Fiscal Sponsorships

Fiscal sponsorships are another way for artists to receive funding indirectly. Artists apply for grants through an incorporated nonprofit art, cultural or similar organization.

By definition, a fiscal sponsorship is a partnership in which a recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization provides agreed upon financial and management assistance to an individual artists for artwork created.

In a fiscal sponsorship, the artist is not the direct recipient of funds but is the beneficiary of those funds. The nonprofit fiscal agent organization receives funds directly from another source – most often a foundation, corporation or nonprofit funding organization that cannot make grants to individual artists directly for legal or other reasons. What this means is that the fiscal agent would pay vendors, artist assistants or any person or organization involved directly in the creation of your work.

Choosing a Partner

If you decide that a fiscal sponsorship will be a good fit for your specific funding need, make sure you choose the partnership organization wisely. Start with organizations with which you currently have an existing relationship or have been professionally affiliated. When researching a nonprofit organization to partner with for a fiscal sponsorship it is important to consider a few key issues:

  • Does the organization have a demonstrated history of working with individual artists successfully on projects as a fiscal agent?
  • Does the organization have the financial stability and staff resources required to take on a fiscal agent project at this time?
  • Will the organization take a percentage fee for acting a fiscal agent for your project? (Most organizations depending on the amount of time needed to manage funds and disburse checks will charge a fiscal agent fee of 10 – 15% to come out of any funds received for your project).
  • Does the organization have a fiscal sponsorship or fiscal agent contract that clearly delineates the roles and responsibility for both the artists and the sponsoring organization?

Your approach to the organization should be professional and business-like in making your case for fiscal sponsorship. Be sure to present an overview of your art project, and include a proposed budget and timeline.