View Full Version : Project Funding/ Tax Write Off Question
10-01-2004, 10:37 PM
Hi. I am in pre-production on a documentary about the summer camp I attended as a kid and have a person who wants to contribute a sizable chunk for production of the movie. I'll be happy to give details about how and what I'm filming, but my question pertains to tax deductions for contributions.
My contributor wants to deduct her contribution and I have approached several nonprofit film organizations about accepting the donation on my behalf, but because I have no prior filmmaking experience they are not willing to accept the undertaking.
I know I could file for nonprofit status for myself, but I'm not interested in that avenue. I am wondering if any of you have had experience with this, or know of a nonprofit organization that would be willing to accept the donation on my behalf even based on my prior experience.
If any of you have suggestions, I would appreciate them and if you know of organizations that might be willing/able to help or have delt with this situation before, I'd appreciate your comments as well.
10-02-2004, 12:52 AM
The AIVF, Film Arts Foundation, Women In Film, and IFP should all be amenable to such a request...
... if not, send me a PM, I may have an in with a couple of nonprofits who may do it for you.
10-02-2004, 10:28 AM
I understand that you aren't interested in establishing 501(3)(c) status for the project but the hard parts are already done; you have funding and two potential board members (you and the grantor). With as few as one more board member (depending on your state) and a few hundered dollars, your problem would be solved. There would be a period of waiting (2-3 months) for the Fed to officially grant status but they rarely deny and your grantor might allow production to begin on some low level while in waiting.
I've been down the road of "attaching" to another nonprofit and wouldn't approach the proceess randomly. Like most organizations, NPOs are certainly bureaucracies and any bureaucracy can be more trouble than its worth. I probably wouldn't do it again and would only do it again if there was already a nonprofit that I already had a very, very strong relationship and that had a strong belief in my mission and in my unique ability to fulfill that mission. Never randomly. This might end up like choosing a business partner for his ability to cash a check.
Hope this helps,
10-02-2004, 10:39 AM
I looked at yor website. Have you approached the Episcopalian Dioceses about possibly attaching to them?
10-02-2004, 11:08 AM
Thanks for all your help and suggestions. I am concerned about approaching either diocese involved with the camp for fear that it will limit the scope of the film. Part of the story I want to tell concerns the clash of cultures through the 70s 80s 90s as social morals changed and the church became both more political and conservative. In many ways, if either diocese had been aware of what sort of paganism/hedonism was fostered at the camp, it would have been shut down long ago :)
I also recognize a lot of your experience in my own. I have a history of making something out of nothing in various fields but it has been difficult to convince nonprofits so far of my ability to make a film. If it comes to it, I will explore registering for nonprofit status on my own, but it is another layer of bureaucracy I am not interested in accepting.
10-02-2004, 11:38 AM
No easy answer.
10-02-2004, 02:50 PM
Maybe try hooking up with a University or school... if money is donated on behalf of them they might be able to give the donator a tax write off and then fund your movie... some film schools might help you out with that...
10-02-2004, 04:48 PM
Thanks. Do you have experience with this? Any school in particular?
10-02-2004, 11:07 PM
I live in Canada so I've heard of stuff done with universities here. Ryerson University offers to hold the rights to a film for a student so when the money is donated to the film, it's technically donated to the school. Once the film is made, it's sold back to the student for a $1... it makes everyone happy and is perfectly legal and moral. I think they might only do something like that for students there though, I dunno what they'd do for a stranger. Perhaps if you employed students as part of the crew for the film... i dunno...
10-04-2004, 12:09 PM
I'm not sure U.S. Universities would be a good bet. While they may be happy to accept and disburse a grant or donation, they usually take a cut, their indirect rate, that can be as high as 80% of the money. Also, the bureaucratic red tape you have to navigate may make setting up your own 501 (3) (c) seem like a picnic.
10-06-2004, 08:47 AM
The International Documentary Assoc. www.documentary.org has a program where you can run your film through them. They have a nonprofit entity and for a small % of the total amount the invester will get all the benifits.
10-06-2004, 10:41 AM
Thank you. I just filled out my membership and will order a sponsorship package. I really appreciate it.