Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Fiscal Sponsorship and Management

Starting and maintaining a nonprofit can be difficult and costly. Fiscal sponsorship and fiscal management are sustainable and cost-effective methods of advancing initiatives of social good through shared services.

Organizations that utilize Strong City as their fiscal sponsor are supported by a team of experts in the various areas of nonprofit management including finance, HR, administration, and compliance. Strong City has provided fiscal sponsorship for over 10 years, and currently manages more than $15 million in assets for over 130 projects, clients and programs aligned with its charitable mission.

Our program is not tied to our location. We can support organizations and initiatives, all over Maryland and across the country.

Jump to:
FAQs About Fiscal Sponsorship
Our Fiscal Sponsorship Program and How to Join
Our Fiscal Management Program and How to Join
Consulting and Other Business Services

FAQs About Fiscal Sponsorship

What is Fiscal Sponsorship?

Fiscal sponsorship comes in 7 different forms, and generally means:

A nonprofit organization (the “fiscal sponsor”) agrees to provide administrative services and oversight to, and assume some or all of the legal and financial responsibility for, the activities of groups or individuals engaged in work that relates to the fiscal sponsor’s mission.

Fiscal sponsorship is the most economical way to do nonprofit work because it utilizes economies of scale – providing shared administrative services to multiple charitable programs. This means many project share the cost of professional accounting, legal, HR, and insurance needed by every organization. It comprises about 1% of all nonprofit work, and is practiced all across the country, typically regionally, but not always.

So, What Does that Mean, Really?

Through our comprehensive model of fiscal sponsorship, unincorporated initiatives and projects can come under the Strong City umbrella so that they can operate as a non-profit without having to secure their own 501(c)(3) certification. This includes being able to accept donations, grants and other charitable funds, offer donation acknowledgements and receipts, and utilize tax-exempt status. Projects in this program receive basic accounting, operations, donor data management support.

This form of fiscal sponsorship places responsibility for fundraising and implementing programs in the hands of project leaders, while Strong City ensures appropriate financial oversight.

Why Would I Want My Project to Be Fiscally Sponsored, Rather Than Setting Up an Independent 501(C)(3)?

Fiscal sponsorship with Strong City removes barriers. We use our established resources and infrastructure to pave the way for other non-profit work. Projects pay a fee and give up some autonomy, but:

  • This frees up your time and energy to focus on the actual work you want to do.
  • This Means you have the capacity to be in the nonprofit sector without being swallowed up or pushed aside by the big players.
  • With our supportive system for projects to work in, you lower the risk of mismanaging your project.

How does Strong City choose who we fiscally sponsor or fiscally manage?

Because Strong City is legally and financially responsible for all of our projects and clients, all prospective applicants must go through an evaluation and vetting process to ensure we can support their work. Potential new projects and clients should also make sure Strong City is the right fiscal sponsor for them. Here is a list of suggested questions to ask from the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors.

Stage 1: Initial Inquiry – Introduce yourself and your initiative or organization to us using the form below.

Stage 2: Evaluation – We send you a set of tailored evaluation questions that will establish a clear picture of your initiative or organization. They will ask about your work’s inception, goals for the year, programming, staffing, fundraising plan and budget. Here is a set of example questions.

Stage 3: Informational Interview – Meet with a member of the staff to talk about your work, needs, support Strong City can offer, and if your project is a good fit for Strong City’s model of fiscal sponsorship.

Stage 4: Follow Up – A time to answer any lingering questions via email or phone.

Stage 5: Final Decision – We present your project to Strong City leadership for approval.

Stage 6: Signing and Orientation – If accepted, attend orientation, meet your Portfolio Manager, and sign paperwork!

What does Strong City look for when evaluating and vetting applicants?

  • The work is aligned with Strong City’s mission of strengthening neighborhoods and people.
  • Clearly articulated mission, vision, goals, needs, and programming.
  • An accurate budget and clear fundraising plan.
  • Responsive to both email and phone communications.
  • Willing to learn to use an online accounting systems and fundraising systems.
  • Willing to communicate with support staff regularly about incoming and outgoing revenue, accounting needs, grant applications, media coverage, and high-level programming.
  • The capacity to raise at least $5,000 in new revenue each year.
  • Awareness of what is going on in your issue area and the work of other initiatives and organizations in that area.
  • Working in an issue area or geographic area that Strong City or its fiscally sponsored clients are not currently heavily involved in.

Our Fiscal Sponsorship Program

By working within our supportive structure, project leaders learn best practices for running their nonprofit project that are applicable far beyond the scope of just the fiscally sponsored project. We help impart good business and management habits, and connect you with resources that help you learn even more.

Fiscally Sponsored Projects Get:

  • Access to our 501(c)(3) status, EIN number, and tax-exempt card
  • Donation management, acknowledgements, and receipts
  • Access to a powerful online fundraising platform
  • Accounts payable, receivable, and purchasing services
  • Audited financials (we do your taxes!)
  • General liability insurance
  • Meeting space
  • An Account Executive who serves as the support person on the inside
  • Payroll and benefits administration (extra fees apply)
  • Custom donation acknowledgment services (costs an extra $0.75 per letter)
  • Expert consultations and other business services at a discounted rate in such areas as fundraising, communications, and strategic planning

Fee Structure

Our fee is calculated based on the total funds deposited per fiscal year, with a minimum of $5,000 deposited each year:

  • $0 to $100,000 – 9% of funds deposited annually
  • $100,001 and above – a reduced rate on any funds over $100,000 based on service needs

Fee Changes Starting January 2019: Strong City will be increasing its administrative fee to 10% – in line with the national minimum fiscal sponsorship and management average. This change will go into effect on January 1, 2019 for all new fiscally sponsored projects and fiscally managed clients.

Learn more about our requirements and how to join our program.

Our Fiscal Management Program

Strong City also offers fiscal management to existing nonprofit organizations with independent 501(c)(3) status. Fiscally managed clients receive many of the same, essential back office support  services as fiscally sponsored projects, while maintaining an independent nonprofit organization. Through shared services, Strong City can provide high-quality accounting, bookkeeping, donor management, and donation acknowledgement services for less than the market rate. This frees up board members and staff to focus on the work of their organization.

Fiscally managed clients receive most of the same services as fiscally sponsored projects, including:

  • Donation management, acknowledgements, and receipts
  • Access to a powerful online fundraising platform
  • Accounts payable, receivable, and purchasing services
  • Our audited financials and 990 for grant applications
  • Meeting space
  • An Account Executive who serves as the support person on the inside
  • Payroll and benefits administration (extra fees apply)
  • Custom donation acknowledgment services (costs an extra $0.75 per letter)
  • Expert consultations and other business services at a discounted rate in such areas as fundraising, communications, and strategic planning

We can not provide the following due to fiscally managed clients being independent organizations:

  • Insurance
  • Access to our 501(c)(3) and EIN
  • Filing for your organization’s 990’s and state/federal tax compliance documentation
  • Tax-exempt cards

Fee Structure

Our fee is calculated based on the total funds deposited per fiscal year, with a minimum of $5,000 deposited each year:

  • $0 to $100,000 – 9% of funds deposited annually
  • $100,001 and above – a reduced rate on any funds over $100,000 based on service needs

Fee Changes Starting January 2019: Strong City will be increasing its administrative fee to 10% – in line with the national minimum fiscal sponsorship and management average. This change will go into effect on January 1, 2019 for all new fiscally sponsored projects and fiscally managed clients.

Learn more about our requirements and how to access our services.

Consulting and Other Business Services

Strong City staff can offer you expert consultation in a variety of nonprofit administrative and management areas. Whether you need just need some quick advice or to develop a multi-year plan, we can help you reach your goals. We can also offer assistance with human resources and payroll, emergency bookkeeping, and expert referrals.

These services are available to all organizations and individuals, regardless of if they have 501(c)(3) certification or incorporation. Fiscally sponsored projects and fiscally managed clients can take advantage of these services at a discounted rate.

Learn more about Consulting and Other Business Services

Questions? Contact Us