Our goal is to make it easier to sustain open source projects.
Today, most of the value created by open source software is captured by companies. While many of them would love to give back and support the open source community, they simply cannot give money to individuals or to unincorporated communities for legal reasons.
That's why we have created the Open Source Collective as an umbrella organization for everyone.
We provide the legal infrastructure to open source projects around the world so that companies can easily support them financially and receive an invoice. Read more: A New Way to Fund Open Source Projects.
By joining the Open Source Collective, you can focus on your project and forget about accounting, taxes, invoices, etc. We take care of all of that for you.
These are our Terms of Fiscal Sponsorship.
What services do you offer?
In short: we make it easy for you to receive and disburse money without having to worry about accounting and invoicing (and setting up your own legal entity).
Beside the accounting, we coordinate with companies to comply with their purchase order process (e.g. we are already in the system of many companies as a preferred vendor).
We are also advocating for open source sustainability. We organize the Sustain OSS conference every year. And we build tools such as BackYouStack.com to make it easier for companies to understand that they are relying on a lot of open source projects, some of which need funding.
What types of projects do you accept?
We accept any open source project in any language and anywhere in the world. The only condition is to operate in full transparency (can we see your code somewhere publicly? Can we see that you are actively developing it as a community?) and to have some social proof (is there a community of people using your project?). If you are using Github and you already have a least 2 core contributors and 100 stars, then you can automatically create your collective here: https://opencollective.com/opensource/apply. If not, please reach out and give us some details about your project.
What payment methods do you support?
Beside the payment methods directly supported by the Open Collective Platform (credit cards via Stripe for one time and recurring donations) and PayPal for one time donations, we also support wire transfers and cheques for donations larger than $10k. Please contact us for details.
For paying out expenses and invoices that have been filed to your collective, we only support PayPal at the moment.
How much does it cost?
TLDR: 10% + payment processor fees.
There is 5% fiscal sponsorship fee to handle all the accounting. On top of that, there is also the 5% platform fee charged by Open Collective and the payment processor fee if applicable. When paying out expenses, PayPal also charges a fee.
Why not self hosting my collective?
If you are an individual, you probably don't want to self host your open source project as it will make it very hard for companies to support you.
If you have an existing legal entity, you could self host your collective and avoid the fiscal sponsorship fee. While that may sound like a good deal, you should think about a few things:
- It's easier for the community to trust a well known host that is already hosting many other collectives
- It's much easier for companies to support multiple collectives on the same host as they receive an aggregated monthly invoice. Many companies also have an heavy process to become a "preferred vendor". Do you have time to deal with that?
- Last but not least, do you really want to take on the administrative burden?
That said, there are a few cases when it's a good idea to self host your open source project:
- Most of your donations won't be in USD
- Most of your donations will be from individuals
- You don't expect to receive donations from any of the existing companies that are already supporting other open source collectives