Open Collective
Open Collective
Regarding your paused subscriptions & our future fiscal hosting situation
Published on March 17, 2024 by Thor Galle

Hello Readup contributors, some important news!

If you have been sending recurring donations to Readup via this Collective (thank you!), you may have gotten an email from Open Collective two days ago that mentioned the following:

The Readup Collective is in the process of transitioning between fiscal hosts. Your recurring contribution for $XX.XX/month has been paused.

The reason for this is that our current fiscal host on Open Collective, the Open Collective Foundation (OCF), will dissolve at the end of this year, and they have already stopped the possibility for collectives like ours to receive funds two days ago.

What are we doing about it? I'm trying to restore normal operations in the short term by moving the Readup Collective to a new fiscal host on Open Collective. Once that's done, you will be able to resubscribe to this new collective. You will get an email either from Open Collective or me with instructions. We're aiming to keep the process as painless as possible.

If you're curious about more background information, and routes we've considered to move on from this unfortunate event, read on.

Good thing: we can spend down

First and foremost, it's good to understand our current situation. Currently our OCF-hosted collective has $243.23 to spend, thanks to your donations. We can't get more donations right now, but we can still spend the current balance until September.

Our last monthly hosting expenses have been hovering slightly above $60, so we can expect to pay these expenses using the balance for four more months. In doing so, we should be able to fully empty our collective's balance.

It is comforting to know that we can still spend all your past donations solely to pay for Readup's expenses.

Routes forward

Of course, the balance will run out, and in at most a third of a year, we will need recurring donations to pay new bills!

This dissolution event naturally prompted me to reflect on the best way forward for gathering donations for Readup. The OCF also suggested paths forward, which I have considered.

All in all, Open Collective has proven to be a simple and transparent way to manage contributions to Readup. Jeff and I have gotten into a workflow of submitting and approving expenses with Open Collective over the past two years, without regrets. We can still improve on our fundraising efforts, and I see potential for better integration between our Open Collective and Readup to help with that. For these reasons, I would like to keep using the Open Collective platform.

I personally also appreciated not having to deal with tax reporting, accounting, bank accounts or similar administrative tasks for Readup. This is a feature unique to a fiscal hosting arrangement, and it comes with added fees: OCF charged 5%, other popular OC fiscal hosts charge 8%, 10%, or more. It would be possible to start an Independent Collective on OC, but that would also involve managing company admin tasks ourselves. From some back-of-the-envelope calculations, that didn't seem worth the effort.

For these reasons, I'd like to move our collective to a pre-existing (and hopefully long-term reliable) OC fiscal host.

What's next, concretely

Aside from the dissolving OCF, there are two other big, established OC fiscal sponsors:  Open Collective Europe (OCE), and the Open Source Collective (OSC).

I've decided to attempt to move to OCE first, for these reasons:
  • Slightly lower fees: the OCE charge a base fee of 8% on donations, while the OSC charges 10%
  • US bank account: while being an EU fiscal host, OCE still allows us to use USD as a currency. This is something I'd like to keep as-is.
  • Entry requirements: OCE's entry requirements seem less stringent. OSC has entry requirements that we could potentially fulfill, but it would clearly take more convincing, documentation, and work.
  • Communcation: the OCE is based in Belgium. I'm a Belgian, which may ease communication and understanding of local regulation.

I have initiated contact with the OCE, as well as the OCF, to organize this transfer. In the next weeks, I will be in touch about how it goes, and what the implications will be for you.

As always, thank you for reading with Readup, and for your donations!