To apply to IDA's fiscal sponsorship program, please complete the following steps:

  • Become a member of IDA. If you already have an active membership, proceed to the next step.

  • Carefully read all of the requirements below and follow the instructions for assembling a project proposal and budget.

  • Complete the Fiscal Sponsorship Application linked at the bottom of this page, attach your completed proposal and budget and pay the $75 application fee online.


  • The applicant (Project Director) must be 18 years of age or older.

  • The applicant must be a current paid member of IDA.

  • The project must be a documentary film or media project related to the documentary genre and with a clear charitable purpose and public benefit compatible with IDA's mission;

Our Mission: To support the vital work of documentary storytellers and champion a thriving and inclusive documentary culture.

  • The project must not be able to be construed as propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, or supporting the participation in, or intervention in (including the publication or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.

  • Narrative/fiction films or any projects not directly related to the documentary genre or to IDA's mission are ineligible.

  • The applicant does not need to be a US citizen or US resident to be eligible to apply, however, please also be aware that funds released to Non-US Persons may be subject to mandatory withholding by the US Government. Please contact us before you apply to discuss your specific situation.

  • If applying with a documentary film, video, radio or other media project, the applicant must be an independent filmmaker or documentarian.

  • For the purposes of this sponsorship, IDA defines an independent filmmaker as a content creator who both owns the copyright of his or her work and has artistic, budgetary, and editorial control of the project. Documentaries being produced for hire or under the direction of a third party, such as a broadcast entity, university, foundation or nonprofit organization where another entity besides the applicant will own or have substantial editorial or other control over the finished work, are ineligible.

  • The applicant must be a primary producer and/or director of the submitted work.

  • The project may be in any stage of development, production and or post-production or distribution

  • Student films being produced through a college or university are ineligible.

Review Criteria

Both IDA staff and a committee of experienced filmmakers will review applications and accompanying materials. Some of the questions that staff and committee members will use in evaluating proposals include:

  • Do the Project Director and the project presented meet program eligibility requirements?

  • Does the Project have a clear public benefit and charitable purpose which furthers IDA's mission and purposes for being tax-exempt.

  • Does the project tell a compelling story?

  • Has the story been told before and if so, does this project's approach bring something new to the story?

  • Does the Project Director have the access necessary to tell the story in a compelling way?

  • Is the proposal well written and does it give a clear picture of the film's story and themes?

  • Is the Project Director and the production team assembled experienced and capable of completing the project as described?

  • Does the proposal identify an audience and a realistic plan for reaching and engaging that audience? Does the project have a reasonable chance of reaching its intended audience?

  • Does the proposal have a realistic and well thought out fundraising strategy and a reasonable chance of raising sufficient funds to complete the project as described? 

  • Is the budget thorough and realistic? Are line items in the budget within industry norms and standards?

Proposal Checklist

Please prepare a narrative proposal and line item budget as outlined in our proposal checklist.  Our proposal requirements are compatible with the Documentary Core Application Project

Read the guidelines and proposal checklist carefully, making sure to note which items are required and which are optional.


Application Review Time-Line

We strive to review all applications within 1 month of submission. However, this time frame is not guaranteed.

Please Note:  Review the IDA Fiscal Sponsorship Proposal Checklist to make sure you have included ALL of the required components. Incomplete proposals will not be reviewed. Revisions will be requested which will delay the review process.

Please budget our review process into the timeline when you are considering grant application deadlines. We are sometimes able to do rush reviews to meet specific funding related deadlines. Contact us before submitting if you have a specific deadline you need to meet.

If you don't hear from us within one month of submitting your completed application, please give us a call for an update on the status of your application.

Reviewers may contact you directly with questions or feedback about your application during the review process.

When a final decision has been reached about your application you will be touch via email.

I have read and understand the guidelines and eligibility requirements.