When INN filed for 501(c)(3) nonprofit determination, we waited 19 months before we finally received our letter from the IRS. Some organizations receive nonprofit determinations quickly, others face significant delays, and all nonprofit startups need to meet various state and federal requirements while they set up operations. We know it’s confusing, expensive and, most of all, time-consuming.
In order to start up programs more quickly, many nonprofits – both startups and commercial companies converting to nonprofit-status – seek a “fiscal sponsor.” A fiscal sponsor is an established 501(c)(3)-certified organization that accepts funds on behalf of the sponsored program and ensures the funds are spent to advance the program’s mission. This allows new nonprofits to receive tax-deductible donations while they are ramping up or their status is pending with the IRS. Some nonprofits may be sponsored for a short time. Others stay under sponsorship for years as an efficient way to operate.
INN offers both short and long term fiscal sponsorship to news organizations. This helps INN to fulfill its mission to foster and further sustainable nonprofit journalism in the public interest.
To qualify for INN sponsorship you must:
- Meet INN membership standards.
- Function within 501(c)(3) regulations.
- Actively publish and fundraise while sponsored
To apply for INN fiscal sponsorship:
- Fill out an application for fiscal sponsorship.
- If you are not already an INN member, fill out an application for membership as well.
- If approved by our board for membership (learn more about this process here), and for fiscal sponsorship, you will become a fiscally sponsored program of INN.
- Pay an initial $500 setup fee to cover bookkeeping and banking enrollment and setup.
Why INN for fiscal sponsorship?
- We’re news people. Services are tailored to news media and rooted in INN’s mission of supporting nonprofit newsrooms. You’re joining a supportive and innovative community of INN members.
- INN offers short-term or long-term sponsorship. It’s flexible depending what you need.
- As a journalism organization, INN offers sponsorship clear of potential conflicts of interest, which can be a concern in community-based programs.
- Simple structures allow us to set up quickly and keep fees low
- You maintain your direct employees and your relationships with both vendors and donors.
- INN covers your state-by-state charity registrations, federal 990 filings and annual audits.
- INN serves startups as well as providing short term “bridge” sponsorships for companies converting or spinning off as new nonprofits
- INN follows best practices for fiscal sponsorship and is a member of the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors
Other options and more info:
There are many options for fiscal sponsorship. INN encourages members to check them out and choose whatever option is best for you. Community foundations may offer potential funding connections for some nonprofit news organizations, but also may raise the potential for, or perception of, conflicts of interest. There also are cause-based sponsors and organizations that specialize in certain types of nonprofits. We welcome INN members with many different sponsors and no incoming member is obligated to use our program. You can learn more about sponsorship and various providers at the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors: