Open Source Collective 501(c)(6)

Non-profit serving to fiscally host to open source Collectives and promote a sustainable open source ecosystem.


Non-profit serving to fiscally host to open source Collectives and promote a sustainable open source ecosystem.

Our mission is to promote a sustainable and healthy open source ecosystem and work for the common interests of those who create and use open source software.

Companies and people get huge value from the open source they use. But up to now, it’s been hard to give back financially unless a project formed its own foundation. Corporate sponsors especially need invoices and documentation that unincorporated projects can’t provide.

That’s why we’ve created the Open Source Collective as an umbrella organisation. It’s a non-profit providing financial and legal infrastructure that thousands of open source projects can share.

By joining the Open Source Collective, you can stay focused on your project and let us take care of accounting, taxes, invoices, and admin. Plus, your budget will be fully transparent for your community.

To join, click the “Apply” button at the top of this page.

Please read our Terms of Fiscal Sponsorship, which all Collectives agree to when they sign up with the Open Source Collective.


What services do you offer?

We make it easy for you to receive and disburse money without having to worry about accounting, invoicing, or setting up a legal entity or bank account for your project. You and other contributors can easily get reimbursed for expenses or paid for your time by submitting an invoice through your Collective.

We coordinate with sponsor companies to comply with their purchase order process and invoicing requirements. We have relationships with many large sponsors of open source and work to connect projects with supporters. We also advocate for open source sustainability, through conferences like SustainOSS and tools like BackYourStack.

Is the Open Source Collective a non-profit?

Yes. We are a registered 501(c)(6) non-profit in the United States, meaning our income is not used for private or shareholder benefit. Our resources, such as the fees we collect, are all invested back into our mission: to promote a sustainable and healthy open source ecosystem.

Donations to Collectives hosted by the Open Source Collective are not tax deductible. If you are a US-based project with an explicitly charitable mission, you may wish you apply to the Open Collective Foundation fiscal host instead, which is a 501(c)(3) organization offering US tax deductible donations to your Collective.

What payment methods do you support?

We accept credit cards, via Stripe, through the platform automatically. We also support wire transfers and cheques for large donations. We also can credit income to your Collective from outside sources like Eventbrite ticket sales or Threadless t-shirt sales. Please contact us if you’d like to coordinate receiving funds by alternative means.

All Collectives in the Open Source Collective are denominated in US dollars. If you want your Collective to be in a different locality and currency, please check out Open Collective Europe, Open Collective UK, or other fiscal hosts at

We pay out expenses via Paypal. We can arrange for payment by other means for special circumstances, such as countries that do not have Paypal, or very large amounts.

How much does it cost?

10% of incoming funds, plus payment processor fees. Of that fee, 5% goes to Open Source Collective to cover fiscal hosting services, and 5% goes to Open Collective Inc to support building and improving the software platform.

Can I avoid paying fees for fiscal hosting?

Yes, if you want to take on that responsibility yourself, you can become your own fiscal host instead of engaging the services of the Open Source Collective. To do this, you either need to already have a company and bank account set up, or use your personal bank account to hold funds. You will be responsible for paying out expenses, accounting, taxes, and admin.

To go this route, create your Collective and choose “create host” instead of signing up with an existing fiscal host like the Open Source Collective.

What types of projects do you accept?

We can accept any open source project, in any language, anywhere in the world. We can also accept open source related meetup groups, conferences, and advocacy, research, and awareness initiatives.

If you are an open source project with at least 100 stars on GitHub and at least two contributors, you will very likely be immediately approved.

What if we’re not on GitHub or not focused on building a codebase?

If you don’t fit 100 GitHub stars requirement, we will consider your application on a case by case basis, considering the following criteria:

  • Projects who don’t have their code repo on GitHub should show equivalent traction to the 100 stars requirement, whether through GitLab stars, evidence that the project is a dependency of other open source projects, or similar social validation.
  • User groups and should have at least 50 members and be able to demonstrate a genuine history of community activity (forum, events, publications, etc).
  • Your project must be directly related to open source (in general, or a specific open source project or area), not proprietary technology or any other topics.
  • If there’s a codebase at the heart of your project, it should be under an open source license.
  • If you are producing non-code content as a main activity, it should be licensed under Creative Commons or other copyleft framework.
  • Meetups or small event groups should have organized at least 2 events previously. You should be able to show where your community coordinates online and a history of activity. As further evidence, you agree to send photo/video documentation of your first event since joining Open Source Collective after it happens.
  • Conferences and larger events will be assessed on a case by case basis and may require specific risk assessment by our board. No expenses will be paid in advance of those funds being in the Collective budget (e.g. paying a venue hire fee ahead of the ticket sales that are meant to pay for that).
  • You understand that all agreements between your Collective and third parties, such as venue hire, employment contracts, speaker fees, etc, require explicit written permission in advance, since as fiscal sponsor the agreement is legally between the third party and Open Source Collective.

Who is behind the Open Source Collective?

The Open Source Collective was initiated by the same people who started Open Collective, but it is a seperate legal entity with its own mission and identity specifically about supporting Open Source (while Open Collective in general supports all kinds of communities). It's a 501(c)(6) non-profit based in the US.

Our board:

More questions?

Send us an email: [email protected]

We are fiscally hosting 1491 Collectives

Transparent budget of the Open Source Collective
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