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The Southern Documentary Fund (SDF) offers Fiscal Sponsorship for media projects that are consistent with SDF's goals and purposes, as stated in our mission statement. In the simplest terms, "Fiscal Sponsorship" is when an organization that has received nonprofit status from the IRS accepts responsibility for receiving funds for another entity to support activities in support of its mission.

Fiscal Sponsorship is important if your documentary project can only secure funding from foundation, government or corporate sources if it has nonprofit status under a current 501(c)(3) certificate from the IRS. Having a fiscal sponsor allows an individual to solicit funds from government, foundation, individual and other philanthropic sources that require IRS nonprofit status to provide donations to the project. These donations are then also tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Instead of attempting to secure nonprofit status for your project or production company (a lengthy, involved, and costly process), you may contract with a fiscal sponsor to be the nonprofit entity managing funds from your donors. As a fiscal sponsor, SDF collects all funds for a project, disburses the funds as necessary, and provides screening opportunities, website space, and fiscal consultation to sponsored projects.

SDF charges an administrative fee for any monies granted through our Fiscal Sponsorship program. This 5-7% fee covers the cost of our management of donations to your project (including costs associated with bookkeeping, check distribution, fiscal reporting to funders, web site space, and on-going technical assistance).

Sponsorship Benefits

If you hope to apply for grants or corporate contributions requiring nonprofit status, or if you'd like to receive funds from patrons wishing to write off their donations on their taxes, Fiscal Sponsorship may be right for your project.


You must be working on a documentary project consistent with the SDF mission and seeking donations in the form of grants from public agencies, foundations, corporations, or individual donors.

Project Approval

If SDF approves your project, we will act as a nonprofit umbrella organization that is fiscally sponsoring your project. As a result, you can receive contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies. It does not mean that we are your producers, fundraisers, or in any way controlling the content of your project.

See our info for project directors page for more details.