Becoming a Fiscal Host

FAQ

Why become a Fiscal Host?

By becoming a Fiscal Host, you can enable Collectives to accept and disburse money in full transparency, without having to create their own legal entity and bank account. Collectives can then pursue their activities, be accountable to funders, and automatically keep good records.

You can be a Fiscal Host for lots of Collectives or just for your own Collective.

What kinds of things are Fiscal Hosts used for?

  • Open source projects or similar unincorporated distributed collaborations

  • Decentralized organizations with semi-autonomous teams or projects

  • Movements with chapters or subgroups

  • Meetup networks with many local groups under one umbrella

  • Citizen groups in a geographical area

  • Foundations who give grants to unincorporated projects

  • Advocates who want to help certain startup ventures get going, such as cooperatives

  • Incubators or accelerators supporting many early stage teams

  • Hosting a single Collective to enable transparent budgeting

Who are hosts?

  • HQ/umbrella organizations with Collectives for each of their chapters (e.g. Women Who Code)

  • Organizations that support an ecosystem by hosting Collectives in a specific area/vertical/topic (e.g. Open Source Collective)

  • Charitable organizations who host Collectives that align with their mission (e.g. Open Collective Foundation)

  • Organizations that host different Collectives in a certain city or country (e.g. BrusselsTogether)

Things to consider when becoming a host

  • Have you looked into the tax implications in your country of being a fiscal sponsor?

  • Have you thought about a system and policies for onboarding new Collectives?

  • Do you have a Stripe and PayPal account set up, and a bank account to connect them to?

  • Do you have admin capacity to validate and pay out approved expenses for your Collectives?

As a Fiscal Host, you are responsible for the financial activity flowing through your bank account. You need to make sure that your Collectives are not doing money laundering or other nefarious activities. You don't want to open the door to just anyone to create a Collective under your umbrella. Think about some policies for determining whether a Collective is a good fit.

We give you the tools you need to manage applications by new Collectives. You can specify your policies on your host page, and if a Collective wants to join you'll get a notification with the option to approve them or not.

Open Collective is designed to make it easy to validate every expense as part of the two-step approval process. The first step is approval from the Collective admins, who check if the expense is a legitimate use of funds to further the project, and then it goes to the Fiscal Host admin to check that the paperwork is in order (like receipts) and nothing looks fishy. Only then do you actually pay out the funds.

Requirements

To be Fiscal Host, you need:

  • A legal entity

  • A bank account

  • A Stripe account (optional, to enable credit card payments)

  • A PayPal account (optional, for incoming or outgoing payments)

  • Someone to serve as admin (or multiple admins)

Individuals can be Fiscal Hosts using personal bank accounts, but you will be personally responsible for any tax and legal implications. Most fiscal hosts for larger numbers of Collectives operate through a legal entity.