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Receiving and Spending Money
So you've been approved. What next?
Once you apply to join Open Source Collective and receive an approval email from us, you can immediately get started with managing your collective on Open Collective.

Open Collective (the platform)

Open Collective is the software platform that Open Source Collective (OSC) uses with our hosted collectives to manage financial contributions and payments. Open Collective has a ton of features like transparent budgets, custom collective profiles, donation tiers, fundraising goals, and other tools now at your disposal.
Open Collective is also an open source project that manages its own budget, on the platform!
✅ For an overview of features and how to use the Open Collective platform, check out their documentation.

Receiving Funds

The Open Collective platform offers multiple ways for you to fund your project. Check out the Quick Start Guide which offers a few great ways to get started.
Our documentation includes information on how people can contribute directly to your collective. Feel free to share this Financial Contributions overview with your contributors.
In addition to direct donations, some of our collectives developed innovative ways to fund their projects. Read more about different funding options here.

Managing Expenses

Using funds from your collective’s budget to pay expenses is simple:
  1. 1.
    Someone can submit an expense on your collective's page OR collective admins can draft an expense and send an invitation to someone else to complete and submit it.
  2. 2.
    Once an expense is created, a collective admin (someone on your team) must review and approve it as an accurate and expected expense.
  3. 3.
    Next, a member of OSC's team reviews and approves the expense. This is done to ensure the expense meets requirements, e.g., having a valid receipt.
  4. 4.
    Once the expense is verified, 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.
Our tax status and the terms of our fiscal sponsorship agreement state that funds can only be used to further the cause of the projects we accept.
We have an incredibly broad policy on expenses that we will allow but sometimes we may need more information to understand how an expense meets our policy.
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.

Invoices

Invoices should be used to pay individuals for work completed on behalf of the collective:
  • Invoices are used to pay people for work or their services.
  • When someone uses an invoice, they are treated as an independent contractor. If earnings for an individual exceed $600 in a year, they will be automatically issued a 1099 tax form to fill out per IRS regulations. This is automatically generated by the Open Collective platform at the end of the year and managed by Open Source Collective. Reimbursements do not trigger the 1099 form. More info about taxes here.
  • 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.

Reimbursements

Create a reimbursement to pay 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.
  • Receipts are required so that we can ensure the requested amount matches the purchased amount in order to approve the reimbursement.

Virtual Cards

Open Source Collective provides virtual cards to Collectives on request. Virtual cards act like credit cards and allow you to pay for expenses online using your Collective's balance.

Policies and Limitations

Collective admins can set additional expense policies to give guidance to expense submitters.
While we try to accommodate every request, we work within some limits defined by the IRS, human capacity of our staff, and technical limitations.
  • OSC will only process payouts approved by an admin of the collective.
  • All expenditures must be permitted 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 only makes payments via Paypal, bank transfers, and virtual cards.
  • 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 that detail what the money is spent on. We do not pay out undifferentiated chunks of money.
  • We have certain paperwork requirements due to IRS rules and may need to collect W9 forms before we can pay someone. If this applies to you, we will let you know.
Questions about payouts? Email us.