Last updated: 05/30/2019 - 11:40am


An Alternative to the 501(C)3

Consortia Advantages

  •   Faster
  •   Easier
  •   Less expensive
  •   Less regulations
  •   More flexible

Similarities to 501(C)3

  •   Eligible for grants and gifts
  •   Tax exempt donations
  •   Formal governance
  •   Limited liability

Other Consortia Benefits

  •   ASU affiliation
  •   ASU financials



Consortia are established to meet the common goals of two or more universities, companies, and/or other individuals and organizations. Collaborations may include domestic and/or foreign partners. In joining together, the partners are able to bring in their respective technical expertise as well as their facilities and respective networks. This combination of complementary resources allows the consortium to participate in and/or benefit from high quality, collaborative activities which might not otherwise be possible.

A key element of a consortium is that while one organization will need to take the lead on managing the day to day (invoicing, cash management, etc.) operation, decisions affecting the consortium are made jointly by the partners and voting membership. No one member has control over the governance of the consortium.

Funding for consortium activities may come from internal and external resources. For example, voting members may decide to use some of the membership fees for projects. In other scenarios, a source from outside the consortium (e.g. NSF, DOE, etc.} may provide funds for the membership to carry out a project.

A consortium is formed using an agreement, signed by all partners; which outlines the mission, governance structure, responsibilities, intellectual property rights, and expected membership. This type of agreement can be developed by ASU, in conjunction with the investigators and partners, without the use of external legal assistance and/or the need for incorporation as a nonprofit entity.


The critical steps to setting up a consortium are similar to steps taken in setting up any business, and include items such as:


1.      Identification of the scope
2.      Development of the mission and goals
3.      Determination of deliverables to meet the vision
4.      Identification of potential partners and members
5.      Determination of the membership types and dues
6.      Creation of an adequate budget
7.      Development of the operational structure
8.      Adoption of bylaws



ASU's Office of Industry Research and Collaboration facilitates the establishment of consortia, by working with investigators to determine viability, to develop the agreement, and to provide guidance and assistance throughout
the life of the consortium.

For further information about the use of a consortium for collective successes, contact the Office of Industry Research and Collaboration at

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