Our Fiscal Sponsorship program explained

With the June 30 deadline coming up, we get a lot of questions from artists wondering if the Fiscal Sponsorship program is a good fit for them. 

NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship is a program that enables artists and emerging organizations to fundraise for their own projects using NYFA’s 501c3 status, allowing access to grants and tax deductible contributions. Fiscal Sponsorship is not a funding program, but it is a great tool for those working on a non-profit based project!

Here are some quick tips from Program Officer Sarah Corpron, on how you can tell if NYFA’s program might be what you need for your project: 

1. Are you working on a big project, beyond your own day to day art practice? 
Fiscal Sponsorship is a great tool for artists and arts organizations, but it is meant for project based work. We accept applications for films, theater and dance performances or companies, art installations, traveling exhibitions, public artwork, workshops, music performances, written work, and more. The list is almost endless, but the one thing all of these projects have in common is that they extend beyond the individual artist’s own day to day practice. 

2. Is there a measurable public benefit to your project?
This is an important one! Public benefit is our way of gauging that a project is non-profit in nature. NYFA is a non-profit 501c3 so we can only sponsor projects that are also non-profit. So, how do you know if your project is non-profit in nature?

  • Could your project easily exist in the for-profit sector, meaning is it the type of thing that normally would have investors or generate all income off of sales? If so, fiscal sponsorship might not be a great resource for you. In contrast, does your project require additional funding that the for-profit sector couldn’t possibly provide? Maybe, because of the nature of your project, for-profit methods like sales or investors won’t be able to provide the type of funding needed. If you know that the primary type of funding for your category of project is grant funds or donations, then fiscal sponsorship is probably for you. 

  • Will the public be able to engage with your project in some way? Will they be able to learn from, view or interact with your project? In order for the public to benefit from a project they have to be able to easily engage with it, so what is your plan to make that happen? 
  • What does the public gain from interacting with your project? What is your project adding to the world that makes it important for the public to have access to it? Perhaps you are shedding light on a particular issue, pushing a new creative boundary, sharing an important social message, educating the community, or allowing others to directly experience and be part of your art in a meaningful way.

3. Do you know what your funding sources should be and do you have a plan?
Our program is a lot like a partnership. We need to know that you have a reasonable understanding of what it will take to execute your project AND to fundraise for it. So show us you have a plan and that your fundraising plan lines up with your own project timeline. What grants do you plan on applying for? Have you researched them and know that your project is a good fit AND that their funding timeline aligns with your project timeline? Are you going to get individual donors? If so, how do you know you can get them to fund you, what is your plan for engaging these donors? Do you need any other support to execute your project, like venues or community support? If so, have you already connected with these places to ensure that you will be able to complete your project in the way you outlined in your proposal? 

Remember, the panel will be full of artists and arts administrators who have completed these types of projects before so they know what it takes to make it happen. If you claim something in your proposal you should be able to back it up either with your own background, your staff support, or your support materials. Have a plan and show us that it is believable!

4. Do you meet our application guidelines?
This seems so straight forward, but make sure you read our application requirements all the way through. There are things we won’t fiscally sponsor as well as requirements that your project/application must meet. Your time is valuable and if you know your application won’t meet what is outlined in our guidelines, then rather than spending that time applying for something you don’t qualify for, spend it working on your art! Take a look at our FAQ section to get a good idea of our application and program requirements by clicking here.

If there is something that is unclear, take a moment to contact us directly with your questions at [email protected]. We are always happy to help clarify things!

Ready to apply now for the Fiscal Sponsorship Program? Visit our website for access to the application portal by clicking here and apply before the June 30th deadline

To view the FAQs, click here.

Image: Photo Credit – Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrical Photography and Design 

Amy Aronoff
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