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.
Make sure to also double-check that the funder accepts applications from “fiscally sponsored projects” (i.e. what OCF calls 'initiatives'). 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.)
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 Walnut, 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 initiatives 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.
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 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. Once we have received and processed the contribution, you will see the funds in your initiative’s budget.
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.
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.