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Collectives

FAQ

What can I do with an Open Collective?

  • Collect financial contributions
  • Pay bills and reimburse expenses
  • Provide automatic budget transparency
  • Transact without incorporating your own legal entity

What is Open Collective good for?

You shouldn't have to incorporate a legal entity, start a new bank accounts, and do bookkeeping just to collect and spend money for a project—and with Open Collective you don't have to.

Open Collective is great for all kinds of collaborative groups, like meetups, open source projects, neighborhood associations, clubs, unions, movements, conferences, non-profits, grant recipients, and incubators.

Why should I use Open Collective?

Open Collective makes it easy to be transparent about your finances. We help you collect recurring or one-off contributions from sponsors, backers, or members. Spending from your Open Collective is simple: the person to be paid submits a receipt or invoice, you approve it, and they get paid. We believe that financial transparency creates stronger collaboration, so everyone can see how money flows in and out of your Collective.

What do Collectives spend money on?

There are as many answers to this question as there are Collectives! It's up to each community to decide how to spend their funds. Some communities delegate financial decision-making to a specific person or role, some develop policies about what should be funded, and others have processes to make spending decisions together as a group.

For ideas and examples, check out this article: Has Your Open Source Community Raised Money? Here’s How to Spend It.

Some common expenses are hosting costs, documentation, community moderation, printing t-shirts and stickers, conference travel expenses, food at meetups, time spend working on specific features, or even paying someone to work on a project full time!

For more details about how to spend money, see our documentation about expenses.

How is Open Collective different?

Some things that make Open Collective special:

  • Built for ongoing collaborative communities, not one-off campaigns or individual creators.
  • Open source and designed for financial and technical transparency.
  • Offers fiscal sponsorship as a service, using Fiscal Hosts.

For more details, see the comparison page.

How does paying people work?

Money contributed to a Collective goes to the bank account of the Fiscal Host. When someone wants to be paid, they submit an expense through your Collective page. After you approve it, the person is reimbursed via PayPal.

Expenses are visible publicly, so everyone can see how much money was spent and on what (though private details like emails, names, and addresses are only visible to that user and the Collective admins).

How much does it cost?

Like most other crowdfunding platforms, Open Collective takes a 5% commission (plus payment processing fees, approximately 3%).

Another additional fee may apply depending on the fiscal host (often 5%). A fiscal host is the organisation that maintains the bank account behind the scenes and takes care of bookkeeping, taxes, etc. If you operate an organization that can provide these services, you can fiscally host your own Collective, incurring no fiscal hosting fee.

See more details about fiscal hosts and pricing.

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