Fiscal Sponsorship & how we support high impact start-ups

Reducing Duplication. Catalyzing Impact through Collaboration.

About Fiscal Sponsorship

Fiscal sponsorship is the term used to describe a set of relationships between (1) an individual or group desiring to run a project that advances a tax-exempt purpose; and (2) a tax-exempt organization that is willing to serve as the project’s fiscal sponsor by conferring upon the project the benefit of its tax-exempt status.

The most common way to do it right, according to Greg Colvin’s book “Fiscal Sponsorship – Six Ways To Do It Right” (available here) is referred to by Colvin as a Model A (or comprehensive) fiscal sponsorship, where the sponsor takes the project in-house, and the project has no separate legal existence.  

How we support high impact start-ups

Since 2004, Empowerment WORKS has provided nonprofit fiscal sponsorship (Model A) services to projects advancing our mission towards a thriving, socially just world.


In addition to saving projects time and money by sharing 501c3 related admin costs and management, Fiscal Sponsorship allows them to build track-records, infrastructure and a long-term support community.


On average, nonprofits spend 20% on administration.  EW accepts an admin fee of 5% of gross revenue (or 10% for foreign projects without a US representative) allowing 95% of donor funds to go directly to fiscally sponsored project needs.


In addition, EW fiscally sponsored projects become part of EW's multi-sector network of Partners in Empowerment, gaining access to 7 Stages to Sustainability (7SS) education, and other capacity building and outreach opportunities.


To learn more / see if Fiscal Sponsorship is right for you, we recommend reading the National Network of Fiscal Sponsorship's Guidelines for Comprehensive Fiscal Sponsorship as well as this PDF summary of "Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do it Right". To find a fiscal sponsor matching your initiative, see Fiscal Sponsorship Directory (including Empowerment WORKS).


For specifics on how Empowerment WORKS does it, see EW Fiscal Sponsorship Basic Guidelines here.


How to Become a Fiscally Sponsored Project of Empowerment WORKS:  *process takes about one month

  • FIRST,  send a brief email letter of interest with your project's purpose to melanie(at)empowermentworks(dot)org - to ensure the project is in alignment with Empowerment WORKS' values and advances its charitable tax-exempt mission.

  • SECOND, you'll be invited to complete a formal application (including immediate and long-term vision in 7 Stages to Sustainability) for case study / committee review.

  • THIRD: After any questions are answered and project is accepted, a one time set up fee of $275 is paid to EW & Fiscal Sponsorship program agreement is mutually-reviewed and signed by project director(s).

  • FOURTH:  Empowerment WORKS' Program Director covers remaining questions re. fiscal sponsorship terms, rights, fees and any other responsibilities of EW's Fiscal Sponsorship program and provided with online tools and official documentation. After this on-boarding meeting, sponsored projects are able to accept tax-deductible donations on-line and off as an official  "Project of 501c3 nonprofit, Empowerment WORKS".