Sponsored Member Program/Fiscal Sponsorship

This program enables NSN’s individual, associate, and affiliate members to apply for grants and receive donations under NSN’s non-profit fiscal sponsorship.

How does the Sponsored Member Program benefit NSN members?

It opens up many new avenues for funding. Through its own Award Program, NSN alone will never be able to fund all of its members’ excellent storytelling projects. Storytellers need grants and donations from other sources to bring their dreams to reality.

However, storytellers and their organizations face major obstacles in raising the money they need to support their work. Because most funders will not give grants to independent artists, and because individuals prefer to make contributions that are tax-deductible, grant opportunities for NSN members are currently limited. Small storytelling associations that lack 501(c)3 status are also handicapped in their fundraising.

The Sponsored Member Program enables NSN’s individual, associate, and affiliate group members to apply for funds under its non-profit umbrella and thus makes new sources of funding available to them. NSN fiscal sponsorship complies with IRS regulations for donations by foundations and corporations, and also enables individual donors to direct their contributions to a non-profit organization and receive a tax deduction while supporting storytelling projects.

Furthermore, members of the Sponsored Member Program (SMP) can receive assistance from the SMP Committee in preparing their proposals for outside funding. We will make sure that every proposal NSN sponsors is of high quality.

Who may join?

Any individual or organizational member of NSN is eligible to join the Sponsored Member Program.

How do we join?

Applicants to the Sponsored Member Program will submit a brief description of the projects for which they wish to raise funds, participate in a telephone orientation session, and sign a Letter of Agreement with NSN that outlines responsibilities and procedures.

How does the program work?

To receive NSN fiscal sponsorship, the SMP member submits each grant proposal or fundraising letter to the attention of the SMP Review Committee, which will read the submissions to assure that:

  • they are consistent with the mission of NSN;
  • their submission will not compromise or duplicate any of NSN’s fundraising initiatives;
  • they are clear, accurate, and well-written, so as to maintain the reputation of NSN as sponsor of a consistently high caliber of grants. (The review committee will exercise no control over artistic content; it simply supports the applicant in presenting a good proposal.)

The review committee will review the application materials of grant proposals and a response will be provided to the applicant after all application materials have been received. It is the responsibility of the applicant to present materials well in advance of any grant submission deadline. Reviews will not be conducted until all application materials have been received.

If the review committee finds that a proposal or letter is not yet ready for approval for submission to a funder, it will provide a free 15-minute consultation with the applicant. After the consultation, the applicant may revise the materials independently and resubmit them to the committee.

The SMP Review Committee must approve a proposal in writing before NSN will act as fiscal sponsor and the proposal may be submitted to a potential funder. After this certification, NSN will provide the applicant with whatever documentation of its tax-exempt status is required by the funder.

How to Apply

  1. Fill out the preliminary application.
  2. Call 1-816-804-2442 (Joyce Slater) to schedule a telephone orientation with the Sponsored Member Program Review Committee.SMP Letter of Agreement 2023
  3. Complete the Letter of Agreement and mail to our office: National Storytelling Network, 7338 Belleview Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64114-1220. The Letter of Agreement may not be submitted until you have participated in the telephone orientation call with the Sponsored Members Program Review Committee.
  4. For more information or questions, please contact 1-816-804-2442 (Joyce Slater)

Receipt and disbursement of funds:

Upon notification from a funder that a proposal has been approved, NSN will establish a temporary restricted account and tracking mechanisms for the project funds, to be used solely for the purpose of administering the grant. All grant and contribution checks must be made payable only to NSN and earmarked on the memo line for the individual applicant. (Contributions may also be made by credit card.) Upon receipt of the funds, NSN will deposit them to the project account, disburse the funds according to the terms of the grant, and – at least once per year, or more frequently if required by the funder – provide the grantee with an accounting of funds received and disbursed.

Funder acknowledgment:

Members are responsible for sending thank-you letters to their individual contributors. As mandated by law, NSN will send receipts to all individual contributors as well.


Members will receive an IRS 1099-misc form if they earn more than $599 through the SMP in a calendar year. The IRS recognizes this 1099 as taxable income. Members should contact appropriate experts (the IRS or tax accountants) regarding how to file at tax time, and should keep track of receipts showing how they are spending their grant money. (Most artists do not pay additional taxes on grants because they deduct their art-related expenses from this 1099 income.)


In the event that a grant is awarded or a donation received through the SMP, NSN will deduct an administrative fee of eight percent (8%) from the sum. Contributions received via credit card will incur a credit card transaction fee that NSN will deduct from the donation. In addition, NSN has an annual fee of $50 to participate in this program.

Final reports:

If a grant is awarded or contributions are received from individuals through the SMP, the member is responsible for keeping track of expenses and income for the sponsored project. In the case of grants, members must submit the final report to NSN’s SMP Review Committee before sending it to the funder. It is important for members to submit final reports and any other items requested by the funder within the stipulated time frame, since grantees who do not complete final reports jeopardize every other member’s chances of getting funding from that source. Individual donors also appreciate hearing from recipients of funding at the end of a project, so we recommend communicating with all donors regardless of explicit requirements.

NSN will keep copies of all sponsored members’ final reports, letters, and other documentation about projects. These materials help us inform the NSN Board of Directors about the sponsorship program.

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