Open Source Collective is the fiscal host to over 3,000 open source projects and adjacent communities.
Fiscal hosting is when an organization holds funds on behalf of smaller projects (which we call them Collectives). A fiscal host becomes the financial and legal representative for otherwise unincorporated groups.
Fiscal hosts often provide administrative support and services such as financial oversight and management. We use the Open Collective platform to manage all financial transactions with the collectives we host.
“Fiscal sponsorship” and “fiscal hosting” mean exactly the same thing.
In the US, you will primarily hear the term “fiscal sponsorship,” but since Open Collective works with groups all over the world, we use the term “fiscal hosting” to be inclusive of a variety of similar international arrangements between sponsoring or hosting organizations and smaller groups they are working with.
One other term you may run into is “fiscal agent.” This term is often mistakenly used to refer to fiscal sponsors/hosts, but actually refers to a different type of legal arrangement.
As the fiscal host, we hold our collectives’ funds in our bank account and are responsible for taxes, accounting, legal compliance, and financial administration. While our hosted collectives have a great deal of autonomy within the bounds of our Terms, Open Source Collective ultimately is responsible for the oversight of collectives’ funds.
Our services are great for a variety of community-focused and collaborative projects, but consider your long-term needs before selecting a fiscal host!
As a 501c6 we are not a registered charity so we do not offer tax-deductible donations to contributors. If this is important you may wish to look at NumFOCUS, or if your project has a direct charitable or social impact that benefits the public good, you should consider our friends at Open Collective Foundation.
There are also fiscal sponsors that operate without the Open Collective platform. Some may be within your sector or offer different services that fit your specific needs. Before you move forward with another fiscal sponsor, make sure to consider whether they are aligned with your mission, whether their technology and processes are smooth and straightforward, and whether they are transparent to their donors and sponsored projects.