Open Collective?

Do we want to try using Open Collective for collecting and managing the GOAT budget?

It is a platform that allows you to add your organization, linked to a fiscal sponsor, collect donations (one-time and recurring), and submit/approve expenses - all publicly visible. It encourages radical transparency of finances for open source project, and open organizations like ours. It seems like a good fit.

We would need to identify a non-profit to act as our “host” (fiscal sponsor). They would actually receive the money, send invoices to contributors, and send payments to organization members.

Cost: Open Collective takes a 5% cut for using the platform, and the fiscal host will take a cut themselves as well. This is typical for organizations that process donations on behalf of other projects/organizations.

Notably, Open Collective also has their own fiscal host called “Open Source Collective” ( - they will offer to be your organization’s host if you have a GitHub repo with 100+ stars, and they take 5%. They are a 501c6 (not 501c3) so donations that go through them are not deductible as charitable donations.

The Bionutrient Food Association was the fiscal host of GOAT 2018 (outside of Open Collective). @dornawcox suggested that Farm Hack could also fill the role. Are there other ideas?

What do others think of this idea?


Said it before and saying it here again. I love this idea! It promotes transparency, accountability, and could be a simple mechanism for crowdfunding as well as for sponsors to contribute still :slight_smile:


I’m definitely a fan.

I know some folks expressed some uncertainty about just how it would work for an organization like ours, since we’re not specifically developing software like a lot of the groups on OC. Would it perhaps be worth reaching out to a similar organization that currently uses the platform (like, to ask them about their experience?

I’m a member of which is an unincorporated group which hosts a democratically managed Mastodon instance using Open Collectives to handle our funds. The use of OC has made financal operations very smooth/easy for us.

We are about to move to a new OC host (which I think will still happen on the main OC platform), which is a cooperative, which will significantly reduce transaction fees for us (we collect a few thousand $ a year in contributions)

Slightly concerned about future trajectory of the project as its heavily venture capital funded. But I guess if things end up moving in a terrible direction projects can move to another method of handling their finances.

Happy to answer any questions

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Hi. Sorry . When you say that you are moving to a new OC you mean to an other platform that is competing with Open Collectives and is cheaper?

Thanks a lot

Hello @miguel
We are still be using the main Open Collectives platform just our host / fiscal sponsor changed.

It happened that Open Collective decided to stop acting as fiscal sponsor (I think for anyone) so this pushed us to move, although we were already in the process of doing so anyway. The discussion and decision making around this issue is documented on our Loomio

The host we are now using is cheaper

I just wrote up some notes after using open collective for the GOAT conference. Posted them here, feel free to comment there –

I also made it a Wiki, so hoping to get any edits or additional learnings from Dan or Juliet or others who worked on this.

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