Open Collective
Open Collective
June 2020 update
Published on August 16, 2020 by Xavier Damman

This is the June 2020 update that I shared with the Open Collective team. I thought I'd publish it here for the record. I'll write another update for July-August. Thank you for your ongoing support 🙏




Covid-19 changed priorities

Movements for the climate went hibernating (or rather shifted to taking care of their local community in those difficult times).

Technical reasons

You can't just port a Ruby app (RebelsManager) to a different stack (Node/React).

This should be done using APIs but our current API is not developed enough (no mutations, "updates" not available on V2 but on V1, "conversations" available on V2 but not V1, ...)

Lack of enthousiasm (activism fatigue?)

What has been done

The Social Change Agency

  • I convinced the The Social Change Agency to become an open collective host for the UK. They were introduced to me by Sophie Marple that I got to work with when we set up the AllForClimate-UK fund. They are now hosting almost 100 collectives that are acting as mutual aid funds. Together, they already raised more than £200k from almost 2,000 backers.
  • I did a webinar with Amy from SCA organized by to explain open collective and how it can help during the COVID-19 pandemic (video).
  • I created a collective of Open Collective Europe Trainers that are helping hosts and collectives with webinars and other support. We also developed a script to walk through the Open Collective platform. First client has been The Social Change Agency.

All for Climate



  • Being able to customize emails is very important for hosts. It's still too hard to do (I had to do a PR).
  • GraphQL is cool. But the API + documentation is not inviting to create integrations with open collective.
  • Expense management has rough edges
  • You can't see the receipt big enough to read it until you click on it
  • You need to open every single expense to see if there has been an answer to your comment
  • When you go back to the list of expenses, you lost your position (need to scroll again to where you were)
  • When you open the host dashboard

Other activities

I'm a big believer that "Community is Immunity". That's why I've been focusing on rebuilding community bottom up, starting in our own street.

We created a citizen garden (twitter, open collective).

We are trying to #MakeSpaceForPeople. We started a few open letters for Sundays Without Cars and giving priority to soft mobility in our streets.

I've also been working on People Assemblies with Citizen Spring. We did one on 5G in English and French. I did a write up in French here: "Comment une assemblée populaire en ligne a fait changé mon avis sur la 5G".

What's next?

  • There is a need to move beyond existing currencies ($, €, £). Governments are printing more of them to bail out old industries that keep on burning fossil fuel. As long as we will keep using them, we defacto support those decisions.
  • Community is immunity. People don't want to go back to "old jobs". We need ways / excuses to bring people back together at the very local level. We need to help people reconnect with one another and rediscover the skills and talents available in their respective communities.
  • Working on, an open collective of facilitators with focus on providing a directory to help you find the facilitator you need