• Fiscal Sponsor Webinar 5-28-24

    Posted by Jeff on May 28, 2024 at 2:51 pm

    Here are some questions posted in the chat of the webinar today that did not get addressed:

    – If a project is incorporated, do they also have their own Board? If that is the case, how does the sponsor board interact with the sponsee board?

    – In a 1023, does a potential fiscal sponsor need to identify fiscal sponsor services in order to be approved to provide such services?

    – How closely must the mission or tax-exempt purpose of the sponsor be aligned with the sponsee?

    – In order to accept donations by a sponsor on behalf of the sponsee, who are the checks written to? can the Sponsor create a d/b/a for the sponsee to accept checks in the name of the sponsee?

    – What are the key terms to address in a fiscal sponsor agreement regarding the sponsee’s exit? Can the fiscal sponsor be required to transfer sponsee $$ or is it in their discretion?

    – When a sponsored project wants to hire employees, are they employees of the sponsor or the sponsored project?

    Any thoughts are welcome.

    Meg replied 3 weeks ago 4 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Kate

    Member
    May 29, 2024 at 9:20 pm

    Hello, Jeff, I can answer most of your questions. Of course, there’s always an “it depends” element, too.

    One important distinction for all of these is the choice of which Model of fiscal sponsorship, Model A, comprehensive fiscal sponsorship, the project operates within the sponsor 501c3 nonprofits. For Model C, Pre0approved Grant relationship, the project is a separate legal entity (but usually NOT a 501c3) from the sponsor, who IS a 501c3. I had much more experience with Model C than with Model A, but I’ll note the basic differences in my responses.

    1. If a project is incorporated, do they also have their own Board? If that is the case, how does the sponsor board interact with the sponsee board?

    The sponsor can specify if a separate board is required for the sponsored project. Many sponsors do require or recommend a board. The interaction between the two boards would be up to you and is not required (and there often isn’t much, if any.

    2. In a 1023, does a potential fiscal sponsor need to identify fiscal sponsor services in order to be approved to provide such services?

    If fiscal sponsorship is expected to be a significant area of focus, this might be a good . It is generally not required as long as the activities of the sponsored project that are carried out through the fiscal sponsorship is a charitable purpose that falls within falls within the mission, purpose, and activities of the sponsored organization.

    3. How closely must the mission or tax-exempt purpose of the sponsor be aligned with the sponsee?

    It must fit within the charitable purpose of the sponsored organization.

    4. In order to accept donations by a sponsor on behalf of the sponsee, who are the checks written to? can the Sponsor create a d/b/a for the sponsee to accept checks in the name of the sponsee?

    The sponsor is the 501c3 accepting and taking responsibility for the charitable use of the donated funds, so checks should be made out to the sponsored organization.

    5. What are the key terms to address in a fiscal sponsor agreement regarding the sponsee’s exit? Can the fiscal sponsor be required to transfer sponsee $$ or is it in their discretion?

    The funds are held by the sponsor for the charitable purpose and there is discretion, but how funds will be handled at exit should definitely be described and agreed to in the agreement. The legal form of the agreement has too many provisions to answer in this short reply. There are templates that will be included in the follow up to the webinar and in the Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right book by Gregory Colvin.

    6. When a sponsored project wants to hire employees, are they employees of the sponsor or the sponsored project?

    The depends on whether this is a Model A or Model C. For a Model A, they are employees of the sponsor. For Model C, they are employee of the sponsee.

    I hope these basic responses are helpful, Jeff. I highly recommend that you get the book by Greg Colvin and consult with an attorney (which I am not) about the legal questions.

  • andrews

    Member
    May 30, 2024 at 11:55 am

    Just to add a bit of clarification to @Kate‘s reply to #1 — if the project has a “board,” that group has no legal or fiduciary responsibilities. Those all roll up to the sponsor’s fiduciary Board of Directors. Some sponsors require an “advisory board” which can operate in any number of ways (it can be more informal advisory or operate a bit more formally — but it’s important to remember that it ultimately has very little-to-no authority to govern the project’s activities).

  • Meg

    Member
    May 30, 2024 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks for posting the questions, Jeff. And Kate thank you for your helpful reply.