Documentary Funding | Do I Need An Organization To Accept Funds?

by Crista
(Los Angeles, CA USA)

We are in the process of creating a documentary. We'd like to take donations for the costs associated with creating our documentary. Do we need to set up a business entity in order to do this, or can we just take donations and use the money for the documentary - what happens if there is excess funds (doubtful)? If we need to set up a business entity, would it make sense to set up a non-profit organization or just a standard LLC?

Thanks so much,
Crista & Christine

Desktop Documentaries | Answer
From: Faith Fuller (publisher)

Hi Crista,

You actually need to do both:

You need to create a business entity (LLC) for your production company and, instead of creating your own non-profit, you should partner with a "fiscal sponsor" so that your business can take donations for your documentary. Don't worry about getting "too many donations" as that never happens. :)

If you anticipate making more than one documentary, then creating your own non-profit should be a consideration.

Here are two articles that should answer all your questions:

I'm Working On My First Documentary. Do I Need To Set Up An LLC?

What Is A Fiscal Sponsor and Why Do I Need One?

And a few additional resources as you begin to think about raising funds for your documentary.

Documentary Fundraising Tips

Documentary Film Grants

Documentary Fundraising Tool Kit

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