How to know when — or if — your Sponsored Project is ready to separate

No matter where you are in the separation process, the first thing you should do is download our free PDF Separation Checklist and read our four-part blog series on the separation process, starting here.

After you do those things, if you are evaluating separating from your sponsor, our Separation Readiness Audit should be your next step.

The Separation Readiness Audit is a 360° assessment of your organization through the lens of what it needs to be successful, both through the separation process and as a standalone nonprofit.

The Audit starts with a detailed inspection of your organization’s current capacity and readiness to stand on its own. From current staff and the services your fiscal sponsor provides to your potential service providers and Advisory Board, we’ll dig into your organization through the lens of what you need to have, and what you need to do, to be ready if and when you decide to separate. In total, we examine nine functional areas of your operations including the back office as well as things like program, development, leadership, governance and technology.

Your Audit includes recommended next steps and, if our recommendation includes moving ahead with separation, you’ll receive a customized roadmap and a suggested timeline, based on your current situation.

From start the finish, this process usually takes about 8-12 weeks. And after going through our Audit process, you will come away with a clear assessment of your organization’s strengths and vulnerabilities related to becoming an independent nonprofit:

  • In which areas are you well positioned?
  • What are the areas where you need to build capacity or bring in outside experts?
  • What should you be concerned about or give extra attention to?
  • What are your most important next steps?
  • How much time should you plan for your separation?
  • What sort of workload can you expect related to the separation process?

Your Readiness Audit will reduce wasted time by allowing you to focus on the areas that need the most attention, and, just as importantly, it will provide you, your advisory board and your funders with the peace of mind to know it’s going to take for your organization to successfully separate.

  • The fee for the Separation Readiness Audit varies but is usually between $10,000-$14,000 
  • Length of Engagement: Usually about 8-12 weeks, depending on availability (yours and ours). If you need Audit turned around more quickly, let us know and we’ll see what’s possible.

Still have questions about the Separation Readiness Audit? Please see the FAQ below or email us at

And if you’re ready to get started, click the blue button below to get schedule your initial phone call.


What is the Separation Readiness Audit?

  • The Separation Readiness Audit is a 360° assessment of your organization through the lens of what it needs to be successful, both through the separation process and as a standalone nonprofit.

Who is the Separation Readiness Audit for?

  • The Separation Readiness Audit is for fiscally sponsored nonprofit projects that are considering separating from their fiscal sponsor.

How does the Separation Readiness Audit work?

  • We treat each client engagement as a unique endeavor, and, depending on your organization and the specific stage your organization is in, things will go a little bit differently. But here’s an example:
    * To get started, we’ll have a 20-minute phone call to make sure our services are a good for your needs.
    * If we decide to move forward, we’ll send you an online invoice and, when you submit payment via a secure link, we’ll get started.
    * We will then send you an initial request for data and information and schedule an initial call to discuss the full process and set-up the other stakeholder calls.
    * After we conduct all of the stakeholder calls, we will follow up with your detailed audit report including recommendations, a proposed timeline, and next steps for your project.
    * Following your receipt of the report, if desired, we can schedule a call to discuss these recommendations and go over any questions you and your team may have.
    * You and your team confidently move forward, prepared for what’s to come.

Each of our services works in a slightly different way but all of them start with you reaching out via email or an introductory phone call to ensure a fit. From there, each service follows its own path depending on what’s involved.

What if we purchase the Separation Readiness Audit and need more support?

  • While the Separation Readiness Audit is a fixed-length and fixed-scope project, our Separation Retainer service is much more flexible and designed to provide ongoing support when you need it. We also offer our Fiscal Sponsorship Cost-Value Assessment, which is wholly quantitative (compared to the qualitative nature of the Separation Readiness Audit) and provides detailed cost and value analysis of your project staying under fiscal sponsorship or going out on its own.

How come I’ve never seen anything like this before?

  • Good question. The concept of fiscal sponsorship, while not new, has been gaining acceptance and popularity over the few decades. Even so, this is an extremely focused market and an area that most people never experience. That may be why there aren’t a lot of people focusing on this kind of work.But after working in and around fiscal sponsorship for the last decade, we have unique, specialized knowledge and a deep understanding of what it takes to successfully separate from a sponsor and thrive as an independent nonprofit.

How much does the Separation Readiness Audit cost?

  • The fee for the Separation Readiness Audit is usually between $10,000 and $14,000. By moving forward with your project, you, both your organization and Schulman Consulting all agree to our terms of service.

What are the payment terms for Separation Consulting?

  • Payments are usually made in two installments — one before the work gets started, one after the report is delivered.

What if I’m not happy with the results?

  • Our goal is to provide you the tools, information, and peace of mind to understand what’s ahead and confidently make decisions, no matter where you are in the life cycle. Our success is based on your success. If we start a project and determine that we can’t provide you with actionable recommendations, we will refund your money.If we get to the end of the project and you’re not satisfied with the results, we will make best efforts, to provide you with the information and resources that meet your needs.

What if I need help in other areas of my organization?

  • If you have other needs, you may want to take a look at our full list of Services for Projects. If you are a fiscal sponsor, you should look at our Services for Sponsors. Depending on the circumstances, we sometimes develop custom engagements that meets of the needs of the organizations in our sector. Occasionally, we also take on other, non-fiscal sponsorship-related, projects depending on current and upcoming workload. If you are interested in discussing any of that, please contact us here.

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