Applying for Grants
The opportunity to apply for grants is one of the biggest benefits of being hosted by a 501(c)(3) organization like Open Collective Foundation.
When drafting grant applications, you will likely need info like our EIN number, address, and maybe even our banking information. You may also need to upload our IRS Determination Letter. Please check the Official Information and Documents page first, and if the application asks for info or documentation not listed there (such as our most recent audit, 990, or other budget documents), reach out and we will endeavor to put it together for you.
If you need an approximate running total of our operational budget, that can be found on our OC Dashboard along with our current balance.
Some applications will ask for a document describing the fiscal sponsorship relationship. If they do, you can send them our Terms of Fiscal Sponsorship (you agree to these when you sign up with us.)
If they ask for a signed MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), email us at [email protected] to request one. Please be sure to include you Collective's name in the request.
Make sure to also double-check that the funder accepts applications from “fiscally sponsored projects” (i.e. what OCF calls 'Collectives'). Although fiscal hosting (a.k.a. fiscal sponsorship) is an established and widespread practice in the nonprofit world, there are funders that do not allow it. If their guidelines do not say, reach out to them and ask! (And in general, don’t be afraid to ask funders questions.)
When you are applying for a grant, keep in mind that this can be a time-consuming process! Try to let us know well in advance of the due date about what you need so that we have time to prepare and so that we don’t run the risk of missing a deadline.
Since Open Collective Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, our projects are eligible to apply for many government grants. Please be aware, however, that there may be some government grant programs that do not accept fiscally sponsored projects or require the fiscal sponsor to be based in their geographic area of focus (OCF is based in Covina, California).
Some large (e.g., federal) government programs also have extremely complicated application processes that require significant, time-intensive work from you and our staff. Because of the labor involved, as well as some of their restrictions, our Collectives may not be able to submit such applications.
If you are interested in a government grant, please reach out to us early in the process so we can determine whether or not we will be able to apply.
OCF's DUNS number is 123050316.
If your grant application has been approved, congratulations! The first thing the funder is likely to do is provide a grant contract that needs to be signed.
Since grant contracts are legal agreements between the funder and Open Collective Foundation, they will need to be signed by an OCF staff member. Once you receive a grant contract, please send it to [email protected] or ask the funder to send it to us directly.
If your Collective is receiving funds from a large grantmaker, they may require your Collective to have liability insurance. That's something we can help with!
If they provide you with an ACH form (for payments via bank transfer) or ask for our mailing address (to contribute via check), you can send that information to them. If it needs to be signed by an Open Collective Foundation team member, send it to us via email.
Please be sure to send an email to us when the funds are en route so our finance team can look out for them. Once we have received and processed the contribution, you will see the funds in your Collective’s budget.
All checks must be made out to Open Collective Foundation. We cannot accept checks that are made out to your Collective’s name or an individual person.
Checks not made out to us will have to be returned to the funder and we will request a new check. This will delay the funds’ arrival into your budget. Your Collective’s name should be in the memo line, or in the accompanying letter. The check must be made payable to Open Collective Foundation.
Like all fundraising relationships, it is important to cultivate and maintain (a.k.a. “steward”) your connections with funders.
At the most basic level, make sure to thank them! The Open Collective platform automates some of this by displaying your financial contributors on your page, and sending email notifications related to transactions, but a personal touch can be great. Other features that can be useful are automated thank-you tweets to contributors and mentioning funders in Updates about your activities.
Admins of an Collective can download a file containing their contributors (donors) from the Settings Menu>Export
You should also ensure that you meet all of their requirements while completing the work, provided they are aligned with your mission. Most common among these are grant reports.
Make sure to punctually submit completed annual, interim, and/or final reports to the funder as requested. We recommend you post such reports as Updates on your Open Collective page, so your wider community can see it too.
Since as your fiscal host we are technically the grant recipient, sometimes the funder will send information about reports to our staff, but we will always make sure to forward such information to you.