How does this all work? Where do we start?
We think the best way to describe our fiscal sponsorship services is to take you through the process from applying for fiscal sponsorship, right through your experiences as a project manager and your donors’ experiences.
Let’s get started.
So, you’ve got a great idea and you want to jump right in. You’d like to set up a web page and you want to start fundraising NOW, so you can save the world this afternoon. We can help (but it may take a few days . . .).
First: Go to our application. It’s very straightforward. Do the best you can to answer all of the questions and upload your files. We will get a notification that you’ve applied but it can’t hurt to shoot an email to our Executive Director, Steve Meltzer (firstname.lastname@example.org), and let him know you’ve submitted the application. By the way, applying is FREE. We will get back to you fast, within a day or two.
Our review is essentially to determine that you are legitimate (that is, you are a real person and you are pursuing the mission you say you are) and that your mission states an exempt purpose under the IRS rules (we have our lawyers help us). If the answer is yes to both, you qualify for our program. No, you don’t have to have funding lined up. No, you don’t need to prove that you’ll have at least $150,000. No, you don’t have to raise a minimum amount of money. We want you to raise lots of money but sometimes you just need to start – that’s our goal. And no, it won’t take months to review your application – only days.
Second: You will hear from us. We will send you an email with congratulations, letting you know that our new project committee has approved your application. Shortly after you get that email (sometimes minutes later, sometimes a day later) you will get a notification from Signnow that your electronic signature has been requested. We have a Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement that needs to be executed. You will have a chance to review it and when you’re ready, you can sign it online. Of course, if you have questions or want someone else to review it, that’s not a problem.
Third: After you sign the agreement, we will send you a link to a quick form so that you can tell us exactly what you want your page to say on our website. You should return that quickly and then we’ll get moving building your page and your donation page. You can look at our other project pages by CLICKING HERE. By the way, we’ve set up a sample project for you to poke around with. You can make donations (pretend) and everything. The donation pages look like THIS ONE.
YOUR IN BUSINESS! There you are, it could be only a couple days later and you’re up and running. No bank accounts to open, no credit card merchant accounts to apply for, no corporation to file, no lawyers or accountants — we’ve done all that. Your project is officially fiscally sponsored by a tax exempt charitable organization. We’ve got the merchant accounts all set up and you can start taking donations online by Credit Card, through Paypal, or by check.
What’s happening in the factory?
Okay, back in our sausage factory, we’ve been setting things up so that your project is integrated into our fully functioning machinations. Your project is part of our accounting system and is integrated into our donor management system. By the way, we use Quickbooks Online for accounting management and we host our own donor management system using CiviCRM.
Now that our donor management system has been rolled out, we are beta testing the system which provides project managers direct access to all of the donor management functions for their project. If you would like to see and play with the donor management system, let us know and we will set you up on the as a “demo” user. We are also working on the ability for project managers to automatically access accounting reports.
Raise money, save the world. Go do whatever it is that made you passionate enough to look into fiscal sponsorship in the first place. Direct your potential donors to your page on our site or link from your website directly to your donation page. For an example, look at our sample project page HERE and view its donation landing page HERE. Your donors can donate online, offline or in a number of other ways. We can also manage your events and event registrations on a page like THIS ONE.
By the way, in case you missed it on the donation page, your donors can even set up their own peer-to-peer fundraising pages to promote your project.
Go ahead and try it all out on the sample project. You can go through the donation or event registration process and start a fundraising page — we’ll just erase all the fake data later.
Where’s the Money?
We’ve got all the money you’ve raised in our bank accounts. We have also kept is separately accounted for and get you reports whenever you need them. All you need to do is ask. Pretty soon, if all goes well, you’ll be able to log in and run your own financial and donor reports (we’re working on that).
When you need a reimbursement for a project related expense, or you need to pay of vendor, we’ve got a simple and handy online form you fill out and we take care of the rest.
Maybe some more of your questions can get answered by perusing the FAQ’s.
If not, feel free to reach out.