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NNFS National Gathering 2018

National Network of Fiscal Sponsors

Monday, October 22, 2018 at 1:00 PM - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 5:00 PM (PDT)

NNFS National Gathering 2018

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee
1st Attendee Ended $300.00 $18.77
Additional Attendees Ended $225.00 $14.60

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Event Details

Join fiscal sponsors from around the country for a dynamic day-and-a-half event, including affinity group discussions, presentations, panels and networking. This is the only national gathering of its kind, where fiscal sponsors come together to share information on fiscal sponsorship practice, and learn from each other and experts in various fields.

Thank you from the bottom of our fiscal sponsorship hearts to our Silver Sponsor NetSuite and our Bronze sponsor Point B, Inc for your valued support of this event!

***Please note that this event is designed specially for fiscal sponsors to discuss their work, and most breakout sessions and affinity groups will only be open to those practicing fiscal sponsorship. If you are a member of the press, an attorney, consultant, or funder working alongside fiscal sponsors, or you are interested in sponsoring our event, please contact us by email first! We'd love to talk to you about how you can be involved in this event and how we can work together at other times of year, too - please email***

Our goals:

CONNECT with other fiscal sponsors

LEARN from each other

CONTRIBUTE to best practices in the field

LEAVE INSPIRED to return to our organizations with ideas and tools that help our work.

At this event we will discuss:


  • Learn and develop best practices through peer knowledge-sharing.
  • Take tools and ideas back to our organizations that help us improve and evolve our fiscal sponsorship work.
  • Build relationships among individuals, creating a community of resources and peers to help support the ongoing process of best-practices development and decrease isolation. 

OUR FIELD:                                                                                                                                                          

  • Consider "next-practices" and the future of fiscal sponsorship - What does the field of fiscal sponsorship need to move forward? What approaches and resources will help us do the best work? 
  • Build relationships among organizations, to help continue the larger conversation about the development of the field, and build support for the field with vendors, funders, projects, the public and other stakeholders.             

SCHEDULE: All events take place at the Westin Seattle Hotel

Monday, October 22: 1:00 - 5:30 pm (with optional activites in the morning)

9:00 am - 1:00 pm   Optional morning meet-ups, office hours, and lunch groups - more details will be sent to registrants soon

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm     Registration, Convening, and Interactive Opening Session (all attendees). 

3:00 pm - 5:30 pm     Affinity group meetings - Note your top choices on your registration form

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm   Welcome Reception - Meet and greet with your fellow attendees! 

Tuesday, October 23: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

8:00 am - 9:00 am      Networking Breakfast

9:00 am - 9:30 am      Welcome and Opening Speakers

9:30 am - 10:30 am    Interactive Opening Session (all attendees)

10:45 am - 12:00 pm   Breakout Session #1

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm     Networking Lunch

1:15 pm - 2:30 pm      Breakout Session #2 

2:45 pm - 4:00 pm      Breakout Session #3

4:15 pm - 5:00 pm      Closing Session (all attendees)


LODGING: We're pleased the Westin Hotel has offered us a discounted rate for NNFS attendees - please make your reservations as soon as possible, and no later than September 20th by using the link below or calling 888-627-8513.

Reserve Rooms in the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors Westin block HERE

All reservations are subject to availability and Westin Hotel cancellation policy.

This year's gathering will include a range of events and topics, including panels, hosted discussions, networking, interactive learning, and presentations.

THANK YOU in advance to all of our dedicated breakout session leaders and facilitators!

In addition to interactive opening and closing sessions attended by everyone, each breakout block will include several different topics to choose from; no pre-registration is necessary. Please indicate your interest in affinity groups on your registration form.

Affinity group options (Day 1) include: Fiscal Sponsor Leaders of Color, New/Emerging Fiscal Sponsors, Regional Groups by geo region, Arts Fiscal Sponsors, Social Justice Fiscal Sponsors, Finance & Accounting Staff, Program Staff (2 groups), Executive Directors & Senior Management.....and more, based on your role and mission of your organization - please suggest affinity groups on your registration form!

Breakout session options (Day 2)  include topics for all experience levels and model types: 

Embracing Equity and Inclusion in Fiscal Sponsorship - Sheri Dunn Berry, Community Partners

This discussion-based workshop is an exploration of the extent to which organizations deliberately address equity issues in their fiscal sponsorship programs. Has your organization made a decision to offer a more inclusive fiscal sponsorship program that supports projects and project leaders from marginalized, ignored or under-resourced communities to build their power? If so, which communities, and what prompted that decision? What policies or tools has your organization created to encourage that shift? What did you learn from this process? If equity and inclusion issues are not emphasized in your fiscal sponsorship program, do you see a need for these issues to be highlighted? What might that look like? Through facilitated conversation, we will discuss these issues and share questions, aspirations, concerns, and strategies for fiscal sponsors taking this journey.

People-Centered Design: Developing a Service Tracking Platform – Jesse Bachrach and Stephanie Wong, Movement Strategy Center

We’re a social justice fiscal sponsor that has increasingly over the years named: We put relationship and people at the center. Yet, when we looked at our systems for service management and communications between fiscally sponsored projects and our staff, we recognized our systems and design processes were far from relationship- and people- centered. With projects’ growth in scale and scope, it was clear that our services needed to be streamlined and our systems were not designed with staff or projects in mind. Over years of iterating solutions to our gaps in service communications and management, MSC created Homebase, a services tracking platform built and developed by MSC, designed for--and increasingly informed by--our projects. This is a session to share our story and plant seeds for participants’ journeys in people-centered systems design.

Setting a NNFS Advocacy Agenda – Josh Sattely, TSNE MissionWorks

Fiscal Sponsorship done well effectively addresses an array of chronic perennial issues inherent in the independent operation of small and mid-sized 501(c)3 organizations. This innovative shared-services model's time has arrived but in order for the model to grow and thrive, any impediments to its adoption must be identified and dealt with in a coordinated manner by the FS community.

In this session, we'll map out those impediments, discuss and update the group on actions taken thus far to address, and plan future approaches to address that lever the collective voice of the FS community.

Fiscal Sponsorships with For Profit Companies – Jonathan Barona, Austin Community Foundation

Many for-profit companies want to create community impact but get caught up in legal red tape trying to navigate the nonprofit landscape. Fiscal Sponsors must take care to manage projects with for profit companies correctly to avoid legal complications. Using examples for Austin Community Foundation’s recent work in this area, this presentation and Q&A will give participants several examples of how to structure fiscal sponsorship relationships with for profit companies, and a better understanding of the challenges and pitfalls of partnering with for profit companies to create impact.

Building & Stewarding Intentional Member/Project Communities – Beth Warshaw, Jamaine Smith, Culture Works Philadelphia; Naomi Botkin, Cascadia Now; Toni Moceri, Allied Media Projects

This panel discussion will examine the ways different organizations cultivate and steward member/project communities. We’ll look at intake processes and intent, how organization values inform relationships between you and your members/projects and with each other, how your organization connects members/projects to the larger community, and more. We’ll share resources like intake applications and organizational values that underpin our work.

Hot Topics in Human Resources – Andrew Levey, Community Partners

This presentation of current best practices in Human Resources will include discussion of items such as employee classification (independent contractor versus employee as well as exempt versus non-exempt); wage and hour and timekeeping issues including interns; volunteer stipends and honoraria; benefits, and more. Andrew is a licensed attorney (CA) with over 25 years experience in Labor and Employment law practice as well as HR. This presentation will also have liberal time set aside for discussion and question and answers in the session.

Setting Your Fees: Models A & C - Asta Petkeviciute, TSNE MissionWorks; Craig Cichy, Social Impact Fund

How do you set your fiscal sponsorship fees? We’ll review models of fee structures, the true costs of administering fiscal sponsorships, determining your audience and how best to set a fee that is fair, competitive and proportionate to your audience. During the session, working groups will be divided into Model A and Model C organizations, and will be tasked to address issues around setting fees and communicating the cost savings fiscal sponsorship provides.

Lobbying, Advocacy, and Election Activities: What a Fiscal Sponsor Needs to Know – Erin Bradrick, NEO Law Group

Many nonprofits shy away from engaging in advocacy or lobbying activities, often due to confusion regarding the permissibility of such activities. But advocacy and lobbying can be powerful tools for a nonprofit in advancing its mission and increasing its impact. For fiscal sponsors, the considerations around these activities are a bit nuanced.

This session will energize and inspire attendees by examining permissible advocacy activities for 501(c)(3) public charities and presenting the rules in a concise, and easy to understand manner. A few of the topics we’ll cover include:

• understanding what counts as lobbying for public charities and the limits on such lobbying activities;
• distinguishing between lobbying and other advocacy activities;
• discussing the importance of educating projects on these rules;
• the benefits of making the 501(h) election for many nonprofits; and
• understanding the prohibition on intervening in any election for public office, and what election-related activities may be permissible.

NNFS Guidelines Update – Courtney Harge, Fractured Atlas

This session is specifically for fiscal sponsors who have actively used the NNFS Guidelines in building or guiding their fiscal sponsorship program in best practices. As part of NNFS’s periodic review of the Guidelines this year, we’ll discuss specifically how you’ve used the Guidelines in your practice, what is most useful, what clarification would be helpful, and possibly other best practice tools that we can develop together as a network from the Guidelines to help both new and experienced fiscal sponsors.

The Financial System Ecosystem: Tools and Integrations – Shava Lawson, Seattle Parks Foundation, et al

Finance and accounting, especially for fiscal sponsors, has become a complex eco-system of tools and integrations that organizations use to meet a matrix of needs – project reporting, audit requirements, internal staff communication and decision-making, grant reporting, fundraising, and much more. We’ll survey attendees ahead of the event about what tools people currently use (based on sessions and surveys from last year, so we can see what is urgent and current for fiscal sponsors now), and then discuss current issues, pros and cons, criteria in decision-making, platform integrations and more in working groups.

Learning and Evaluation – Chikako Yamauchi, Community Partners / Nwando Obele, TNSE MissionWorks

As fiscal sponsors, we strive to become learning organizations in order to ensure consistent high quality services to our clients. This co-presentation will examine both learning and evaluation, with Q&A:

Nwando will focus on how organizations can begin to develop their learning capacities and create a culture that celebrates learning. She will use TSNE MissionWorks as a real-world example to explore the differences between learning and evaluation, the core principles of a learning culture, and how to institutionalize group learning best practices.

Chikako will share her learning journey thus far through evaluation processes designed to help Community Partners assess the impact of their assistance to the projects they fiscally sponsor. Chikako came to Community Partners through the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program. She will also talk about the fellowship program and how nonprofits can apply to host a fellow at their organization (possibly as a learning and evaluation officer).

Accounting Part 1: Recent Regulations Best Practices and Next Practices: What you need to know, and what you can do to increase financial transparency – Karen Miessner, Singer/Lewak

This presentation will examine the current best-practice landscape, such as GAAP requirements, UBIT, restricted vs. unrestricted revenue, leases, and more, AND discuss tips for how you can go beyond best practices to "next" practices by increasing your financial transparency with projects and the public to help communicate your organization’s good policies and the value of fiscal sponsorship. See also the second session below, which will be entirely Q&A based.

Accounting Part 2: “Ask the Expert” - Karen Miessner, Singer/Lewak, et al

This session will collect your questions from Karen’s prior presentation, and any other accounting questions, to discuss with Karen and other experienced finance & accounting fiscal sponsorship staff. No question is too small or too big! We’ll answer as many as we can during this session, and populate a “parking lot” of ideas for future Slack discussions and webinars throughout the year.

Managing Risk Through Contracts – Gail Quan, Tides

Exposure to risk and liability exists with every contract and grant agreement a non-profit executes. Because contracts enable us to receive funds, provide services, employ individuals, and partner with organizations they are critical to a non-profits operations. These agreements, whether documented in writing or established verbally, can result in legally binding terms that affect more than what your organization realizes.

This session will provide a basic overview of what standard contract clauses mean and how to negotiate for terms that will better protect the interests of your organization.

Participants will have a better understanding of how contract terms can impact an organization’s operations and how to mitigate the potential risks involved in entering into agreements.

And more! Watch this space for updates as we add more details.


Have questions about NNFS National Gathering 2018? Contact National Network of Fiscal Sponsors

When & Where

Westin Seattle Hotel (Downtown)
1900 5th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

Monday, October 22, 2018 at 1:00 PM - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 5:00 PM (PDT)

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National Network of Fiscal Sponsors

The National Network of Fiscal Sponsors promotes the understanding and professional practice of fiscal sponsorship.

Fiscal sponsors are nonprofits that advance the public benefit by facilitating the development and growth of charitable, mission-driven activities.

While our models and missions differ, the organizations that comprise NNFS share common questions and aspirations to ensure responsible use of the tool of fiscal sponsorship.

We are committed to raising the understanding of fiscal sponsorship among funders and the public, we share a desire to build best practices, and we enhance the sector by building capacity to advance public benefit.

The NNFS is led by a Steering Committee comprised of fiscal sponsors from across the country.  These sponsors represent a plurality of models and missions that are broadly representative of the field of fiscal sponsorship.

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