or not, keep in mind that you will have to make the decisions that are right for you and your project. Having said that, I can’t think of any good reasons not to work with a fiscal sponsor.
Fiscal Sponsors – also called fiscal agent, umbrella organization, fiscal conduit, non-profit sponsor – offer a variety of benefits for artists, including allowing tax deductable donations to the project from individuals and corporations, and allow the artist to apply for grants that are normally reserved for non-profit organizations.
There is a ton of information on the web about fiscal sponsorship, a good place to start is at the Foundation Center.
In short, the fiscal sponsor will accept funds on behalf of the artist and/or project (so the checks are written in the fiscal sponsor’s name, not yours) and then dispersed to you. Many fiscal sponsors will take a small administrative fee for handling the transactions for you. They also take “responsiblity” in the eyes of granting organizations to assure that you complete the project and file grant reports.
Although in my experience I have yet to receive a grant that is normally only available to organizations, the sponsorship has helped with collecting tax deductable donations. (I am still applying for those grants, so I will let you know if that changes).
There are certain rules that apply, especially regarding benefit events, certain dollar amounts and tax requirements and family members donating to the project (their monies cannot pay artist fees), but a good sponsor will give you all of the information regarding these rules and regulations up front.
Let me know if you have specific questions about FS and I will answer them, but that is the quick overview.