[Noisebridge-board] fiscal sponsorship

Liz Henry lizhenry at gmail.com
Tue Jul 30 18:02:45 UTC 2013

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.councilofnonprofits.org/fiscal-sponsorship-resources

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

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:
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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