Fiscal Sponsorship FAQ
What is the difference between corporate sponsorship and fiscal sponsorship?
Corporate support usually consists of goods or money given directly to the project. Often the Corporation expects something in return for this donation, like advertising or the use of the project for publicity purposes. Fiscal sponsorship allows artists to gain access to funding opportunities that are only available to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations.
Does SWAMP‘s fiscal sponsorship provide direct funding?
No, but it allows you to apply for grants that require a non-profit status.
What types of projects are eligible for fiscal sponsorship through SWAMP?
We accept all types of film projects. That includes documentary, feature film, short, web series, fiction or non-fiction as well as film festivals. It can be at any stage of production including completed (since you may need post production and distribution).
Is there a minimum fundraising goal for fiscally sponsored projects?
Yes, We require all projects we accept into fiscal sponsorship to have at least a $5,000 fundraising goal.
What is the cost of fiscal sponsorship?
There is a $50 application fee which is tax deductible and includes a one year SWAMP Filmmaker Individual Membership. All funds donated are distributed less a 7.5% administrative fee (also there is an additional 1% fee for all transactions made from outside the U.S.). These fees covers our legal, administrative, and accounting costs.
Does SWAMP work with crowdfunding platforms?
Not at this time.
How do I apply?
Is there an application deadline or application window?
Yes. There are several deadlines every year: March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1. Applications should be submitted at least seven – ten days before these dates.
How long does it take to process my application?
Applications are reviewed by the Sponsored Project Committee every quarter and applicants will be notified two – three days following those dates if their project has been selected.
Can I get my project reviewed faster?
No, not at this time.
Who reviews my application?
The application for fiscal sponsorship goes to the SWAMP Fiscal Sponsorship Review Committee.
What criteria do you use in whether or not you accept a project to fiscally sponsor?
Many factors go into our decision. The most important is whether the project fits our mission. Also, what is likelihood the project will get made.
How many projects are approved?
Over 95% of the projects are approved.
Can I reapply if not accepted?
Yes, SWAMP will discuss with anyone how to improve their project’s likelihood of getting made. We will also help them complete their application if there are any questions so that it can be considered for approval for fiscal sponsorship.
When do the donated funds become available?
Your funds are available 10 days from receipt. Checks are sent out every two weeks.
Can I start accepting donations and applying for grants through SWAMP while I am waiting for my fiscal sponsorship application to be approved?
You must wait until we’ve signed an agreement to be your fiscal sponsor. Until then, your project is not sponsored by SWAMP and can’t solicit donations or grants on your behalf.
Will SWAMP pay specific expenses for the production?
Yes. All donated funds are distributed through SWAMP when the project director submits invoices from vendors for disbursement.
Does fiscal sponsorship allow the project to be absolved from tax reporting?
No, projects that raise funds through SWAMP are responsible to report all the income to the federal government and pay taxes accordingly. Funds received through a fiscal sponsorship are considered income and are potentially subject to taxes. All payments made to individuals must be reported by SWAMP to the IRS on a 1099 form. Payments made to Corporations will not be reported on a 1099 form.
Can people donate food, goods, and services other than money?
Yes, we accept non-cash donations of tangible items. We will give the donor a letter of thanks and a receipt noting the items donated. Just send us a list or description of the donation, amount, and where to send the letter.
Any kind of item can be donated. We can accept almost any type of donated noncash item for the purposes of a project and issue a receipt to the donor for the item. However, we cannot, however, issue a donation letter for any large items such as boats, cars, or jets at this time.
Donations of intangible services such as legal services or rent free office space are very valuable but are not tax deductible under the law. For that reason, we can’t issue a receipt for those types of donations.
Do you accept stocks and bonds as donations?
No, not at this time.
Do I have donors make the check to SWAMP or my production?
All checks must be made out to Southwest Alternate Media Project, Inc. Otherwise, we will not be able to give them the tax deduction (or deposit the check!). Have the donor put the name of the production in the memo section of the check.
Can you accept donations by credit card?
SWAMP accepts VISA, MasterCard and Discover credit cards and wire transfers.
Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply?
You do not need to be a U.S. citizen for SWAMP to be your fiscal sponsor. 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.
Please also be aware that funds released to Non US residents may be subject to mandatory withholding by the US Government. Please contact us before you apply to discuss your situation.
Does using SWAMP as a fiscal sponsor give them any creative control or rights on the project?
As your fiscal sponsor, SWAMP will not interfere with the intellectual property rights to the film or lay any claim to them. However, we’d love you to put our logo on all printed and online materials while we are your fiscal sponsor as well as in the film’s end credits. If you want to invite us to the world premier or Oscar ceremony, that would be nice. We will get our own limo.
What does SWAMP do with the fees they receive from the donations?
Besides covering costs and administrative expenses, SWAMP offers scholarships to our professional development workshops and the Business of Film Conference to filmmakers who are economically disadvantaged.
Can I have more than one fiscal sponsor?
Maybe. SWAMP generally doesn’t allow its fiscally sponsored projects to have additional fiscal sponsors, however, the sponsored project may seek a fiscal sponsor in a state other than Texas.