable organization at the federal level.
Q: Does Artspire’s Fiscal Sponsorship program provide direct funding?
A: No. The Fiscal Sponsorship program is not a grant-making program. However, having a fiscal sponsor allows an individual to apply to many funders who do not accept applications from individuals.
Q: Why does the Fiscal Sponsorship program have an application process?
A:. Our application process, as well as other policies and procedures we have in place, protects artists and organizations by ensuring that sponsored project activities are conducted according to IRS regulations.
The application process also enables you to prepare all the materials needed for fundraising – narrative, budget, work sample etc. – so you can start as soon as you are accepted in the program.
Q: How do you select which projects are admitted to the fiscal sponsorship program?
A: Applicants are chosen based on their level of professionalism and ability to complete the project. They are NOT chosen based on artistic tastes.
Each project is reviewed on its own merit and does not compete with other projects. A good project involves an application that is thorough, non-profit and arts- based, at a professional level and shows the potential of being completed successfully. Projects cannot be used towards an undergraduate or graduate degree and cannot be for-profit.
Q: What do I need to include with my application?
A: Complete applications must include a project narrative that addresses themes of goals, timeline, audience and promotional plans, a budget that shows both expenses and income, fundraising strategy, resumes/bios and work samples if appropriate.
Q: Do I have to have any money raised before I apply?
A: No. We know it’s hard for you to apply for funds without a fiscal sponsor so we do not expect any money to be committed before you are accepted into the program.
Q: Is there a template budget/proposal I can see?
A: No, we do not provide copies of past applications since we want to protect our artists’ privacy and every project is unique. A good application is one that includes all of the requested information – a well-researched budget, narrative etc. Fiscal Sponsorship staff also provides pre-application reviews for $50 an hour. Please contact email@example.com
for more information.
Q: What types of emerging organizations are fiscally sponsored by Artspire?
- • Organizations that are incorporated as nonprofits at the state level and stay with us without without ever getting their own 501(c)(3).
- • Organizations that leave as soon as they get their own 501(c)(3).
- • Organizations that get their own 501(c)(3) but stay with us because they love our services and believe they are great value for the 8% we charge.
- • Organizations that already have their own 501(c)(3) but want to join our program because we offer good services and a strong name behind their organization.
Q: Why does Artspire need to control the funds for a sponsored project?
A: Artspire is legally responsible for the funds received on behalf of a sponsored project and must ensure that the project uses the funds for charitable activities and that donor reporting requirements are met by the project. That being said, Artspire will not take any creative control of your work. You are still free to create as you wish.
Q: What administrative fees does Artspire charge for fiscal sponsorship?
A: There is no fee to apply for fiscal sponsorship. If you are accepted into the program, Artspire’s fees are as follows:
• No Fee to Apply
- • One-time contract fee of $100 (only if accepted)
- • Annual contract renewal fee of $50
- • 8% flat fee on all funds raised for the project
- • Note that for Artists' Projects, the only funds that go to Artspire are contributed funds that are required to go to a 501(c)(3)
- • No fee to apply
- • One-time contract fee of $100 (only if accepted)
- • Annual contract renewal fee of $100
- • Quarterly account maintenance fee of $45
- • 8% flat fee on all funds raised for the organization
Note that for Emerging Organizations, all funds related to the organization, including all contributed and earned income, go to the Artspire fiscal sponsorship account. Fiscally sponsored Emerging Organizations must close any existing outside bank accounts if accepted.
Both Artist’s Projects and Emerging Organizations will be charged directly for any liabilities or direct expenses incurred by Artspire on their behalf, including but not limited to bank charges and postage fees.
Q: What happens if I raise more than I need?
A: While this rarely happens, it’s always good to be prepared. If you do raise more than you need, look back at your expenses and make sure you’ve paid all of the involved artists and paid them a good, fair amount. We want all of the artists involved to be treated and paid as professionals.
Q: Can I take an artist fee?
A: Yes, you can take a fee for being the project director and for being an artist on the project. Typically, project directors don’t pay themselves more than 20% of the budget unless it’s a low budget venture such as writing a book.
Q: Can I spend funds from fiscal sponsorship on travel?
A: You can spend your funds from fiscal sponsorship on anything that relates to the project. This includes airfare and lodging if it’s appropriate for your project.
Q: Is there a maximum I can raise?
A: No, you can raise as much as you need to complete the project.
Q: Is there a minimum I have to raise?
A: No, there is no minimum amount you must raise.
Q: What other services does Artspire’s Fiscal Sponsorship program provide?
A: We provide technical assistance in the form of consultations via phone, email and in-person on a range of subjects, including, but not limited to: fundraising, proposal writing, budgeting, strategic planning and Board development.
And we provide financial services, ranging from check-writing services to acting as the bank and bookkeeper.
Q: How is a film considered non-profit?
A: Documentaries are considered non-profit in nature because their goal is to be seen by, and educate, the public. Any kind of music or film that would not be made commercially is also considered non-profit.
Q: Can I work on international projects?
A: Yes, we can wire money to and from overseas. Many filmmakers use the international aspect of our program since they tend to film abroad. You can also live abroad, as long as you have a US Social Security number. You can also take cash advances for travel/work overseas.
Q: Can my project just be making paintings for a gallery show?
A: You can fundraise to create paintings for a gallery show, but you must also include a non-profit element as well. This element can be a student lecture, non-profit exhibition or studio tour.
Q: How long will I need for fundraising?
A: This varies from project to project. Some people start raising funds right away, while others take more time. Fiscal sponsorship staff will review as many grant proposals as you want and encourage you to send many. The harder you work, the greater your chances of fundraising successfully.
Q: Do projects have time limits?
A: No, the project must have an ending but you can take however long you need – 3 months or 3 years.
Q: Will you research funders for us?
A: No. You are required to most of the research as you best know your project and the community that you will target for fundraising. Artspire staff will provide you with research resources and suggestions and suggest potential funders. They will also review an unlimited amount of proposals and meet with you to discuss fundraising ideas.
Q: Does the project/organization retain its own legal identity if it has a fiscal sponsor?
A: Projects that are fiscally sponsored by Artspire are considered independent contractors and they retain their own identity and are not part of Artspire. In this way, you retain creative control and ownership of your project/organization. However, you are also responsible for tax reporting and liability issues.
Q: Does fiscal sponsorship allow the project to be absolved from tax reporting?
A: No. Projects that raise funding through Artspire are legally responsible for reporting money they receive from their project as income to the IRS. At the end of each year Artspire sends out 1099’s for all of the projects, including any independent contractors such as editors for film projects etc.
Q: Do you need to be a US citizen to be accepted?
A: No, you only need a US Social Security number
Q: Am I allowed to sell my work through the project?
A: You are allowed to sell your work as long as you are still doing a non-profit project, ie something that involves the public. Artspire will not ask for a piece of the profits. Many filmmakers, for example, fundraise to create the film, and then end their relationship with us once they go into distribution and possible sales of the film. That is allowed.
Q: Can an organization that has a 501(c)(3) be accepted for sponsorship?
Yes, many organizations that already have their own 501(c)(3) use our program to learn more skills and lend gravitas to their organization. Many bigger funders feel more comfortable giving to newer organizations if they have a stable fiscal sponsor.
Q: Can I be fiscally sponsored by Artspire if I already have a fiscal sponsor?
A: No. You can only have one fiscal sponsor at a time. The only exception is if the funder requires that you use a certain geographically based sponsor, such as a California based sponsor, in order to get a grant. In this case an exception can be made, but ask that you speak with Artspire in advance.
Q. Does my emerging organization need to be incorporated?
A: Yes, the organization must be incorporated as a non-profit at the state level. However you do not need to be incorporated at the time of submitting your application. If you are not incorporated, you can submit proof of filing (letter from a lawyer or online receipt) with your application. Once accepted, however, you must be incorporated in order to sign your sponsorship contract.
Q. Why am I not seeing all my transactions?
A: Transactions that have not yet been posted, such as deposits with checks in transit, will not display. Please note that Artspire is updated weekly. If you do not see your transaction in the following week please contact NYFA’s Finance Department.
Q. What is the Artspire Online Credit Card Donations Processing Schedule?
A: Credit Card Donations received through Artspire will first be recorded by the credit card processing service (Authorize.net). This service usually takes one business day to record transactions. Before noon of every business day NYFA staff will review all recorded transactions and update Artspire. Once Artspire is updated, donations will appear on the artists’ and organizations’ donor page. These donations will have a status of “Funds Pending”. Donations with this status are not yet available for artists and organizations to use.
Every Friday the NYFA finance department will process all credit card donations that have cleared through the credit card processing service and Artspire will be updated to reflect the donation(s) status to “Approved” and/or “Completed” which means that funds are available for immediate use by sponsored projects and emerging organizations. Please note that online donations made on Friday will not be included since it takes a full business day to be recorded by the credit card service and will be included in the following week’s processing schedule.