We wanted to make it easier for organisations to support multiple projects.
As opposed to a creating a collective, Funds is primarily designed for disbursing money, e.g., through grant-making. If you are more focused on disbursing funds than receiving them, a Fund may be a good fit for you.
A Fund includes:
a streamlined, single payer process for supporters
support for communities operating on Open Collective or elsewhere
a lightweight 'Request a Grant' process for projects issue money to grant recipients
Transparent financial management on the Open Collective Platform
More flexibility with what you choose to publicly show (in terms of expense management)
Protect identities of those receiving grants
e.g. emergency relief aid may not want to be as public
Will still be reported and available to fiscal host
A Fund is a profile designed for one or a few large sponsor companies to move chunks of money under our umbrella and then frictionlessly distribute it to as many collectives as they want. Some Funds are in the name of a particular company, while others are focused on a topic.
Big companies call the process for paying for stuff “procurement”. It’s often pretty involved, with contracts, invoices, purchasing order numbers, and bureaucracy—a painful thing to go through repeatedly for small amounts.
It is so much simpler and more practical to ask corporations to make one large payment, to one vendor. As an umbrella non-profit, we are set up for exactly this, and Funds are a feature on the platform to make the experience even better, and more scalable.
Funds can be created by an organisation.
Funds allows for more customization in the transparency of an initiative. This is a great way to issue grants to recipients of emergency aid, human rights activists and censorship targets, for example, for whom more privacy is essential.
It's also perfect for initiatives who want it to be easier to distribute money outside of Open Source Collective. Funds is the best way to manage your FOSS support fund to projects in or out of your OSC fund since you'll only need to deal with one vendor (us!).
With Funds, we can now offer more flexibility for managing finances and expenses.
Lots of projects sign up with us because they don’t have their own company or foundation to work through. But you don’t have to be on Open Collective. Any collective—whether they are part of a company, have their own foundation, work with another fiscal host, or are unincorporated—can get contributions from a Fund.
The Funds admins approve what money gets spent on, but when it comes to invoices, purchase orders, payment processing, tax forms, etc, they don't need to worry about it. We take care of all that, and interface with the payees. This makes it a lot easier for both of them.
The key to creating scalable, resilient projects is to support the community as a whole in ways that serve the full range of projects and creators. Open Collective liberates corporate support, getting it directly to projects at scale, across languages and ecosystems.
It's up to the creators of the Fund what the process is. Open Collective has a 'request a grant' function that some use to receive proposals from projects. Others use their Fund to process payments for an external program with its own process. Others have an internal team who decides where the money goes and they don't take requests. We carry out their decisions about what the money is spent on and handle the logistics, but the Fund administrators are in the driver's seat.
Reach out to us for more information if you are wanting to set up a Fund with OC!
For more information about our mission regarding funding and the initial organisations that came on board, please read Pia's release blog.