Spending money with Open Source Collective.
Individuals and organizations can request payment from a collective by submitting an expense.
In order to achieve your collective's mission, you need to spend the money you raise. We are here to facilitate that, and to take care of a lot of the admin for you. OSC functions as your collective's bank account and we process many kinds of payouts for our hosted groups.
There are a range of ways to pay out funds from your OSC budget, depending on what you're paying for and who you want to pay. Most payouts happen through Expenses on your Open Collective page, but we have also developed other options to meet the needs of our community in specific circumstances.
  • Reimbursement: Someone makes a purchase, then uploads the receipt to get paid back via an Expense.
  • Invoice: Paying someone for their time or specific services as a vendor or independent contractor, via an Expense.
  • Virtual card: Like a debit card linked to your Open Collective budget, which you can use to make online purchases. You later upload the receipt to an automatically generated Expense.

The Process

Using funds from your collective’s budget is simple:
  1. 1.
    Someone submits an expense. (Collective admins also have the option of drafting an expense and then sending an invitation to someone else to complete and submit it.)
  2. 2.
    A collective admin (someone on your team) approves it.
  3. 3.
    OSC's team reviews the expense (and confirms that the expense meets requirements, e.g., having a valid receipt).
  4. 4.
    The expense recipient gets paid.
Expenses are processed and paid out by Open Source Collective twice per week (on Mondays and Thursdays).
OSC can pay out funds via PayPal and electronic bank transfer via Wise (f.k.a. Transferwise). Make sure to review the Expenses and Getting Paid section of Open Collective’s documentation for a full overview of the process.
If you have any issues with a specific expense, the best way to get an answer is to post a comment on that expense page.

About expenses

Expense payments may relate to either an Invoice for work completed for the collective:
  • Invoices are used to pay people for work completed or their goods/services.
  • Within the invoice option, you can either upload your own invoice, or you can create one directly on the platform. You will be able to detail what the services/goods are, and can include multiple items
  • When someone uses invoices, they are treated as an independent contractor. If earnings exceed $600 in a year, they will be automatically issued a 1099 tax form to fill out per IRS regulations. (Reimbursements do not trigger the 1099 form). More info about taxes here.
...or a Reimbursement for purchases made on behalf of the collective:
  • Reimbursements are used to pay people (often volunteers) back when they have made purchases for the group - in these cases, receipts are required so that we can ensure the requested amount matches the purchased amount in order to approve the reimbursement.

For admins

Collective admins can set an expense policy to give guidance to expense submitters.


While we try to accommodate every request, we work within some limits defined by IRS rules, human capacity of our staff, and technical limitations.
  • OSC will only process payouts approved by an admin of the collective.
  • All expenditures must be allowable under 501(c)(6) regulations.
  • OSC cannot pay people in territories in the following sanctioned countries: Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela). In addition we may be unable to pay people in: Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Republic of South Sudan, Yemen.
  • OSC makes payments via Paypal, bank transfers, and virtual cards only, because these are integrated with the Open Collective platform.
  • We can't make direct payments via cashapp, venmo and similar services (because they don't allow nonprofits like OSC to sign up, among other reasons).
  • Payouts must be broken down into individual expenses with details about what the money is for—we do not normally pay out undifferentiated chunks of money.
  • We have certain paperwork requirements due to IRS rules—we have to collect W9 forms in some cases before we can pay someone. If any of these apply to you, we will let you know.
Questions about payouts? Email us.

Virtual Cards

Open Source Collective proivdes virtual cards to Collectives on request. Virtual cards allow you to pay for expenses online using your Collective's balance directly.