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

  • Become a Doc Maker member of IDA.
  • Take a look at our past and currently sponsored projects. You’ll find that we accept projects that tackle a variety of topics across many documentary forms.
  • Please reference the FAQ page first before emailing questions to
  • 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 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

IDA staff will review applications and accompanying materials and in some cases, may call on outside reviewers to supplement staff input. Some of the questions that staff and outside reviewers 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.
  • Is the proposal complete, well written, and does it give a clear picture of the project's premise, 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. If you've recently applied to the IDA Enterprise Grant, we can accept the Enterprise Documentary Fund Proposal Checklist in lieu of the Documentary Core Application Project checklist.

Read the guidelines and proposal checklist carefully, making sure to note which items are required and which are optional. Review the IDA Fiscal Sponsorship Proposal Checklist to make sure you have included all of the required components. We will not review incomplete proposals. If additions or revisions are requested the review process will be delayed. 


Application Review and Time-Line

Most applications will be reviewed within 4-6 weeks. However, this time frame is not guaranteed. 

Please budget adequate time for our review process into the timeline when you are considering grant application deadlines. If you would like to expedite your application, please read through our FAQ page for more information.

Reviewers may contact you directly with questions, feedback, or revision requests during the review process. When a decision has been reached about your application we'll be in touch via email.

I have read and understood the guidelines and eligibility requirements