You shouldn't have to incorporate a legal entity, start a new bank account, and set up bookkeeping just to collect and spend money for a project—and with Open Collective Foundation you don't have to.
We are a 501(c)(3) organization specializing in technology-driven, Comprehensive (Model A) fiscal hosting (what’s that?) for collaborative initiatives. We can be your legal entity and provide you with the financial tools you need to make an impact on the world! No bank account required.
Open Collective Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning our hosted initiatives are charitable projects that can receive tax-deductible donations.
This arrangement is perfect for charitable projects that want to move fast and reduce setup costs, especially since incorporating an entity and getting 501(c)(3) status can take over a year, requires a lot of admin to run, and likely requires hiring an accountant and a lawyer.
Further, hosted initiatives have access to one of the biggest benefits of 501(c)(3) status: being able to apply for special grants from foundations. Most major foundations, along with many companies, will only contribute to 501(c)(3) organizations and their sponsored initiatives. Make sure you take this into account when considering the best fit for your project or community!
Open Collective Foundation will take care of your initiative's tax filings and compliance requirements.
Open Collective Foundation issues 1099s to contracted workers when required, provides donors with receipts for their tax-deductible contributions, and files an annual Form 990 to the IRS on behalf of all of our hosted initiatives.
One thing that makes Open Collective Foundation different from other fiscal sponsors is the Open Collective platform, a powerful, open-source tool for managing your activities and funds transparently providing you with 24/7 access to collect, spend, and manage funds. You can quickly and easily:
Begin charitable/community work without setting up a legal entity or bank account
Create a public profile with your own URL
Receive tax-deductible financial contributions, with tax receipts generated automatically
Share financial activity and goals transparently with your team, supporters, and wider community
Pay expenses, reimbursements, and compensate team members for their work, with invoices generated automatically
Update and communicate with your financial contributors & admins
Set up events and sell tickets that go straight into your initiative's budget
Join the growing Open Collective network - Read our Community Guidelines
Traditional fiscal sponsors’ processes are often slow, manual, and opaque, whereas Open Collective is efficient, automatic, and transparent.
Our platform has great features that you won’t find in most accounting software, like integrated payments for expenses via Paypal or bank transfer. Your hosted initiative will be able to process large numbers of transactions, big or small, without the accounting headaches. You’ll no longer have to step into the complexity of a full fledged accounting tool in order to do basic budget tracking and good money management.
It also differs from crowdfunding platforms, particularly in how it is designed to be a home for ongoing collaborative communities, not individual creators or one-off campaigns. Unlike crowdfunding platforms, our service allows you to:
Access funds as they arrive, rather than in a lump sum at the end of the campaign
Spend funds for your initiative directly from the platform, rather than having the funds go through your personal bank account
Receive recurring monthly contributions
Accept tax-deductible contributions (this is a big incentive for donors)
View your initiative’s budget in full transparency
Export complete contribution and expense data in CSV documents
Unlike campaign-based crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe or Patreon, Open Collective can be a long-term home for your operations. We’re always working on new features to help you build community and accomplish your mission.
One of the greatest strengths of our platform is full transparency of both where money comes from and where it goes. When expenses are approved or contributions come through, the balance is updated in real time!
💡 The ability to see your initiative’s financial position and goals gives credibility to your organization, especially in the early stages, and helps to build an environment of collaboration and trust.
With a transparent process, team members and contributors can feel confident that the funds are being put to good use, while private details like emails, names, and addresses are only visible to administrators. Financial transparency creates stronger collaboration. Plus, when it’s time to report back to funders, you can just send them a link to your Open Collective profile.
The platform’s financial features also encourage best practices:
No more messy spreadsheets
Clear system of approvals and oversight
Financial processes are accessible to your team, funders, and community
Administrators, team members, contributors, and third parties such as potential funders or partners can all see what funds are coming in and what funds are going out (don’t worry - sensitive personal details remain private).
Open Collective Foundation can host two different kinds of initiatives: those that are focused on receiving money (Collectives), and those that are focused on distributing it (Funds):
Collectives are projects and groups that have a mission or purpose in the world, which they raise and spend funds transparently to achieve using the Open Collective platform. A Collective’s profile is primarily designed for raising money through crowdfunding.
Another type of initiative is a Fund. A Fund profile is primarily designed for disbursing money, e.g., through grantmaking.
❓ To learn more about the application process:
✅ If you're ready, Submit an Application