Before starting BINJ, we were just a group of media makers focused on doing journalism. The thought of actually starting a 501(C)3 organization on our own was daunting, and more or less not possible considering our time and financial restraints at the moment.

In asking around, we learned that the most feasible option for us to get up and running with BINJ was to get a fiscal sponsorship. Here's how the relationship is explained by the Council of Nonprofits:

  • Using a fiscal sponsorship arrangement offers a way for a cause to attract donors even when it is not yet recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). In essence the fiscal sponsor serves as the administrative "home" of the cause. Charitable contributions are given to the fiscal sponsor, which then grants them to support the cause. Learn about fiscal sponsorship in this short video (NEO Law Group).

We decided to go with the Transformative Culture Project (TCP), which at the time was known as Press Pass TV. It was a natural relationship, since some of our team members had been volunteering with the youth media nonprofit already, and since we hoped for BINJ to help develop young voices as well. Joining their Innovators in Residence program, we were able to begin accepting donations almost immediately, and hit the ground running with reporting that needed to be done.

There are countless tutorials and videos about fiscal sponsorships online, but if you're looking for one in your backyard they may be closer than you think. A lot of nonprofits are always looking to help kickstart new ideas in the community, and a media partner is ideal for any organization that wants help getting the word out about their charity (which is all of them). Potential fiscal sponsors include:

  • Community Access TV Stations
  • Hospitals
  • Community Centers
  • Community Media Programs
  • Youth Media Organizations
  • Churches
  • Advocacy Groups