Basic FAQ

How can I contact Open Collective Foundation? Where can I go with questions or concerns?

Email us at [email protected]. We will respond as soon as we can!
You can also join our Slack to get in touch with the entire Open Collective community. Check in at the #ocf channel.

What is the difference between Open Collective and Open Collective Foundation?

Open Collective is the software platform, which is made by a company called Open Collective Inc. Open Collective Foundation is a separate 501(c)(3) entity that uses the platform to provide fiscal hosting services. The two entities are legally completely separate, but share some of the same staff members and community guidelines.

What is the difference between fiscal hosting and fiscal sponsorship?

These two terms mean the same thing. See our Fiscal Hosting page for a detailed description.

What are your fees?

See our Fees page!

How does paying people work?

Payees should submit an expense in order to receive payment from a hosted Collective.

When are payments processed?

How can people donate to my Collective?

Individuals and organizations can contribute to your Collective in a variety of ways, including by credit card, bank transfer, and in-kind donations. See Financial Contributions for more information.

What types of Collectives do you host?

Open Collective Foundation hosts a variety of projects meeting our eligibility requirements.
A few example focuses include:
  • solidarity and mutual aid, community fridges and food justice, community gardens and farms, land justice, time banking, abolition, the solidarity economy,
  • humanitarian aid, pandemic response, bail funds, poverty and homelessness, climate justice, environmental justice, civil rights, immigrant rights,
  • education, research, labor, the arts, job training, civic engagement, privacy,
  • independent journalism, community radio and media, technology, community tech, digital infrastructure, governance,
  • and much much more.
OCF supports Collectives to build power within BIPOC, low-income, Womxn, LGBTQIA+, rural, immigrant, and many other other vibrant communities. Feel free to review our Mission and Values, Community Guidelines, and Guiding Principle for more on our approach.
OCF cannot host labor unions, since they are not "charitable" (and would be considered a 501(c)(5) rather than a 501(c)(3)). But there are ways that we can support unionization movements. Collectives that:
  • Provide support to workers who face poverty or hardship (sometimes called "hardship" or "solidarity" funds)
  • Help tenants fight evictions (for example during a pandemic) and other housing justice work
  • Educate, advocate, and/or run trainings about labor law in parallel with the work of a union caucus (please see our Political Activity policies for potentially-related information about political activities)
  • Organize the labor movement more generally
In order to make clear their distinction from the union itself, Collectives wanting to be hosted by OCF should:
  1. 1.
    Comply at all times with our Outside Entities Policy.
  2. 2.
    Have a name distinct from the union, which does not include the union's name or the word "union" within it.
    • ✅ Hardship Fund for Alpha University Student Workers
    • ⛔ Alpha University Workers Union Fund
  3. 3.
    Focus their language on supporting workers, removing language about "unionizing" from the "about" section of their profile.
    • "Our group's mission is to support Delta Company's Workers."
  4. 4.
    Make clear that the Collective is not controlled by the union.
Additionally, the work must be open ended in terms of length in order to meet the IRS's requirement of an "indefinite charitable class," meaning that the goal should be to support all striking workers at the organization, not just those striking right now or some specific subset of them. This does not mean that your work must last forever - only that, if you chose, it could. This makes clear to the IRS that you are not out to enrich a finite number of people with your donated funds.

Will our application be approved?

As long as your group is legitimate, meets all of the eligibility requirements, is aligned with one of our impact areas, and has no conflict with the Terms or limitations of our program, you can expect to be approved. We will follow up with you via email if we have any questions or concerns about your application.

Transferring in from a different fiscal sponsor?

If your application is approved and you want to move from a previous fiscal sponsorship agreement into Open Collective Foundation's hosting:
Since our hosted groups can only be hosted by OCF, you should
  1. 1.
    Dissolve your previous fiscal sponsorship agreement
  2. 2.
    Provide the bank documentation to the previous fiscal sponsor so that they know where to send the money. All the ways of sending money to your Open Collective account can be found here (You can pass this page onto your previous sponsor).
  3. 3.
    Inform us that the money is en route [email protected] so that we can check incoming funds and add the funds to your collective upon arrival.
  4. 4.
    An additional (less common step) is that we may need to sign a grant transfer agreement if a large amount of funds is coming from an active grant, but that should be initiated by the funder.