Fiscal Sponsorship

Fiscal Sponsorship allows your non-commercial project to apply for funding from organizations that require non-profit status. Non-profit tax-exempt status is required by many foundations, corporations and government agencies in order to be eligible for funding since many do not accept application proposals from individuals. 501(c)(3) status also allows you to receive charitable deductible contributions from individual; which is a big incentive for individuals considering making a donation to your project.

To be eligible for fiscal sponsorship you must be a Cincinnati Film Society Filmmakers in Motion Member. Things to note that we consider when submitting for fiscal sponsorship is the quality of project and success of completion. If of approved, the filmmaker can use Cincinnati Film Society’s 501(c)(3) status as an “umbrella” when applying to government granting agencies and foundations that will only grant funds to non-profit organizations. Fiscally sponsored projects can also solicit tax-deductible donations from private individuals and businesses.

As your fiscal sponsor Cincinnati Film Society (CFS) acts as a non-profit tax-exempt umbrella organization that accepts, and administers contributions made to your project. CFS is legally responsible for the funds received on behalf of fiscally sponsored projects, and are required to assure that funds are used for charitable activities, as agreed upon between the donor and recipient, and that the donor reporting requirements are met and in a timely fashion. It does not mean that we are your producers, fundraisers, or in any way connected to the content or actual production of your project. All artistic and proprietary rights, title, interest in and to the completed project will belong to the Project Director, and may be copyrighted in Project Director’s name.

Fiscal sponsorship does not provide grants or do research for individual project funding; however your film will be listed under Project Listings on CFS’ website offering your donors the option of making online donations.

Fiscal sponsorship is not appropriate for all projects. In order to qualify, the projects must be noncommercial in nature and the filmmaker may not also raise funds by soliciting investors.

When Applying

Your proposal for the film should be clear and concise. In addition, your goals for the project (particularly its Distribution phase) should be clear and realistic. Have a plan for fundraising or distribution strategies for the film. Our Review Committee looks at submitted proposals with the understanding they will soon be presented to funders.

When submitting sample work it should reflect your work as an independent filmmaker. Do not submit a director’s reel of work you have done for corporations or commercial television. The purpose of the Work Sample is to show our Review Committee how you visually and cinematically handle material, as well as demonstrate your technical skill.

Project must be film, video,or multimedia. We do not fiscally sponsor film festivals or film related events.

Project Administrator must have U.S. Social Security or Production Company with U.S. Federal  I.D. Number

Resource Library- you will be given information to help with raising funds. Articles, and sample proposals on fundraising, production, marketing, and distribution.

Review Criteria

Likelihood of Project Completion: Does the proposed project have a very high likelihood of being successfully completed?  

Strength of Storytelling: Is the overall quality of the proposal and treatment of the film clearly defined.  

Budget: Is the budget well developed and realistic for the project? Does the proposal budget match the needs of the project and appropriate?

Fundraising Ability: Are funds already secured or likely to be secured? Has the project director identified appropriate sources of funding for the project? Are the potential funders appropriate for the project? Why does this project need fiscal sponsorship?  

Key Project Personnel: Does the applicant and the proposed personnel have the ability to successfully complete the proposed project?  

How it Works

Several indie commercial movies begin as non-profit projects. After getting donations and/or grants, you can get investors; however once the project has investors you may not continue to fundraise for nonprofit grants and donations. Should you be sponsored by CFS and then get an investor on board, you will need to close your account; according to the IRS, at that point you are no longer considered a non-profit entity.

Contributions to your project are made payable to Cincinnati Film Society and mailed to us (CFS). We deposit the contributions in our bank account until the Project Administrator requests them.

Fund requests are disbursed as checks, and made out to the Project Administrator’s name or the production company’s name. Checks are disbursed to one name only. You are responsible for your project expenses. You must maintain your own bookkeeping records, and report to CFS how the funds were spent by submitting copies of receipts, invoices, cancelled checks or similar documentation.

Administrative Fee is 10% of raised funds.  


  • The applicant (Project Director) must be 18 years of age or older.
  • The applicant must be a current CFS’s Filmmaker in Motion Member.
  • The project must not be able to be construed as propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, or supporting the participation in, or intervention in (including the publication or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.
  • The applicant must be a producer and/or director of the submitted work.
  • The project may be in any stage of development, production and or post production.


  • Project Title (Final or Working Title)


  • Applicant’s (Project Director) First Name Last Name


  • Applicant’s primary role on this project

    Producer     Director     Producer/Director     Co-Producer     Co-Director            


  • Email (Provide a primary email to receive communication about your application here. Must be an address you check regularly.)


  • Address


  • Phone Number


  • Logline – Provide a 1 to 2 sentence descriptive summary of the overall story you plan to tell. (The logline should capture the essence of the story with the intention of making the reader want to read and see more.)


  • Total project budget in US dollars


  • Amount of funding to date in US dollars


  • List funding sources and amounts provided to date. Use separate line for each source and separate the source name and amount with a comma (example – Pacific Pioneer Fund, $3,000)


  • Current Stage of Production

    Development     Pre-Production     Production     Post Production     Distribution/Outreach       


  • II. Budget – upload your budget in pdf format. *


  • III.. Letters of Support or Supplemental Material. (optional)


  • IV. Sample Work – provide the URL to view your sample work.


  • Sample work password (If your sample work requires a password to view, provide it here. Vimeo passwords are case sensitive.)


Statements of Agreement

  • The enclosed application (“Application”) and all of the information submitted in connection therewith to the Cincinnati Film Society (CFS) is accurate; *

I agree

  • I own or control all of the Materials and all right title and interest including copyright of the film or project described in the Application (the “Project”). *

I agree

  • The Project and the Material are wholly original and do not infringe upon, violate the rights or constitute a libel, slander, or an unfair competition against, or infringe upon or violate the copyright, common law rights, or literary, dramatic, photoplay rights or privacy or publicity, or any other rights of the person, firm, corporation or other entity. *

I agree

  • I have read and understand the guidelines and eligibility requirements, and to the best of my knowledge am eligible to apply to CFS’s Fiscal Sponsorship Program with the Project described in the Application. *




Submit Form to proceed to payment options and complete your application.