WHY DO I NEED FISCAL SPONSORSHIP?
Not every multimedia project needs to have a fiscal sponsor. However, if you plan to raise funds, most donors prefer to contribute to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Additionally, individuals who give to a project through a fiscal sponsor may count that donation as a charitable contribution which is tax-deductible up to the full extent of the law. As a nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster a supportive community for content creators, Image Essays has extended its nonprofit status for eligible projects to seek funding.
CAN I APPLY IF MY PROJECT HAS NOT YET BEGUN? OR IF IT’S ALREADY BEEN COMPLETED?
You can apply with a project at any stage of production. Some producers apply when they are still in pre-production so they can start the fundraising process. Others apply at later stages, either because they are changing fiscal sponsors or because they want to fund the outreach component of their project. Regardless of the stage, what we require is that your project must have a proposal, budget, and fundraising strategy.
CAN I APPLY WITH A NARRATIVE FICTION PROJECT?
Not through Image Essays. We only accept applications for non-fiction projects.
I HAVE SOMEONE READY TO GIVE ME MONEY RIGHT NOW. CAN YOU FAST-TRACK ME?
Image Essays approaches Fiscal Sponsorship very seriously. Extending our nonprofit status to a film project is not something we can take lightly since we are ultimately accountable to the IRS for any funds which are raised under our name. That is why we have a thorough application and review process before we can accept a project into our Fiscal Sponsorship Program.
WHAT FEES ARE INVOLVED?
To apply for Fiscal Sponsorship, you must pay a one-time application processing fee ($50). Once a project is accepted into our Fiscal Sponsorship Program, Image Essays will take a 7% administrative fee from most funds raised (plus any merchant account fees for credit card donations and crowdfunding platforms). We charge 10% for government grants which require a higher degree of paperwork and reporting.
IS THERE A DEADLINE TO APPLY?
Fiscal Sponsorship Applications are accepted year-round.
I’M JUST STARTING MY PROJECT. WHY DO YOU ASK ME FOR A PROPOSAL AND BUDGET?
In selecting projects to be included in the Fiscal Sponsorship Program, we are looking for producers who are serious about fundraising. Any application for funding will require a proposal and budget. There are many great ideas out there, but we need to ensure that the producer has reached a stage where they have thought through what their project is about, how they plan to make it, and how much it will cost to make.
WHAT SHOULD GO INTO THE PROPOSAL? HOW LONG SHOULD IT BE?
Image Essays is following the Documentary Core Application, so the questions we ask on our online application form are very similar to those asked by major film funders. You will be asked for a project description (logline, synopsis, topic summary, artistic approach, project stage and timeline, information about prior work), an audience and distribution strategy, key creative personnel, and fundraising strategy.
WHAT SHOULD GO INTO THE BUDGET?
There are different approaches to budgeting. The key is that the budget includes realistic numbers which address all phases of production and which correspond to your proposal.
WHAT IF I AM ACCEPTED INTO THE PROGRAM AND MY PROJECT PROPOSAL OR BUDGET CHANGES?
It is expected that a project will evolve. This is one of the reasons that we ask Fiscal Sponsorees to submit regular reports which not only update us on their fundraising efforts, but also on any significant changes to the film or the budget. As long as the basic concept of the project remains unchanged and Image Essays is kept informed of other changes, this is not a major issue.
CAN I RAISE FUNDS ONLINE THROUGH IMAGE ESSAYS?
We will include your project on our website with an option for donors to give online. Each project has its own page with its own donation button which you can link to on your own website and outreach.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I RECEIVE AN INDIVIDUAL DONATION?
We generally forward e-mail notifications of donations to the fiscal sponsoree within a few days of the donation being received. This is primarily so you know who has donated to you and can thank them. Each fiscal sponsoree who has received at least some funds during a quarter may request a quarterly report which lists all funders and funding amounts for that quarter. A final report of all donations received in a given year will be sent in late January.
IF I BECOME A FISCAL SPONSOREE, HOW SOON AFTER FUNDS ARE RECEIVED BY IMAGE ESSAYS CAN I GET THEM?
We disburse funds to fiscal sponsorees once per quarter.