What is a fiscal sponsorship?
A fiscal sponsor is an organization that administers a grant on behalf of a grantee. Individuals, groups, or organizations that wish to apply for funding through the Rapid Grants Program, Project Grants Program, or the Conference & Event Grants Program but cannot or prefer not to administer the grant funds themselves, may request to receive their grant through a fiscal sponsor organization. The fiscal sponsor receives the funds from WMF on behalf of the grantee, holds the funds, and dispenses them as agreed or instructed by the grantee. The grantee is responsible for managing and implementing the funded project.
Fiscal sponsorships may be helpful for:
- (a) new organizations or groups that have not yet incorporated or established a bank account where they can receive grant funds;
- (b) groups or initiatives that are formed temporarily for a specific purpose; or
- (c) groups whose circumstances make it hard for a grantee to receive funds directly.
How do fiscal sponsorships work?
Fiscal sponsorships require two written agreements:
- An agreement between WMF and the fiscal sponsor.
- An agreement between the fiscal sponsor and the grantee, using a template agreed upon with WMF. The grantee agrees to provide the fiscal sponsor and WMF with information about the project and may communicate directly with WMF alongside the fiscal sponsor.
In most cases, the fiscal sponsor is responsible for working with the grantee to ensure that reporting requirements are met, but the grantee and the fiscal sponsor do not usually need to submit separate grant requests or grant reports to WMF.
Here are examples of fiscal sponsorship grant agreements for our:
- Rapid grants program - Grants:Project/Rapid/Example agreements/Fiscal sponsorship
- Conference grants program - Grants:Conference/Example agreements/Fiscal sponsorship
- Project grants program - Grants:Project/Example agreements/Fiscal sponsorship
When do you request a fiscal sponsorship?
Grantees do not need to have a fiscal sponsor identified before they submit their request, but should identify one before the grant is approved. Annual Plan Grants are generally not eligible to award grants as fiscal sponsorships.
Who can act as a fiscal sponsor?
Fiscal sponsors must be incorporated organizations registered as nonprofits in their local contexts, and need to meet some basic eligibility requirements.
- A fiscal sponsor must be in compliance with any agreement it has with WMF in order to receive funds from WMF.
- Fiscal sponsors may have received grants from WMF in the past and be familiar with the WMF grants programs, but that is not a requirement.
- Grantees receiving Annual Plan Grants may act as fiscal sponsors for other grantees.
- The fiscal sponsor and the grantee need to have a good working relationship, since they will need to work together with WMF on the grant.
- Here is a list of funded WMF grants involving fiscal sponsors
What information is needed from a fiscal sponsor?
Before a fiscal sponsorship agreement can be issued and grant funds disbursed, the fiscal sponsor must provide this documentation to the Wikimedia Foundation.
During the grant request review period, documents requested include but not limited to:
- proof organization has non-profit status equivalent to the US 501(c)(3) status in its local context (English translation may be requested)
- 2-3 years of annual financial statements (audited financials preferred, if available) and translated in English
If the grant request is approved for funding, information/documents required before an agreement is drafted:
- unexpired government issued identification document for all agreement signatories
- date of birth (if not already listed in the ID provided) for all agreement signatories
Before grant payment, required documents include:
- a completed bank information form where the grant funds will be wired to
- a document or letter from their bank identifying the persons with access to the bank account where the grant funds will be sent and stored
- additional information and valid identification documents for all persons with signing authority to the bank account where the grant funds will be received and stored