Social Venture Lab: Fiscal Sponsorship and Lab Services

Whether you have a new idea for social innovation, or seek a partner that can mentor and support you, our Social Venture Lab provides start-up and fiscal sponsorship services so you can make a BIG impact, but focus on your cause and programs rather than business administration. We can provide you with a tax-exempt home for donors and grants, eliminate the work and related issues to establish a Board of Directors,  and support some of your business/administrative work like accounting, payroll collection, and in some cases, event insurance.  We offer:

  • Fiscal sponsorship for a tax-exempt home for donors and grants
  • Project mentoring
  • Grant writing services
  • Back-office support
  • HR, payroll & benefits support


Fiscal sponsors generally receive a percentage of project revenues. Our fee is 7% for fiscal sponsorship.  If you request Lab Services in addition to fiscal sponsorship, the admin fee is 12% for projects with budgets under $24,000 and 10% for projects over $24,000.  For projects requesting lab services, we require a minimum payment of $1,000, which will be credited toward your admin fee. This fee can be distributed across monthly payments.  If you renew continuously in subsequent, years – with no interruption – a minimum of $500/year will apply, also applied towards your admin fee.

Sponsorship Model C: Pre Approved Grant Projects more info
Project assets and liabilities owned by the grantee; grantee is responsible for its own programs and operations including tax and filing obligations.

Benefits: Take Advantage of Nonprofit Discounts To
Do More Good Work

Our framework can increase funder confidence because we provide oversight and support. Leveraging our nonprofit status also provides discounts that keep your project overhead low.

Fees Cover


On Your Own

Liability and worker’s compensation insurance Event insurance may be included for some projects Est. $600-$1500
Lab Services: Bookkeeping, bill paying, registration and fee billing/collection If Lab Services are requested, they are included in our admin fee Hire employee, oversee and/or do yourself
Donor and grant administration Included in fiscal sponsorship File for 501c3, create Board of Directors and create donor acknowledgement process
Leverage nonprofit facility rental rates Some free-$40 per hour Average $60-$90 per hour
Leverage nonprofit subscriptions and domain: Web site (WordPress), groups and storage drive (Google Nonprofit), phone line extension (Ring Central), email and newsletter service (Mailchimp), video creator (Animoto) Included 15-50% off commercial rates Subscribe to services at commercial rates
Business workshops Subsidized 50% for sponsored projects. Attend at a la carte, general community rates



  1. Who do you work with?

We work with early-stage nonprofit projects and their founders who are seeking expertise resources, connections, access and friends.  We also work with philanthropists, donors and foundations who are dedicated to supporting innovation.

2. What is a Fiscal Sponsor?

NNFS_logoFiscal sponsors are nonprofits that advance the public benefit by facilitating the development and growth of charitable, mission-driven activities. According to the directory for these organizations, 247+ fiscal sponsors operate in the United States, most of them supporting the arts. Film and video projects are a major subcategory, with education next with 146 projects, followed closely by youth development at 137, and children, youth and families at 125, a snug third. Tarbuton conforms with the guidelines of the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors. Fiscal sponsorship allows projects to solicit and receive tax deductible donations from individuals and gifts from foundations without having to create a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.  The Tarbuton is a 501(c)(3) and an independent not-for-profit organization.

3. What kinds of projects do you sponsor?

We sponsor events, short-term, and long-term projects for individuals and organizations.  As a fiscal sponsor, the Tarbuton serves as a non-profit tax-exempt umbrella organization that accepts and administers contributions made to select projects.

4. What issues do you sponsor?

We sponsor anything that conforms to the Tarbuton mission and benefits the public. While Tarbuton has a soft spot for Israeli and Jewish projects that benefit the community through arts and culture, any projects defined as Jewish outreach, Jewish or Israeli community engagement, building Jewish identity and/or advancing Jewish values will generally be aligned. In particular we like to sponsor: Arts and culture, education, after-school and Sunday programs, Hebrew language instruction, camps, festivals, holiday events and performances.

5. What are the benefits of sponsorship?

Among the benefits for projects are:

  • Fiscal sponsorship
  • Accounting and compliance
  • Project mentoring
  • Back-office support
  • HR, payroll & benefit support
  • Grant writing services

6. Can I apply for grants immediately after being sponsored?

Yes.  Fiscal sponsorship does not provide funds, grants or any monetary funding. Nor does the Tarbuton fundraise or solicit donations for individual projects. We will make recommendations for funding sources and review and provide feedback for grant proposals. Many foundations want to see a proven track record and an established base of support before they will consider making a grant.  If you do not have a track record, or existing support, we recommend that you execute a “pilot project” before applying for foundation grants.

7. What are your fees?

Fiscal sponsorship with no additional back end lab services 7% to cover accounting, donor and grant acknowledgements, reporting and oversight.  If a project requests Lab Services for back office support including registration, enrollment, web form and site assistance, expense reporting, etc. the admin fee is 10% for projects with budgets under $24,000 and 10% for projects over $24,000. We have a minimum project administration fee for projects requesting lab services of $1,000 that can be paid in monthly increments. This minimum fee will be applied to the 10-12% admin fee as the project receives donations and grant support.

8. How long does it take to be approved?

After you submit your application, we will contact you within five working days for an initial approval.  Afterward we will follow-up with a brief orientation via phone or Skype, to confirm if the project and Tarbuton are a good match for each other and finalize the fiscal sponsorship agreement.

9. How long can I be a sponsored project?

You can remain as a sponsored project for as long, or as little, as needed.  We are here to support you and give you the freedom to decide what is best for you and your project.

10. What are my responsibilities as a project beyond my good work?

Projects under fiscal sponsorship complete a description of their project as part of the application process and will be obligated to update Tarbuton on their progress.  When submitting funding proposals for grants, you will include Tarbuton’s tax exempt letter and indicate, “We are working with Tarbuton, a 501c3 organization registered with the state of California, as our fiscal sponsor.  All donations/grants are made to Tarbuton on our behalf.”  If you opt to use PayPal for tax-deductible contributions for your project, we will provide an account and give you the link for use in email and online.  You will receive the donations less the paypal and the Tarbuton administrative fee in a disbursement on a schedule agreed upon in our agreement. Generally payments will be made two weeks after receiving funds.  Since we write checks twice a month, please allow up to two weeks to receive your funds.  You will provide the SS # or EIN # for the individual or business receiving the funds. When promoting your project, we ask that you include our logo in your promotion, and the following statement:  “Fiscal sponsorship provided by Tarbuton.”

11. Do you give grants to startups?

Not directly. Tarbuton is a fiscal sponsor for emerging organizations and the projects pursue grants or donors directly. Though Tarbuton may develop programs which could include opportunities for projects to apply for seed funding.

12. Why do funders have more confidence in fiscally sponsored projects?

Fiscal sponsors, like the Tarbuton, help ensure funding has impact and measurable results. We work with entrepreneurs to help them do cost efficient nonprofit work and provide oversight that foundations expect in their grantees.

13. Why not give money directly to the person or organization doing the work?

If you can, you should!  Many donors are reluctant to support projects without tax exempt status.  Tarbuton’s fiscal sponsorship is about inspiring and supporting new nonprofit projects, helping founders pilot their programs with less concerns about administrative and back office work, and providing a tax exempt way for many public benefit projects who don’t yet have 501c3 status to receive philanthropic support for their worthy projects.  We hope this will result in incredible experimental initiatives and programs going from idea to reality and making San Diego a better place.



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