fiscal sponsorship.

About Fiscal Sponsorship
Projects We Sponsor
Project Review Criteria
Processing Donations
Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement

About Fiscal Sponsorship

Fiscal Sponsorship is used primarily when a non-profit film or film-related project or event wants to secure funding from individual, foundation, government or corporate sources that give only to nonprofit organizations with IRS tax-exempt status. To be considered exempt, an organization must hold a current 501(c)(3) certificate from the IRS.

Rather than attempt to secure tax-exempt status, individual filmmakers may contract with a fiscal sponsor to extend tax-exempt status to that specific project. As a Fiscal Sponsor, The Film Collaborative serves as a conduit for financial resources, and provides some support and oversight for independently produced film projects.

TFC’s Fiscal Sponsorship program provides financial services, competitive administrative fees, and the dependability of working with an established filmmaker support organization.

As the Fiscal Sponsor for your project, TFC does not take any ownership of your project. We do not interfere on your creative vision or control, copyright, or prevent you from future sales or profit from your project. Our primary role is to assure that the money you raise is being properly dispersed and used for the project as intended.

TFC charges an administrative fee for funds granted through our Fiscal Sponsorship program. This 5% fee covers the cost of running the program, managing donations to your project, including bookkeeping, check distribution, reporting to funders, website, etc. The admin fee will be higher for some government grants. Please check with us before you start preparing a government grant application.

Projects We Sponsor

To be considered for Fiscal Sponsorship projects must be consistent with the TFC’s charitable purposes, be creative, artistic and/or educational, not a “work for hire” and represent an imaginative contribution to the film or video art form.

TFC sponsors:

  • Documentary feature & short films and other works of nonfiction
  • Narrative feature & short films and other narrative works
  • Transmedia/multi-media projects with film/video as a primary component of the work
  • Film related events such as film festivals or screening series

TFC gives priority to projects that can be fully financed by donations and grants alone (usually projects under $3million); or fundraising for a defined portion of the project’s budget (usually development)


  • Yearly TFC membership at the Contributor level or higher is required in order to apply for and participate in the program. Join here. Memberships are valid for one year from the join date.
  • A one-time Fiscal Sponsorship Application Fee of $40.
  • There will be a 5% admin fee on funds raised.
  • Please note that on federal government grants (i.e. NEH, NSF, or any entity that requires that we submit on the applicant’s behalf), a there will be 7% admin fee.


  1. Project must be consistent with the TFC’s charitable purposes, be educational, not a “work for hire” and represent an imaginative contribution to the film or video art form.
  2. The applicant must be a producer and/or director of the project.
  3. The project may be in any stage of development, production and or post production or distribution.
  4. Projects must be seeking donations in the form of grants from public agencies, foundations, corporations, or individual donors including fundraising benefits.
  5. Applicant does not need to live in the Los Angeles area or in California or be a U.S. citizen to apply for fiscal sponsorship.
  6. At least one of the project’s named project directors will need to have a Social Security number (SSN), Employer Identification Number (EIN), Independent Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or other type of IRS registration.

Project Review Criteria

Elements we look for in a project we will sponsor:

  • Project director and the project meet TFC’s Fiscal Sponsorship program eligibility requirements
  • Project tells a compelling story
  • Project takes an innovative approach to the subject matter. If the story been told before, this project's approach bring something new to the story
  • Project director has the access required to tell the story in a compelling way
  • The treatment well written and gives a clear picture of the film's story and themes
  • Project director and the production team are experienced and capable of completing the project
  • Audience is identified with a realistic plan for reaching and engaging that audience. Project has a reasonable chance of reaching its intended audience
  • Project has a realistic and well thought out fundraising strategy and a reasonable chance of raising sufficient funds to complete the project
  • Budget is thorough and realistic. Line items in the budget are within industry norms and standards

Processing Donations

All funds collected by TFC will be remitted to project director as follows:

  • Project director submits a request for funds explaining how the money will be used before funds can be remitted
  • Donations exceeding $250.00 will be remitted to the project director within 30 days of receiving the donation
  • Donations less than $250.00 will be held by TFC until multiple donations add up to $250.00 or a quarter of the year ends (quarters are defined as January 1, April 1, July 1, October 1 of each year), whichever happens first, and then the monies will be paid to the project director within 30 days
  • Copies of checks and any other donation documentation will be emailed to project director so that donors can be contacted directly with thank you notes
  • For donations over $250 TFC will send the donor a thank you letter stating a tax deductible donation was received
  • Twice a year filmmakers must submit a status reports making TFC aware of how the project is progressing. These reports must be submitted and up to date to keep fiscal sponsorship active
  • At the end of the year you will receive a 1099 for all monies paid to you

Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement

When a project is approved for Fiscal Sponsorship, the filmmaker will enter into a signed agreement that stipulates that the filmmaker must:

  • Keep track of all expenses connected with the project
  • Spend donated funds on project expenses only
  • Complete and return the Project Status Report every six months
  • Spend funds administered to you through the Film Collaborative only for the project and in accordance with the budget approved by the Film Collaborative
  • Comply with restrictions and requirements imposed on TFC by donors and with government requirements regarding information and required reports
  • Maintain TFC membership at the Contributor level or higher for the length of the sponsorship


Email us at

The Film Collaborative follows the best practice guidelines from the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors. The NNFS promotes the understanding and professional practice of fiscal sponsorship.

© 2015 The Film Collaborative. All rights reserved.