General FAQs

FAQ

What can I do with an Open Collective Foundation account?

  • Collect financial contributions

  • Pay bills and reimburse expenses

  • Provide automatic budget transparency

  • Transact without incorporating your own legal entity

What can't I do?

Fiscally sponsored projects need to obey the same restrictions as any 501(c)(3). This means that they must be charitable in purpose, and not engaged substantially in any political activities, like lobbying for specific candidates or legislation. - (https://www.propelnonprofits.org/resources/a-boards-guide-to-fiscal-sponsorship/)

  • You may not use your initiative's funds to influence legislation or politics (lobbying), to support breaking the law, or for private profit.

From our Terms & Conditions:

  • You can’t hold funds for the project in another account, or simultaneously have another fiscal sponsor for this project while we are your fiscal host.

  • You can’t use your initiative's funds for anything other than furthering your charitable purpose, and if you do you have to pay it back.

Why should I use Open Collective?

OCF uses the Open Collective platform to make it easy to be transparent about your finances. We help you collect recurring or one-off contributions from sponsors, backers, or members. Spending from your initiative is simple: the person to be paid submits a receipt or invoice, you approve it, and they get paid. We believe that financial transparency creates stronger collaboration, so everyone can see how money flows in and out of your Collective.

How is Open Collective Foundation different?

Some things that make Open Collective special:

  • Built for ongoing collaborative communities, not one-off campaigns or individual creators.

  • Open source and designed for financial and technical transparency.

  • Offers fiscal sponsorship as a service, using Fiscal Hosts.

For more details, see the fee comparison chart below.

How much does it cost?

Like most other fiscal hosts, Open Collective charges a fee for our services. As shown below, 5%-8% commission is charged on each incoming donation (plus the third-party payment processing fees i.e. Stripe, PayPal, Transferwise-approximately 3% charges on each transaction- as those services are used).

We use Open Collective Platform to organize our Fiscal Hosting. Though most crowdfunding platforms charge a fee, Open Collective has graciously offered their service to our Foundation for free.

If you prefer to pay no fiscal hosting fees, you can become your own fiscal host.

Fee Comparison Chart:

Fiscal Host

Hosted Collectives

Fee

Open Collective Foundation

US-based charity projects

5% for credit card payments, progressive fee structure for manual payments (8% down to 4% for larger budgets)

Open Source Collective

Open source projects

5%

Open Collective Europe ASBL

EU-based Collectives

5%

Open Collective Paris

Paris-based collectives

0%

Women Who Code

Local chapters

10%

Community Partners

US-based projects

9-12% + minimum balance/annual fee

Charitable Allies

1-25%

You're welcome to use us as a fiscal host for as long as you need and are eligible. You can cancel at any time. The Open Source Collective Platform offers great support and organization tools for fiscal hosts.

How long does it take to set up?

Applying takes only minutes. After that, we may have some additional clarifying questions for you, but once your application is accepted, you can begin accepting funds immediately. From applying to accepting donations, the whole process can take 30 minutes - 2 business days.

Is there a minimum required budget to be hosted?

Nope! Since the fees come out of the transactions/donations, there is no minimum required balance.

In this grant/partnership/vendor application, they ask for an IRS Department of Treasury Letter of Determination / Acceptance Letter stating 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Where can I find this?

Right here! Download link below:

Can my initiative accept in-kind or non-monetary donations?

Yes! We just need documentation of any in-kind donations you receive so we can report on it accurately. Please email us a list of what you've received.