Sponsorship & Funding

What is Fiscal Sponsorship?

Fiscal Sponsorship is a fundraising tool that provides an alternative to establishing your own 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation in order to access funding for your non-commercial project from various grant-making organizations that require nonprofit status from its applicants. The funding, when received, is given to this nonprofit, tax-exempt umbrella organization. This organization, acting as the filmmaker’s fiscal sponsor, administers and accounts for funding on behalf of the filmmaker and his or her project.


The fiscal sponsor is legally responsible for the funds received on behalf of sponsored projects. It must insure that the funds are used for the activities/work agreed upon by the donor and the recipient, and that the donor reporting requirements are met in a timely fashion.


While fiscal sponsorship can save you from the long and arduous process of becoming a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organization and broadens your funding options, it is important to note that fiscal sponsors do not provide funding themselves, and do not research and apply for grants on behalf of a project or filmmaker.

What Fiscal Sponsorship is NOT

Fiscal sponsorship is NOT a cash grant. It is a tool for helping secure funding, the burden of which still remains with the individual filmmaker.

Why Should I Choose NOVAC as a Fiscal Sponsor?

  • NOVAC has been supporting the work of local, independent filmmakers for 40 years.
  • We are not interested in creative control of your project; we are interested in supporting you getting funding for your vision.
  • We have a straightforward review process, with rolling deadlines and quarterly approval reviews.
  • There is a low application fee of $40, once you’re a NOVAC member.
  • We create easy pathways for individuals and grant-makers to make donations to your project.
  • NOVAC fiscal sponsor projects receive strategic guidance on fundraising, production, distribution and outreach for your project, from NOVAC staff and networked professionals as necessary.
  • NOVAC fiscal sponsor projects join a roster of locally-produced projects that include Land of Opportunity, If the Children are OK, Shell Shocked, Eat to the Beat, Uniquely Clarence, Least Favorite Love Songs, The Goodnight Show and Battlefield: Home.

How exactly does fiscal sponsorship with NOVAC work?

You apply for fiscal sponsorship, and NOVAC staff and board review your project proposal; if you are accepted, we will sign a project agreement and NOVAC will provide you with a letter of support and all the relevant financial documents you will need for grant applications. Once your NOVAC-sponsored project has been awarded a grant or receives a contribution, the funds are distributed and mailed to NOVAC. We then deposit the funds in our tax-exempt bank account. Within the next 15 days, a check is written to the Project Director or the production company.

Am I eligible?

In order to be eligible to apply to NOVAC’s Fiscal Sponsorship Program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your project must be a film, video or multimedia project.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen with a Social Security number or have a production company with a U.S. Federal ID number.
  • You cannot be a full-time student.
  • The project proposal must reflect your ability to develop a high quality project.
  • You must be a current NOVAC member. 


We will review your application using the following criteria:

  • We have a special affinity for local productions, so priority will be given to projects based in Louisiana, with a Louisiana/Gulf South focus, and with Louisiana-based crew.
  • Is the subject matter relevant to the mission of NOVAC, as presented above?
  • Is the proposal engaging and clearly written?
  • Does the project present a realistic budget?
  • Is the apparent fundraising ability of the project director adequate? Does he or she identify appropriate potential sources of funding for the project?
  • Are the key project personnel sufficiently experienced, and how feasible is the completion of the project?
  • Is there potential for distribution of the final project?

Is there a fee?

Fiscal sponsor applicants must be NOVAC Filmmaker Access members in good standing (Filmmaker Access memberships are $75/year). At the point of application, there is a $40 fee. Upon receipt of grant or donation funds, NOVAC will charge a service commission of 6% of all funds made payable to “NOVAC.”

How do I apply?

Download an information and application packet here, and email the application proposal to Biliana Grozdanova, NOVAC Director of Programs, or mail or bring it by to our offices, 532 Louisa Street, New Orleans, LA 70117.

When are the deadlines?

NOVAC accepts fiscal sponsorship proposals on a rolling basis. You may submit your project for review at any time. Please keep in mind NOVAC makes fiscal sponsorship decisions quarterly.

Do I need to report my fiscal sponsorship income to the IRS?

Yes! We strongly advise everyone to consult a tax professional after your acceptance into the Fiscal Sponsorship program. You are responsible for reporting all income, including money received through fiscal sponsorship, to the IRS. If you are eligible for one you will receive a 1099 from us at the end of each fiscal year that you accept funds through our program. If you have been diligently keeping track of the money received and spent on project related expenses, you ideally shouldn’t owe any taxes on the money we send you, except for what you will owe on your project related salary.However, we can not guarantee that you will have no tax liability. You must speak to your own tax advisor to discuss your personal circumstances. Please consult a tax professional for any specific tax questions. We’ll do our best to offer general guidance, but our staff is not qualified, nor permitted, to answer any specific tax related questions.

Become a Member


We’re a membership-based organization, which means we exist to serve our diverse community of filmmakers, film students, film workers and film lovers. We’re proud of the work our members do, and work to provide the best and brightest in technology, talent and expertise year-round, so that our local filmmaking community continues to thrive and grow.


NOVAC memberships start at $50. Join us today, so you, too, can get some.