Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA)


Leaving the Nest: Why Fiscally-sponsored Projects Seek Independence takes a descriptive approach to the question of why fiscally-sponsored nonprofit organizations seek independence from their sponsors. Sampling projects from California's largest umbrella fiscal sponsors, this study found six factors to be the most common and most important reasons given by the leadership of the sponsored organizations for deciding to leave the sponsor. These six factors were: an economic equation that favored independent provision of essential services; the presence of a previously established plan to separate; a desire to brand the project's name separate from the fiscal sponsor's; a wish to avoid redundant administrative systems; the actual presence of redundant administrative systems; and a sense that leaving the sponsor was a natural part of the project's maturation. Five additional factors played a lesser role in the decision-making. Those factors were: pressure from funders to leave; interpersonal conflicts with the sponsor; a desire for more autonomous decision-making; a power-struggle dynamic with the sponsor; and a perceived lack of value for the sponsorship fee.