[Noisebridge-board] fiscal sponsorship

Danny O'Brien danny at spesh.com
Thu Aug 1 03:59:02 UTC 2013

On Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 11:19 AM, rachel lyra hospodar
<rachelyra at gmail.com> wrote:
> I have had connections with IAM for many years, and have longstanding
> connection with their 'leader', who incidentally is the guy who I talked
> into taking on sponsorship of that LED project.

So I think the most realistic position here is that I personally am
really not in the position right now to commit to doing anything much
beyond trying to automate what treasury business we have. My lack of
replyage in this thread is a bit of a giveaway for that, too. The
conclusion I came to with Sudo Room was that (partly because of that)
it wasn't a good fit to umbrella other groups in.

I'm still up for an informal drink and chat about this though -- would
you want to come over to Liz and ours?


> I've run a small business or four, launched dozens of collaborative
> projects, and admittedly haven't spent a lot of time going down the
> nonprofit route, although each time I have done lots of reading, learning,
> even attending workshops around business structures etc. My personal feeling
> as an artist and organizer is that i'd like to make a profit, and I don't
> usually take in enough money to need big tax breaks.
> This particular project, oaktown hall, is being bootstrapped in such an
> intrinsically anarchic and doocratic fashion that it seems like a good
> culture fit with noisebridge.  The folks involved feel this way too. Overall
> it would be a very different thing to seek a relationship with an
> organization that had leaders, as well as more structure and infrastructure.
> Nobody wants anyone to take on work they don't want to do.  Danny did offer
> to meet with me... I don't even want to waste his time that far if folks
> don't think the relationship is a good idea.
> One of the reasons I got involved in the noisetor planning when that was
> launching was to try and make sure there weren't any surprises later due to
> the intricacies of fiscal sponsorship. It was probably more annoying to
> folks than anything else to have me involved, since I wasn't doing the work
> on the project myself, but ultimately I felt like I was able to contribute
> to building a smooth process.
> I am willing to do that again, with more actual involvement on my part since
> i'd be bottomlining the project. I am aware that creating a new financial
> hiccup would automatically impact the treasurer. I am interested in working
> together with them to make sure this is at an acceptable level.
> Thanks for sharing your research liz!
> R.
> On Jul 30, 2013 11:02 AM, "Liz Henry" <lizhenry at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Aside from whether we *should* do this...
>> Whoever actually does the work for this will need to read up on what it
>> takes and what kind s of extra reporting should happen (both to Noisebridge
>> and from Noisebridge).  I don't know what we currently do for Noisetor or
>> whether we take a percentage of their donations.
>> *
>> http://www.tides.org/fileadmin/user/NNFS/NNFS-Fiscal-Sponsorship-Guidelines-for-Comprehensive.pdf
>> * http://www.councilofnonprofits.org/fiscal-sponsorship-resources
>> *
>> http://www.tides.org/fileadmin/user/NNFS/NNFS-Fiscal-Sponsorship-Guidelines-for-Comprehensive.pdf
>> It is a bunch of extra work.  Is anyone stepping up to do that work?  If
>> not then we should not load it onto the treasurer job and just expect it to
>> happen.
>> School Factory seems to be an organization specifically to be the fiscal
>> sponsor for other hackerspaces and projects. They take 10% of donations,
>> which as I understand it is rather high for the non-profit fiscal sponsoring
>> world. They pay out around 45K in salaries and they spend money on
>> accountants, promotion, travel, and so on.  I had been looking into how they
>> do things a while back. For example they have a quarterly process that looks
>> like this (at least when they have staff for it... I think this person quit.
>> )   https://atrium.schoolfactory.org/spacefed/node/108300      You can also
>> take a look at their Form 990 from last year:
>> https://atrium.schoolfactory.org/sites/atrium.schoolfactory.org/files/school_factory_-_990_-_2012.pdf
>> My point here is that they do (and pay for ) a really significant amount of
>> work to maintain this sort of thing.  And I am not actually assured they are
>> doing it right and ethically, even so.
>> Rachel what about Independent Arts and Media for your fiscal sponsor?
>> Have you checked them out?
>> - Liz
>> On Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 10:33 AM, rachel lyra hospodar
>> <rachelyra at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On rereading I think it might be also helpful to spell out that 'fiscal
>>> sponsorship' is a term of art for nonprofit accounting that does not mean
>>> 'giving money to' but rather can mean a lot of different types of
>>> relationships where a project is in some way brought under the legal
>>> umbrella of the parent org.
>>> R.
>>> On Jul 30, 2013 10:31 AM, "rachel lyra hospodar" <rachelyra at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Perhaps I haven't been clear about my goals or intent. Some folks I know
>>>> are doing a project to raise funds. They plan to raise those funds,
>>>> themselves, crowdsource. We are seeking to extract if anything, previously
>>>> executed administrative labor from noisebridge (ie nonprofit status), and in
>>>> return wish to share a percentage of the money they raise with NB. I am
>>>> volunteering to bridge the admin gap with labor, and expect to need danny
>>>> (our current treasurer right?) to need to do some extra work as well. The
>>>> only way noisebridge would be financially involved would be to handle
>>>> *additional* money raised in another community, and take 5%. At this point
>>>> 'handle the money' means not in an ongoing fashion, but for one finite
>>>> crowdsource campaign, where as I understand it basically NB would receive a
>>>> lump sum (raised exclusively by this project), one time, and then give most
>>>> of it back to the OTH project, keeping 5%.
>>>> Does NB fiscally sponsor any projects? Is a big question.
>>>> This may not be the project to answer it with, but I guess I am more
>>>> generally curious about this since I understood it to be part of the
>>>> mission.
>>>> I remember talking someone out of seeking fiscal sponsorship for his LED
>>>> project a year or so ago, because he needed a bunch of help and also had a
>>>> relationship with another org that was more used to doing this. Tom was
>>>> involved in this discussion, and it was on the mailing list and in a
>>>> meeting. It would have been way faster to just tell him no, instead of
>>>> spending a bunch of time talking the guy from that other org into
>>>> restructuring the relationship with LED guy so his org did all the work,
>>>> instead of us.
>>>> If we simply don't do fiscal sponsorship that's way easier! But again, I
>>>> have thought that this is a thing we do for some time. Not often, but
>>>> possible. Only for certain types of projects? Ie technical infrastructure
>>>> that fits under the roof and has 4 members to bottomline it? Projects where
>>>> core membership trusts the bottomline folks to actually execute?
>>>> R.
>>>> On Jul 30, 2013 3:54 AM, "Andy Isaacson" <adi at hexapodia.org> wrote:
>>>>> On Sun, Jul 28, 2013 at 09:57:09AM -0700, rachel lyra hospodar wrote:
>>>>> > I realize that a lot of my reasoning relates to, why this idea, why
>>>>> > right
>>>>> > now, and I realize the general objection is broader than that. I
>>>>> > support
>>>>> > the idea of noisebridge fiscally sponsoring projects beyond what can
>>>>> > physically fit under its roof. One of the reasons I pushed for
>>>>> > creating
>>>>> > structure with the tor project was so folks could springboard on what
>>>>> > was
>>>>> > already done to reuse it at other times for other projects. Perhaps
>>>>> > if that
>>>>> > capability/structure exists for sponsoring certain kinds of projects,
>>>>> > let's
>>>>> > spell out what kinds.
>>>>> I strongly opposed using noisetor as a vehicle for "cracking open the
>>>>> nut" of "how to extract money from noisebridge", and I still do.  It is
>>>>> hard to get Noisebridge to spend money.  This is a feature.  Please do
>>>>> not try to build ways for people to more easily extract money from
>>>>> Noisebridge.
>>>>> -andy
>>> _______________________________________________
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>> --
>> .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
>> Liz Henry
>> lhenry at mozilla.com
>> lizhenry at gmail.com
>> _______________________________________________
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>> https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/board

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