Fiscal Sponsorship

When INN first filed for 501(c)(3) nonprofit determination, we waited 19 months before finally receiving our letter from the IRS in March 2012.

Organizations like our members continue to face long delays in obtaining nonprofit determination from the IRS. We know it’s confusing, expensive and, most of all, time-consuming.

So what can a start-up nonprofit newsroom do in the meantime? Either wait to start operations or find a fiscal sponsor.

By offering fiscal sponsorship, INN fulfills its mission to foster and further sustainable nonprofit journalism in the public interest.

To qualify, you must:

  1. Meet our membership standards.
  2. Function within 501(c)(3) regulations.
  3. Demonstrate progress and steps you’ve taken towards obtaining your 501(c)(3).

How it works:

  1. Fill out an application for membership. Be sure to indicate your interest in fiscal sponsorship.
  2. If approved by our board (learn more about this process here), you will become a fiscal sponsee of INN.
  3. There is an initial $500 startup fee to cover enrollment bookkeeping charges. This can be waived for members who can demonstrate financial distress.

That means that we will:

  1. Provide financial analysis and detailed monthly statements that meet 501(c)(3) standards.
  2. Manage your billing and payments.
  3. File your 1099s and report to the government.
  4. Include you on our 990 per IRS regulations.
  5. Track your payments and accept receivables, including donations, plus send donor acknowledgement letters for all donations over $250.

You will be responsible for certain expenses, including postage, accounting fees and any tax charges. At the end of each month, INN will charge 5% of a project’s total receivables. We will charge back any direct costs incurred at your request each month. More information on our procedure is available here.

INN recognizes that projects have choices when it comes to securing a fiscal agent. That is why we also accept projects as members that are fiscally sponsored elsewhere. We won’t mind. There is absolutely no obligation to use our services.


Fiscal Sponsorship Basics

Fiscal Sponsorship vs. Fiscal Agency

Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice