October 11, 2010 · IGG

San Francisco Film Society Fiscal Sponsorship for Filmmakers



Last week we talked about one of our fiscal sponsorship partners, Fractured Atlas. Today we want to highlight our other partner in fiscal sponsorship, the San Francisco Film Society.

When we say "fiscal sponsorship," we mean getting your project affiliated with these larger organizations so you can take advantage of the benefits of their 501(c)(3) status — so you don't have to go through the long, costly, agonizing process of obtaining that status for yourself. This process is especially difficult for filmmakers working on one-off projects on a timeline. So last year we partnered with SFFS to make it easier for independent filmmakers raising funds on IndieGoGo to have access to this 501(c)(3) tax exempt status for their film projects.

When you have 501(c)(3) status you're able to eek out more donations from people and orginzations that ONLY give — and there are a lot of them — to charities with IRS tax-exempt status. So this way, when people donate to you, they also get that coveted write-off.

If you're a filmmaker interested in the benefits of tax exempt status via our partnership with the San Francisco Film Society, read our FAQs (pasted, for your convenience, below), or check out the IndieoGo information page on the SFFS website.

A few things covered in the FAQs but that are important to highlight: you DO NOT need to be a San Francisco-based filmmaker to take advantage of this partnership. You can live anywhere in the world. But you do need to join the SFFS and pay a $40 one-time application fee, and be prepared to wait 4-5 weeks for your application to be reviewed and processed. Keep in mind you'll be paying a combined 7% processing fee on all funds raised.

But here's the deal: the extra steps involved here are much less complicated than attempting to get 501(c)(3) status on your own, and in the end, we hope, will allow your project to raise a higher dollar amount than if you were doing this without tax exempt status. (And — did we mention you get the coveted San Francisco Film Society badge on your project page? Can't hurt!)

Questions? Leave them in the comments below or contact us for more information.

Do I need to be a Film Society member to apply for fiscal sponsorship?
Yes, you must be a member at the Filmmaker Pro level or higher.
Is there a fee to apply for fiscal sponsorship?
There is a $40 application fee due to SFFS with your application.
Are there any fees once I am approved?
SFFS and IndieGoGo charges a combined 7% processing fee on funds raised online. Projects are also responsible for 3rd-party payment processing and disbursement fees.
If my application needs work, will you help me?
Yes! The fiscal sponsorship manager reviews all proposals and provides a detailed critique on all aspects of the submitted package.
Can I apply for fiscal sponsorship with the Film Society no matter where I live?
Yes. Our program is national. You can live anywhere, even in another country. As long as one of your project's named project directors has a Social Security number, EIN (employer identification number) or ITIN (independent taxpayer identification number) or other type of IRS registration.
How do I apply?
Go to SFFS Filmmaker Services and:
  * complete the online Application form.
  * be enrolled as a Film Society Filmmaker Pro member. Join online.
  * pay the $40 application fee. Pay online.
Can I still apply for fiscal sponsorship with the Film Society if I am not a US citizen?
Yes. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to apply for fiscal sponsorship with SFFS. However, at least one of your project's named project directors will need to have a social security number, EIN (employer identification number), ITIN (independent taxpayer identification number), or other type of IRS registration.
How long does the process take?
The first stage of the review process usually takes 5-6 weeks. If your proposal requires changes, the process can take much longer.
How do donors receive a tax deductible letter?

Upon contribution, donors will receive a confirmation email summarizing their donation amount and perk selection (if applicable). The email will be written in accordance with IRS regulations and serve as the donor's record that a tax-deductible donation was received.