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About Project Support

“The EII staff is incredibly knowledgeable and has helped our organization grow its understanding of non-profit management. They have provided advice in organizational strategy, financial planning, and much more.”
– Melinda Kramer, Women’s Earth Alliance

Project Support

Earth Island Institute, a 501(c)(3) organization, provides fiscal sponsorship, resources, training, technical assistance, and peer relationships to environmental activists looking for an organizational home and institutional leverage for their work. Our goals are to strengthen the capacity of each project to effectively address environmental issues, create synergy between activists working on similar topics, and allow project directors to focus their energy on their campaigns and programs.

Earth Island projects function with programmatic autonomy while receiving governance and fiduciary oversight from Earth Island. Sponsored projects are responsible for raising their own funds, a portion of which goes to support the administrative services and support programs provided by Earth Island. Projects are charged a standard ten percent administrative fee on project revenue, reflecting their share of the overall cost of providing these programs and services.

Federal funding is subject to a slightly higher fee. Large projects (those with budgets more than $500,000/year) may be eligible for a reduction in administrative fees.

Benefits & Responsibilities of Sponsorship

venn diagram depicting benefits of Earth Island sponsorshipEarth Island has well developed policies, procedures, and practices that define and guide the relationship between Earth Island and our member projects. Though both policy and practice are occasionally subject to change as we grow and improve our systems, the following Benefits and Responsibilities of Sponsorship provides a good overview.

In addition, all projects are asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that highlights specific, critical elements drawn from our policies and procedures and which will define the terms of project support for at least the first year of sponsorship.

Benefits of Sponsorship

Earth Island Institute’s project support program is at the heart of our mission to conserve, preserve, and restore the environment. Our goals are to strengthen the capacity of each project to effectively address environmental issues, create synergy between activists working on similar topics and allow project directors to focus their energy and effort on their campaigns and programs. Unless otherwise noted, the cost of providing these services is covered by overhead fees charged on project income.

Administration & Finance

  • 501(c)(3) Status allowing tax-deductible donations & foundation funding
  • Governing Board of Directors
  • Regulatory & Tax Compliance:
    • Audit (including OMB-133 if necessary)
    • 990 Filing
    • State registrations (fundraising & employment)
  • Accounting services:
    • Cash flow management
    • Monthly financial statement & general ledger reports
    • Custom reporting
    • Accounts receivable & payable
    • Banking services*
    • Charge accounts
  • Employee payroll & benefits:
    • Payroll processing* & direct deposit
    • Health, vision & dental insurance*
    • Long-term disability insurance*
    • Optional tax shelter (403b) services
    • Workers comp & international workers comp
  • Advance on confirmed funding & emergency loans with approval of Executive Director
  • Adjusted overhead for large projects, prizes & fellowships, & inter-project grants
  • General liability insurance*
  • Nonprofit bulk & business reply mail permit
  • Reception, voicemail & mail services
  • Access to conference rooms
  • Access to office equipment:
    • Photocopier*, scanner, fax machines
  • Office rental & related tenant services*

Program & Organization Development

  • Consultation on project focus, campaign & organization development strategies


  • Tax-deductible donations & foundation funding
  • Secure credit card transactions from web & repeating pledge fulfillment
  • Access to foundation research tools
  • Consultation & training on donor development, proposal writing & grant management

Leadership Development

  • New project orientation, a two-day introduction to EII that includes training in basic program management skills
  • Periodic workshops (i.e. fundraising, financial management, supervision skills)
  • Peer support & collaboration opportunities
  • Roundtable discussions, designed for further education & debate on emerging environmental issues
  • Project Director Summit, a capacity-building & networking conference (alternating years)

Outreach & Publicity

  • Coverage in Earth Island Journal, EII’s quarterly award-winning publication
  • Exposure in EII’s annual report, on its website & in other publicity materials
  • Reports of project activities in IslandWire, EII’s monthly e-newsletter
  • Discounted subscriptions to Earth Island Journal for project members & donors
  • Basic web page development & hosting
  • Distribution of publicity materials from the Berkeley office & through outreach efforts


  • Travel funds to attend EII meetings & events

Responsibilities of Sponsorship

We have developed several documents outlining policies, procedures, and practices that define and guide the relationship between Earth Island and our member projects. These documents include the Memorandum of Understanding, Project Handbook, Accounting Manual, and Employee Handbook. Though both policies and procedures are occasionally subject to change as we grow and improve our systems, the outline below should give you an overview of key areas of project responsibility.

Terms of Sponsorship

  • Identify project director
  • Sign Memorandum of Understanding
  • Adhere to all policies & procedures
  • Identify as “a project of Earth Island Institute”
  • Regular communication including the following required reports:
    • Year End Report
    • Annual Budget
    • Project Support Meeting
    • Lobbying
    • Litigation
  • Maintain approved program focus & goals

Administration & Finance

  • Responsibility for all project related liabilities
  • Maintain only one organizational identity
  • Maintain cash balance adequate for EII policy & project goals
  • Budget adequate overhead in all grants & contracts
  • Provide documentation of all expenses
  • Annual Budget & Year End Report
  • Cooperation with any internal or external audit

Liability & Legal Issues

  • Understand relationship between EII & sponsored projects:
    • Legal
    • Employment
    • Use of Name
    • Contracts
  • Adhere to general and nonprofit law
  • Disclose conflict of interest
  • Litigation & lobbying reports as required by program activity
  • Coordinate supplemental insurance as required
  • All supervisors complete harassment prevention training


  • Understanding of requirements & responsibilities associated with all funding
  • Adhere to IRS charitable donation requirements, industry best practice & project gift acceptance guidelines
  • Provide documentation of all grants & contracts:
    • Award letter
    • Contract/Grant Agreement
  • Record keeping & reporting:
    • Grant
    • Contracts
    • Merchandise sales (for sales tax reporting)
  • Coordinate federal grant applications with EINS staff

Project Leadership

  • Identify project director:
    • Written job description
    • Cooperative leadership agreement (as appropriate)
    • Change in leadership policy & procedure
  • Understand role & limits to authority for project director & advisory boards
  • Supervision of all project staff, contractors, & volunteers

Outreach & Publicity

  • Identify as “a project of Earth Island Institute”

Program & Organization Development

  • Complete new project orientation
  • Review separation materials and decommissioning policy
  • Maintain approved program focus & goals
  • Annual Project Support Meeting
  • Coordinate any changes in project activity levels with EII

Rev. 4/2013

* Direct cost of service passed on to project