FAQ

COMMON Foundation offers a full suite of in-house consulting and mentoring services and takes care of all legal, operational, administrative and financial obligations related to managing and operating a 501(c)(3) organization.

We also offer in-house consulting services for an additional fee but at a rate much lower than available for external clients. We do not fundraise as each project has their own network of connections, but we do review grant applications, contracts, and fundraising documents when requested. We also consult for our internal and external partners and clients by offering philanthropic advising, mentoring, non-profit strategies, donor-advised funds, legacy research and development, scholarship program development, and a full suite of specialized services.

COMMON Foundation is a global organization. We offer our services for anyone willing to comply with US law, IRS rules and regulations, and operating in compliance with 501(c)(3) organization status whether your efforts are on the ground in the US, Africa, Latin America, Asia, etc.

COMMON Foundation has set up projects in a matter of days, but it could take up to 2 weeks to a month depending on the level of detail you’re interested in, the nature of your non-profit idea; project, program, or service and your availability to meet and discuss your questions in detail.

Contact us. We’re always excited to learn from others, and to hear about your non-profit idea. You may have an idea for a new non-profit entity to incubate and then launch independently outside of COMMON Foundation, or it could be a new non-profit project, program, or service that you’d like to operate within the COMMON Foundation over the long-term.

We require a minimum of $50,000 from the outset. The fiscal sponsorship fee is 10% to cover overhead and administration. The average cost of overhead and administration for non-profits in the US is currently 36.9%, so you’ll begin by saving 26.9% based on the average for overhead.

Our goal is to always support and promote your efforts. If it’s a fit, we’ll send you our fiscal sponsorship handbook and agreement for you to review. We’re always happy to answer questions until you’re satisfied, and then take whichever steps are most appropriate to advance your goals.

Impact investing refers to investments “made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return”.

A donor-advised fund, or DAF, is a philanthropic vehicle established at a public charity. It allows donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend grants from the fund over time.

Startup accelerators and startup incubators assist entrepreneurs in the journey toward becoming successful companies, but each in their own way. However different these two processes are, many people confuse them and use the terms interchangeably.

Accelerators focus on a shorter duration (e.g. 12-week intensive programs that often include capital for private sector start-ups). We do not offer an accelerator program specifically, but if you have a for-profit idea that has investment potential, we are well networked with the accelerator community and can guide you in that direction. Incubators are longer in duration, offering mentorship and focusing less on quick growth and more on becoming successful at the right pace with continuous attention and support as needed.

A startup incubator is designed to help new startups succeed, in our case new non-profits, or new projects, programs, or services offered by non-profits. Incubators help social entrepreneurs solve some of the problems commonly associated with running a non-profit by providing critical support, advisory services, access to networks, mentoring, and training. The sole purpose of our incubator program is to promote and support social entrepreneurs’ and their non-profit or philanthropic goals.

Fiscal sponsorship is a formal arrangement in which a 501(c)(3) public charity sponsors a project that may lack exempt status. This alternative to starting your own nonprofit allows you to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under your sponsor’s exempt status.

A 501(c) organization, or simply a 501(c), is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization in the United States. Section 501(c) of the United States Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501) provides that 29 types of nonprofit organizations are exempt from some federal income taxes. COMMON Foundation is a 501(c)(3).

The most common type of US tax-exempt nonprofit organization falls under category 501(c)(3), whereby a nonprofit organization is exempt from federal income tax if its activities have the following purposes: charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering amateur sports competition, or preventing cruelty to children or animals.

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