We have developed some terminology to describe interactions and roles on Open Collective. Please use these terms when creating issues or support requests.

We are all individuals

People are individuals. They can form entities inside Open Collective, like Organizations and Collectives, which enable collaborative impact and define interactions between individuals.

Entities & structure

Human beings with names. An individual signs up to Open Collective with their email address. An individual can take on different roles throughout the platform.

An Organization represents a company or legal entity in the world, with a shared identity, bank account, credit card, and resources. This is often how Sponsors engage on the platform.

Individual(s) who create and/or manage the Organization profile. They have rights to edit the settings of the Organization, set up financial contributions to Collectives, and set up gift cards, among other things.


A Fund, with a capital F, (as opposed to a Collective) is a streamlined, single-payer process for supporters. A Fund is likely less interested in the 'social' & crowdfunding aspects of fundraising. This type of account will have a more simplified version of our dashboard for those who don't want all the extra features that group-organizing benefits from.

A Fiscal Host is a type of Organization.

Fiscal hosting enables Collectives to transact financially without needing to legally incorporate. A fiscal host is a legal company or individual who holds a Collective’s funds in their bank account and can generate invoices and receipts for Financial Contributors. You can think of a fiscal host as an umbrella organization for the Collectives in it.

Individual(s) who create and/or manage the Fiscal Host is responsible for approving new Collectives who want to join the host and paying out expenses approved by Collective admins.

Fiscal Host admins want tools and workflows to easily manage their tasks (paying expenses and approving new Collectives). They need to charge their fees and keep a useful accounting system. They are often the first point of contact for the Core Contributors of Collectives they host, and many are super-users.

The primary entity most representative of the basis of our platform. A Collective represents a project or group that has a mission or purpose in the world, which they raise and spend funds transparently to achieve.

Individuals who are major contributors and represent the Collective with their face on the Collective page as part of the team.

A type of Core Contributor with additional permissions, so they can edit the Collective, change settings, approve expenses, make financial contributions to other Collectives, and receive messages from people trying to contact the Collective.

Core Contributors want to make their communities sustainable financially, so receiving financial contributions is first on their priority list. They use tools like tiers, goals, and social media sharing. They are interested in managing and growing their communities by creating events and sending updates.


Someone in charge of the financial records for the Collective. They have read access to all financial information (receipts, invoices, etc) bot not write access (they can't approve or pay expenses).

Individuals who register to attend a Collective's event. They often arrive through a direct link provided by the event organizers. They want a smooth, hassle-free experience, clear information about the event, and ideally a pathway to stay in touch or become contributors.

Independent Collective

An Independent Collective holds money for itself in its own bank account (Instead of joining a Fiscal Host to hold money on its behalf).

Learn more about Independent Collectives here.

User actions & relationships

Every action inside Open Collective is based on contribution.

The word we will use for "someone who contributes to a project" is "contributor". The buttons on tiers will say "contribute".

Financial Contributors

A company that supports a Collective financially, often at a higher tier. This is often called sponsorship in practice but can go by other names depending on the Collective's context, such as base supporters, members, etc.

Sponsors often represent companies with accounting and reporting needs. They may want brand exposure, access to or goodwill from a community, tangible benefits like support, or help with their recruiting efforts.

Supports a Collective financially, with a repeating or one-off contribution.

Individual Financial contributor can find a Collective in many ways:

Expense submitter

An individual who requests payment from the Collective's budget using the expense function.

There are two different formats to contribute financially:

  • One-time financial contribution

  • Recurring financial contribution

Non-financial Contributors

Supporting Collectives by providing the legal and financial infrastructure needed to accept money and make payments.

An individual can contribute with code (software) to an open-source project with a Collective

An individual who contributes time or skills to a Collective's mission.

Last updated

Ⓒ Open Collective 2024