[Noisebridge-discuss] Consensus Proposal: Fiscal Sponsorship Policy

John Shutt john.d.shutt at gmail.com
Tue Sep 6 23:43:01 UTC 2016

Hey Discuss,

I’ve put together a consensus proposal for how Noisebridge could handle fiscal sponsorship of non-profit projects by community members. Right now the only project in that category is Noisetor, and I’ve tried to integrate some of the lessons from that into the proposal.

This draft has been shared on Slack for a few weeks, as well as the last weekly meeting, but if you have any comments before I introduce this tonight I’d like to hear them!

https://noisebridge.sandcats.io/shared/OoRFmfyb0O8ZIfufXEajoR7ecV14rQBcTyGQhY4yqYZ <https://noisebridge.sandcats.io/shared/OoRFmfyb0O8ZIfufXEajoR7ecV14rQBcTyGQhY4yqYZ>

The current draft:

Noisebridge can serve as a fiscal sponsor for projects led by members of the Noisebridge community, accepting grant money and donations to our bank account and passing it along to the leaders of the projects, who will not be considered employees of Noisebridge.

All projects must be led by people who contribute or have contributed to the Noisebridge community in a meaningful way.

Projects must be in line with Noisebridge’s mission to promote and encourage technical, scientific, and artistic skills through individual projects, social collaboration, and education.

Projects that have a military purpose or police purpose, or intend to seek funding from any branch of the military or police, will not be accepted.

Project leaders must be comfortable with the Noisebridge community knowing how much money their project has on hand, since it will be read out at weekly meetings during the treasurer’s report.

We should subject project proposals to rigorous controls and close scrutiny, similar to membership applications. Every project proposed for fiscal sponsorship must be submitted for full Capital-C Consensus, and any member can block consensus without needing to propose an alternative.

New projects are expected to have specific time limits on the length of their fiscal sponsorship, such as six months to a year, at which point project managers must get consensus to extend fiscal sponsorship. Projects such as Noisetor which have been found to be successful over long periods may seek indefinite fiscal sponsorship.

Projects that violate Noisebridge's mission, accept military or police funding, spend money directly on political campaigns, operate as a for-profit enterprise, embezzle funds, or otherwise threaten Noisebridge's 501(c)(3) status will have their fiscal sponsorship automatically revoked.

The administrative fee charged by Noisebridge for acting as a fiscal sponsor will be 5% of all money raised through donations and grants, the same rate charged to Noisetor, the first and so far only outside project fiscally sponsored by Noisebridge. This is the low end of what nonprofits charge for fiscal sponsorship and is intended to cover extra overhead costs Noisebridge is taking on.

Noisebridge does not have any paid staff and does not intend to hire any. We may, however, need to pay for additional legal and accounting services from contractors, which should be covered by the 5% administrative fee. Recipients of grant money and donations through fiscal sponsorship may be legally considered contractors of Noisebridge, depending on the amount of money raised and how it is used.

Any money left over from the 5% administrative fee after paying for legal and accounting services will go into Noisebridge’s general fund.

John Shutt
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