We love Artspire. So what is it? Artspire is the fiscal sponsorship program of the New York Foundation for the Arts. Being under their sponsorship means that we can solicit tax-deductible donations without having to be a 501(c)(3) ourselves.
Fiscal sponsorship by the New York Foundation for the Arts means that people can donate to artists and their projects knowing that the money they donate is in fact tax deductible, it will be spent appropriately and that IRS reporting requirements will be met.
We began working with Artspire in 2010 when we began working on Honk!. A friend of ours wanted to donate a very generous sum but in order to do that we needed 501(c)(3) status. Since applying for that usually takes quite a while, we looked for alternatives. We found Fractured Atlas, and Artspire. After evaluating both, we chose Artspire.
Bottom line — if you are an artist, group or organization undertaking an arts project — whether you are incorporated or not — you CAN solicit and receive tax-deductible donations. Look into Artspire (www.artspire.org).
UPDATE: On September 11, 2012, Polaris Productions received 501(c)(3) charitable organization status from the IRS and subsequently discontinued fiscal sponsorship with Artspire.