How to Apply

A step-by-step guide to becoming a Collective with OCF

Before you apply:

  1. 1.
    Read through this documentation and FAQs and review the Terms of Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement (a.k.a. our Terms and Conditions - when you submit your application, you will tick a box to agree to these. This is our Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement/MOA.)
  2. 2.
    Ensure that you are eligible for fiscal hosting with Open Collective Foundation and are familiar with the Open Collective Community Guidelines
  3. 3.
    Be familiar with the Restrictions & Limitations of our program
  4. 4.
    Review our Cash Assistance Policy, Outside Entities Policy, and Outside Accounts Policy to ensure that OCF's fiscal hosting is right for you
  5. 5.
    Review our fee structure
  6. 6.
    Have at least 2 community members ready to add as Admins. Admins have full permissions to change settings, approve expenses, and make financial contributions from the budget balance of your Collective. Applications with less than 2 admins will not be accepted.

As a reminder:

  • If your Collective is hosted by the Foundation, donations made through Open Collective are tax-deductible for your financial contributors.
  • You retain ownership of all your Collective's intellectual property.
  • About Third parties: If you want to enter into an agreement with someone else, such as a contract with a vendor or providing a specific service to a sponsor, you need to get our permission, because legally that agreement is with the Foundation as the legal entity. This applies to employing people as well. If you ask us to sign a contract for you, you agree to fulfill the terms of that contract.
  • Your Collective cannot have multiple fiscal sponsors, legal entities, or outside bank accounts. All funds must be held in your Open Collective account in order to accurately represent your budget/activities.
  • Groups hosted by OCF must obtain approval in advance from OCF staff prior to the purchase of any large assets (e.g. cars, property) as these assets would be owned by OCF
  • We will hold and manage funds on behalf of your Collective and we won't use them for anything else.
  • We charge fees on all incoming donations for our services.
  • If your Collective decides to use our Employment offerings, OCF is the employer (not the Collective) - this means any hirings/firings must go through OCF.
  • About Disbursements: Generally we only pay expenses for activities within the US. If you want to fund international activities, get our permission first, or we might not be able to pay the expense.
  • If your Collective's mission or name ever changes, you must inform us (and depending on the changes, we may ask you to reapply as a new Collective.)
  • Once funds enter into a 501(c)(3), they must remain in the 501(c)(3) sphere. This means if your Collective closes down, your funds cannot be returned, and can either be spent on project expenses or must be transferred to another 501(c)(3) - perhaps another OCF-hosted Collective!
All this information is available in our Terms of Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement Agreement. You agree to these terms by ticking a box when you submit your application (also called your Collective Profile page) for hosting under OCF.
💡Is OCF Right for you? - An objective and detailed legal analysis

The Application

Applying to be hosted by Open Collective Foundation takes only minutes!
You can prepare your application by previewing the questions:
The application will have you choose whether you are starting a new collective or applying with an existing one. If you have never used the Open Collective platform before, you will select 'Create New Collective' where you will be guided through the application and account creation: We'll provide you with some more information about being hosted by Open Collective Foundation and ask you to accept our Terms of Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement. Once you have reviewed our terms, proceed and review our fee structure as well.
When you are ready, you can go to our profile and click Apply! Fill out the application questions, accept the Open Collective platform terms of service, and submit.
Remember to add at least 2 community members to your team!
Everything you enter into the application will be editable later on, so don't worry about making it perfect.
If we have questions about your application, we may reach out to you to schedule a chat or request additional materials.
If your application is rejected, you will be informed as to why. You are welcome to reapply if adjustments are made to align with our requirements. We try to respond to applications within two business days.
If your Collective is accepted, congratulations! Once you have set up your Collective’s Open Collective page, you can begin accepting contributions (donations). We will reach out to notify you of your acceptance. We will provide you with a copy of your application for your reference (you may want to use the answers you submitted to expand and customize your Open Collective profile) and instructions for how to get started.
Be sure to check your Spam folder for correspondence from OCF. Sometimes our emails end up in there.

Transitioning to Open Collective Foundation

If you are transitioning to OCF from another fiscal host that also uses the Open Collective platform, the process is relatively simple.
If your Collective is currently with another organization that does not use Open Collective platform, the process will depend on that organization’s requirements, but in a nutshell they can transfer your money over and you can get up and running with OCF.
You can follow the steps described here to ensure a smooth transition.
Please be sure to communicate your plans to both OCF and your old fiscal host in advance of your application.
All funds for your hosted Collective must be transferred to Open Collective Foundation, since Collectives may not hold funds for the project in any other bank account while hosted by OCF. Our normal fees apply to any funds transferred in.