Fiscal Sponsorship

How does The Partner apply for Fiscal Sponsorship Services?


What is Fiscal Sponsorship?

Fiscal sponsorship is a mechanism that allows a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization (the sponsor) to support and protect another group (the sponsored partner). As a fiscal sponsor, POISE Foundation is legally and financially responsible for any sponsored partner, so it is critical that the partner organization’s goals align with our mission. If a potential partner’s mission is a good fit, POISE will enter into a written agreement with them. 

One of the most common uses of fiscal sponsorship is to enable a sponsored partner to apply for grants and solicit tax-deductible contributions. This reduces the partner’s costs, conserves resources, reduces duplication of personnel, and simplifies organizational functions. 

Done well, a fiscal sponsorship acts as a proving ground for a new idea or a new nonprofit, while utilizing the administrative resources of the sponsor. Newly formed nonprofit entities may choose to apply through fiscal sponsors while awaiting their 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS.

POISE employs four Fiscal Sponsorship models to meet The Partner’s needs:


This service is provided to an individual or group that is not part of a separate legal business entity, who is initially not concerned with owning The Program’s resulting work products. The Program becomes a POISE-owned program. Any Program personnel become employees and/or volunteers of POISE. All fundraising is done in POISE’s name and its Board has control over the use of funds. All assets, contributions and liabilities belong to POISE and are reported solely within the Foundation’s financial statements. This model is often best suited for projects in an “incubator” stage, as The Partner grows funding, programming and recognition of the program; while reducing The Partner’s liability and limiting IRS challenges of tax-exempt designations of donations. A board resolution may be adopted during the agreement process to address potential or eventual separation of The Program from POISE.

For more information on POISE Foundation’s Fiscal Sponsorship Services, contact:

Here are the four models


In this model, The Partner is a separate, legal entity. Ownership of The Program, including work-product and other assets can belong to POISE, The Partner, or both parties however; POISE maintains control over the project. Actual operations of The Program are contracted out to The Partner for execution. All fundraising is done in POISE’s name, contributions belong to POISE and POISE reports funds as contributions in and expenses out. Typically, a Form 1099 will be issued to The Partner to report funds disbursed during the year, for inclusion on The Partner’s tax return. Depending on ownership agreements and the nature of The Program, The Partner may be liable for The Program, and may be required to carry liability insurance, listing POISE Foundation as a named insured.


The Partner is a separate, legal, non-profit entity. The Partner maintains ownership of The Program, although POISE retains discretion and control over the use of funds. The Partner goes through a formal grant request process, through which POISE’s Distribution Committee evaluates The Program’s grant proposal. Once approved, funds are only provided up to the amount of funds received for The Program, at agreed intervals. Often, The Partner has potential funding sources identified. Charitable contributions go to POISE, who reports funds as contributions in and grants out. The Partner reports grants or income in and expenses out. Program personnel work for The Partner, who maintains total liability for The Program.


The Partner has its own 501(c)(3) but needs help with financial management, including bookkeeping, tax returns, and other administrative tasks that may be beyond The Partner’s internal capacity or skills. The Partner maintains ownership of The Program and all funds are raised in The Partner’s name. Fees for these services are typically less than those available through for-profit service providers, to meet IRS’ requirements.