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Fiscal Sponsorship

IAM is currently accepting applications for fiscal sponsorship, with review conducted monthly by the Affiliate Advisory Committee of the IAM Board of Directors.

On this page you can learn about IAM’s fiscal sponsorship program, exclusive professional development and fundraising opportunities, review our Fiscal Sponsorship Policies & Procedures Manual, confirm your eligibility for sponsorship, and begin the application process.

If you still have specific questions about IAM, our sponsorship services or the application process, please review the IAM Affiliate Policy Manuals (for Model A and Model C affiliate projects) before contacting IAM with additional requests for information.

The Affiliate Advisory Committee meets to consider applications on the 3rd Thursday of each month.  Your completed application must be received at least three weeks before this meeting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Fiscal Sponsorship?

“Fiscal sponsorship” is an alternative to starting your own nonprofit and seeking federal tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

Instead of becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, fiscal sponsorship creates a formal relationship between the “fiscal sponsor,” a tax-exempt nonprofit, and the sponsored project that (usually) does not have its own tax-exempt status. Through financial and programmatic oversight by the “fiscal sponsor”, the sponsored project is then able to receive grants and tax-exempt donations from governments, foundations, and individuals.

What types of projects does IAM accept for sponsorship?

IAM offers fiscal sponsorship to projects and producers that advance IAM’s charitable purpose as approved by the IRS: to raise and support the educational, cultural, and social levels of the residents of the San Francisco Bay Area and surrounding regional and national communities, through the development of non-commercial projects for the benefit of the general public, including but not limited to educational, cultural, community, media, news and art-related projects.

All IAM Affiliates must also advance IAM’s mission to support independent, non-commercial arts and media projects and producers for the purpose of building community and civic participation, and facilitating cultural engagement and free expression.

IAM currently supports over 60 affiliates dedicated to non-commercial work in media and the arts, including publishing, theater, dance, music, visual art, film and video, radio, mixed media and transmedia, journalism, history, and public-events production and convening.

While most of our Affiliates are in the Bay Area, IAM has supported several projects located throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, New York, Georgia, Illinois, Colorado, and Florida.

What is a "non-commercial" project?

IAM only supports art and media projects that are “non-commercial” in nature – which means that the project cannot have the intent of financially benefiting the project leaders or participants.

All funds raised for your project through your fiscal sponsor must be spent to further the project. If there is income left over, it must be put back into the project for operations and future programming. It cannot be kept by the project leaders as extra income.

However, this does NOT mean that you cannot pay yourselves or your team for their time and labor. IAM encourages our fiscally sponsored projects to budget funds to pay yourself and other personnel for the value of your services.

Is my project eligible for sponsorship with IAM?

All IAM Affiliates:

  • use media, journalism, arts and/or culture to build community participation and engagement;
  • empower and sustain independent production;
  • serve low-income, neglected, overlooked or otherwise underserved communities and populations;
  • or otherwise pursue activities that advance IAM’s mission and charitable purpose.

Affiliates do not use funding raised through IAM for: (1) lobbying for or against legislation, or (2) participating, directly or indirectly, in a campaign for or against a candidate for public office.

All IAM Affiliates are based in the United States or have a U.S.-based manager of national, regional or local programming.

What services does IAM provide to its Affiliates?

First and foremost, fiscal sponsorship enables our Affiliates to receive tax-deductible donations and grants from individuals and organizations. Depending on the type of sponsorship relationship, affiliated projects may also have access to other resources and services.

Here is a brief description of some of the services IAM provides to its Affiliates.

➢ Donation management including IRS-mandated donor confirmation letters
➢ Ability to receive in kind donations, stock donations, and corporate matching grants
➢ Convenient access to your project’s financial records
➢ Fundraising and promotional support
➢ FREE workshops and trainings to develop fundraising skills, grant development, financial management, and strategic communications
➢ Access to IAM’s FREE coaching & consulting program, which offers access to experts in the areas of social media marketing, fundraising, grant development, and program development
➢ Access to IAM’s online Affiliate resource center, featuring a wide variety of fundraising and programmatic resources
➢ Support with grant applications, administration, and reporting, including customized grant financial reports
➢ Vendor bill pay services for all Model A Affiliates (and some Model C’s)
➢ Employee payroll and workmens comp for Model A personnel as approved by IAM
➢ General Liability and Errors & Omissions insurance coverage for all Model A Affiliates
➢ Tax reporting for all Model A Affiliates
➢ Referrals for legal, accounting, insurance, and other professional services

What fees does IAM charge for its services?

IAM deducts an administrative fee of 10% fee for all charitable funds received on behalf of our Model C Affiliates, and a 12% fee for all funds received on behalf of our Model A Affiliates, including charitable donations, grants and earned income. Affiliates are also responsible for all other applicable fees, such as PayPal, crowd-funding, payroll, and bank service fees.

These sponsorship fees help IAM cover the costs of providing Affiliate services, such as bookkeeping, donation management and donor confirmation letters, and programming workshops, as well as general expenses related to financial accounting, auditing, insurance, and IRS compliance.

What is the difference between Model A and Model C fiscal sponsorship?

IAM offers two types of fiscal sponsorship – Model A and Model C.

Model A is a comprehensive and “Direct Project” relationship where IAM adopts your project into our own organization and, as a result, IAM and the Model A Affiliate are legally considered one and the same. IAM provides its Model A Affiliates with a wide range of administrative back-end services, including donor management, employee payroll, bookkeeping, bill pay, tax reporting, and insurance.

Model C sponsorship is for independent entities that have a legal, tax, and accounting identity separate from IAM. The Model C Affiliate is a “Pre-approved Grantee” of charitable funds received by IAM for your project. Sponsorship services focus on fundraising support and donor management.

For more detailed information, download the Model A Policy Manual, Model C Policy Manual, and Fiscal Sponsorship Model A and Model C Contracts (Word).

How do I apply for sponsorship with IAM?

All applicants are required to submit a completed application and project budget at least three weeks prior to the next meeting of the Affiliate Advisory Committee of the IAM Board of Directors for consideration.

Download IAM’s Fiscal Sponsorship Application Form (MS WORD .DOC FILE) and Project Budget Worksheet (Excel). Email the completed Application and Budget forms, including Budget Notes, with all supporting documents to admin [at]

You will receive a confirmation email from IAM within five business days of receipt. You will also be invited to discuss your project with a member of the IAM Board of Directors.

When does IAM review applications for sponsorship?

Sponsorship applications are reviewed monthly by the Affiliate Advisory Committee of the Board of Directors. Complete applications must be received no later than three weeks prior to the meeting.

For 2022, the Affiliate Advisory Committee will review applications on the 3rd Thursday of each month.

The Affiliate Advisory Committee may also consider applications at times upon request and subject to the Committee’s availability, in its sole discretion.

How does IAM evaluate applications for sponsorship?

The Board of Directors evaluates applications on the following criteria:

  1. How well the project fits into IAM’s charitable purpose, mission, and values.
  2. Relevant experience and background of the project’s leaders.
  3. Compliance with IRS guidelines for activities of 501(c)(3) organizations.
  4. The specific needs of the project and its organizational framework.

Still Have Questions?

Great! We love questions. Give us a call at (415) 738-4975, send us an email at or submit the online form:

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