How Can a Fiscal Agent Help Me? Also, What is That?

Happy May!

I don’t know about where you live, but Nebraska can’t decide what to do with the weather. We have had 80 degree days, 40 degree days, tornado warnings, and hail. I don’t know what to wear; so I’m currently just wearing everything I have.

Cartoon illustrations of weather elements including clouds, snowflake, rainbow, tornado.

I cannot wait until it is officially summer!

In this newsletter, we are going to talk a little bit about fiscal agents: what are they; why would you need one; what are their responsibilities?  

A fiscal agent is a third-party organization that handles various financial and administrative duties on behalf of a nonprofit that either is not yet ready to handle certain financial duties or that does not yet have its 501c3 status.

The fiscal agent ensures that all funds are spent according to various rules and regulations. The organization seeking a grant contracts directly with the fiscal agent to administer the grant. It is important to remember that the fiscal agent is always the ultimate responsible party. This is a big responsibility and one that you want to make sure your fiscal agent understands.

The fiscal agent, however, does not have any discretion about how the assets are used by the organization.

It is also important to know that most fiscal sponsors will charge nonprofits a fee to offset the additional costs they take on for managing the grant money, keeping track of records, and more. Typically, the fee is somewhere between 5%-10% of the funds held by the nonprofit.

Another important fact is that the fiscal agent you choose must be related in some way to your mission. For instance, if you are a historic building, you could work with a historical society as your fiscal agent.

One final note, not every single Foundation will accept a grants package from a fiscal agent; some will only accept one from a fully-fledged 501c3 organization. Something to consider.

The most important takeaway here is that securing a fiscal agent allows an organization to apply for most GRANTS as if it were a 501c3, and that can be invaluable if you want to get started.


Asian American Month (grants related to Asian American issues).

Mental Health Awareness Month (grants related to healthcare).

Foster Care Month (grants related to Foster Care).

Nurse’s Week – First Week of Month (grants related to healthcare).

National Police Month – Third Week of Month (grants related to police support).

May 9 – National Teacher’s Day (grants related to education).

May 12 – Military Spouses Day (grants to support military and veterans).

May 18 – International Museum Day (grants to support the arts).

May 29 – Memorial Day (grants to support military and veterans).

U.S. flags decorate veterans' graves for Memorial Day


The number one advantage of grants is that they are free money. They do not need to be paid back.


Don’t ignore your budget. Really spend time working on your budget to make it detailed, easy to understand, and to tell your story. It’s a critical piece of your application and often people tend to save this until the last minute and then just throw something together.


Research is key, in many different areas. You need to start with strong, matched Funding Sources; you need to research the Funding Source to see if they have funded organizations similar to yours and find commonalities; and you need research to support your request. Make research your new favorite thing!  


In the month of May, if you secure grant writing services with Sunflower and mention the code ISITSPRING, you will receive 50% off of your first hour of the grant production process!


The Iowa West Foundation does great work, and not just in Iowa!

Their vision is a community where families want to live and businesses choose to locate because of its quality of life and standard of living. To accomplish this, the Foundation implements a grants program that addresses key strategic priorities in economic development, education, healthy families, and placemaking.

The Iowa West Foundation serves an 18-county area including southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Their primary focus area is Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Please note that the Foundation’s geographic area does vary by program area: Nebraska can only receive grants in economic development, healthy families and placemaking.

All grants begin with an LOI (Letter of Inquiry). It’s nice to have an established relationship with the Foundation (something Sunflower has!) so you can start a conversation in advance.

The next LOI deadline is September 1st.

More articles from Sunflower Grant Writers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *