Setting up an OpenCollective to raise funds globally and locally :-)

Hi everyone!

So here is a draft of an open source permanent crowdfunding tool that I propose you to use for the Open Food Network community.
Looks more value aligned than a Patreon, and also more adapted to what we want to do. And great founders behind the project (among them is Pia Mancini, one of the DemocracyOS founders, now working on DemocracyEarth, super interesting as well).

##Here is how it works:

  • We have a page for our global community: The “host” (legal entity) behind it is the Open Food Foundation, and collects donation in AUD.
  • On this page I have written the links to the local chapters (I only put 2 or 3 for the demo!)
  • Each local chapter (=instance) has its own page, with, when applicable, a local host collecting the money. If there is no local host, the global host collects for the local chapter (if the Open Food Foundation agrees of course!). So the tool also enable new communities to start raising funds before they have a local legal entity :slight_smile:
  • So for example, here is the page for OFN UK:, the local host is the local OFN UK CIC, and the donations are done in £
  • Each local chapter can write its own text / description (for the moment a lot is set up manually by the OpenCollective team)
  • So every local chapter can communicate to their local network, and invite them to support, either as backers (the backer can choose to give a regular donation, like 2$ per month, or a one shot one, or a yearly one) and we can propose, above a certain donation, that the backer become a sponsor (with some compensation, like their logo/name on the sponsor page)
  • If we want, we can set up a rule like: on every donation made to a local chapter, 10% goes directly to the global host (OpenFoodFoundation). I would rather support to couple OpenCollective with Co-budget and encourage contribution from local chapters to the global community, but we can discuss it :slight_smile:
  • The money collected by a local chapter can then be used to pay “expenses” (invoice from a dev for example), the expenses are submitted online and approved by those who have the right to approve expenses - decided by the local chapter) So there is also a transparency on the way the money is used. Again we have to see how/if we should couple that with Co-budget somehow.
  • The payments to the contributors (who submit expenses) are made through the contributors’paypal account for the moment.
  • The OpenCollective take a 5% commission + payment gateway fees (around 3%) (it’s written 10% on the FAQ so I asked a clarification, Xavier told me 5% at the Fest…) but they are open to discussion if we want to propose other forms of contribution to their Commons (not written but I understood that from the discussion I had with Xavier at the Fest). I’m not sure we have time to propose other forms of contribution though :wink:
  • The list of their investors is transparent:
  • We can integrate with GitHub so that the list of contributors/backers/sponsors appear on Github (ex:, OpenCollective here:

##So what do you think about it?
If you like it I propose you to setup everything for real with each local chapter and facilitate the discussion/decision on the things we need to decide collectively. And also propose a way to couple the use of OpenCollective and Co-budget (we discussed the 3 of us at the Fest!)

I have sent some of your profiles/email addresses, as well as the generic email address hello[at] for OFN australia, OFN UK and OFFrance. @lin_d_hop @NickWeir @nickwhite @Kirsten @serenity @danielle @sreeharsha don’t be surprised if you receive an email at some point from OpenCollective.
Ping @CynthiaReynolds, @sigmundpetersen, @maikel, @RohanM, @sstead, @apicella2, @fraschelo, @tschumilas, @MikeiLL, @Selmo, @lawrence

Have a look at for another live example.

WARNING: please don’t pay attention to the “contributors” that are on each page today, it was just for the draft, will do that properly if/when we agree to move forward :slight_smile:


love this @MyriamBoure !
Met up with them at OuiShare and see so many possibilities!

Great! Thanks Myriam.

Can we set up ‘Projects’ with crowdfunding pages?
In my mind the greatest utility will come from this in the context of funding new pieces of development or other work from a global network. As an example… we need to upgrade Spree. We want to share the cost as widely as possible so we set up a page with the cost of the work and ask the international collaboration to contribute. Once we raise the funds we start the work.

I’ll be interested to hear how others go raising funds through this platform in general. I get the impression most people that have done crowdfunding campaigns (myself included) develop a level of fear associated with them :slight_smile:

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Thank you for your feedbacks!
@lin_d_hop that’s why wa had a meeting with Derek from Co-budget and Xavier from OpenCollective at the OuiShare Fest, the idea would be to “couple” the use of OpenCollective (which enable to raise funds on a recurrent base) and CoBudget (which enable to collect money for a dedicated task, like Spree Upgrade).

Here is the process we discussed:

  • backers and sponsors give money to a local collective (ex: OFN UK), the money goes into the OFN UK wallet. We could create an integration with CoBudget so that the money becomes the funds available in Co-Budget for the entity “OFN UK”. In Co-Budget, individuals and legal entities can have an account, so here the entity OFN UK will have a line to spend on the tasks in Co-Budget, and the UK team will decide how to spend the money.
    In facts it’s a bit more complicated as I guess we might need a Co-Budget for each local instance and one for the global level (to discuss when we start experimenting with Co-Budget).
    But let’ say we only have one OFN Co-Budget for the moment. OFN UK will be able to spend the money on the “buckets” (=tasks) proposed by contributors in Co-Budget (ex: Spree Upgrade).
    Then when it’s done the doers submit the expense on OpenCollective (ex: invoice for dev).
    That’s just an example on how it could work :slight_smile:

About the crowdfunding side of it, the good thing here is that the tool is more like a “donate button” that you put on the website, but you can also advertise through campaigns (wikipedia style), but it’s always there, and people are encourage to give regular donations (x$ per month), but they can also choose to chip in.
So each local chapter can decide how they want to use it, either just behind a “donate” button, or if they want to build campaigns.

That’s how I see it :slight_smile:

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@MyriamBoure is it possible to get a test account on CoBudget now, so we can have a play with it?

The ideas we discussed Paris about adding small “tips” for customers to add that could contribute to the hub or to OFN generally were interesting and worth exploring in other instances.


@serenity can we have a test account on CoBudget?
I would like to move forward on setting up this OpenCollective action, what do you think? @Kirsten @serenity @danielle for Australia?
@lin_d_hop, @NickWeir and @pmackay for UK?
I know @CynthiaReynolds wants to move forward for Norway.
In France we are up to it as well.
So we can start only with two local chapters and see how it works :slight_smile:
Would be great to push the global as well with the first local chapters who want to give a go.
What do you think on the part of the OpenFoodFoundation? Even if you prefer to wait before using it for OFN Australia, could we set up the global page with the Open Food Foundation as a host?
We can also put that on the agenda for the next global hangout (14th June)

Thank you for your feedback :slight_smile:

hello :slight_smile:

i think this sounds cool and am interested to have a play with it and discussion here about aus. some questions that leap to mind for me are about integration with, or the quality of functionality to replace, our actual accounting systems. We’ve put a lot of work into getting these working to track projects and be able to generate the reports we need (for board and legally e.g. P/L, balance sheets etc), as well as integration with bank accounts so that paying invoices, coding spending etc all happens relatively seamlessly. Would hate to introduce something that required ‘de-automating’ these. Was there any discussion of integration with accounting systems e.g. Xero?

@MyriamBoure - how do I get a login so that I can have a closer look at this? will chase @serenity re. a co-budget account

Hi @Kirsten!
You can join the OpenCollective Slack ( and I write an email to you and Pia, most of the set up is still manually done, I have done that with Pia to set up the draft.
About integrations, to be honest I have no idea but Pia will be able to answer. I’m not sure the system is ready now (as I said most is done manually for the moment).
What are the fees you pay with Paypal currently on every donation?
Compared to a “donate” button (with Donorbox or paypal) OpenCollective is pretty expensive (5% + payment gateway fee, 2-3%, so it makes around 8%…) They took as a reference the crowdfunding sites which take 10%, but here we are in between crowdfunding and recurrent donation…

I put that as a discussion to have on the next global HO anyway.

Today people donate on the Open Food Network website through paypal buttons. I also had a look at donorbox which enable easy recurring donations. They charge (in France) 2,2% + 0,30 cts for Paypal, same for Donorbox below 1K€ donation per month (add 0,89% if >1K).
The value added from OpenCollective is on the consciousness of the global vs local and possibility to choose to donate to the global or local, see the contributors/backers, transparency on how the money is used, but this has a cost as well (5%+ payment gateway fees of 2,2% + 0,30 cts, so it’s more around 7-8% at the end).
Let’s discuss at the next HO :wink:

(PS: wordpress plugin for Donorbox)

@MyriamBoure - I’ve been having a look at / think about this and not sure where best to put my thoughts (e.g. direct to opencollective or here). Will dump them here for now and send them the link via email, with summary back to them perhaps after hangout next week . .
@lin_d_hop @pmackay @CynthiaReynolds

i love what they’re doing and think it is ace AND

####It looks to me like it is designed (at this stage at least) for ‘pre-organisation’ groups / projects
e.g. this is really / most useful if you don’t have an organisation that can take responsibility for money and you want to quickly and transparently raise and disburse funds

  • this is more suitable for some parts of ofn than others, e.g. countries that don’t have an organisation or perhaps particular projects that we’re trying to fund
  • for existing stuff (e.g. OFF org, OFN Aus etc), the reality is that this is likely adding a layer of complexity / cost that is not actually helpful e.g. we do not want to be manually entering hosting expenses, rent etc when these are currently automatically handled through credit card, bank and integration with our accounting system. At best we could do a quarterly entry by account code to make it transparent . . but this will also hit the next issue below
  • the recurring collection is particularly attractive, maybe switching to a model something like this for OFN Aus

####We want transparency and fund-raising features, but without actually putting all the money through it
There are some things we’re currently doing where having a project on OC and using to raise funds and report could be really cool - let’s use implementation of standing orders as an example. Given that basically everyone wants this, we want everyone to see who’s contributing to this and raise the remaining shortfall - so setting up a project on opencollective could be good

At the moment most likely funding for the MVP is coming from the UK, volunteer contribution from Rob, and Serenity and I chipping in cash from Eaterprises. It would be silly to put this through (current version of) OC. We can transfer money to OFF at no cost, UK pays a low fee through transferwise (mixed in w money for a bunch of other things) and there is no actual cash transfer re. Rob. OC currently has no way to deal with non-actual $ transfer and would incur unnecessary costs to do actual funds transfer

So my thoughts at the moment are:

  • is it in their pipeline to have ability to use as transparency module with ability to add and disburse ‘virtual’ payments alongside actual e.g. we say how much has been contributed and spent on particular things w/o money actually going through the platform? then we can use for fund-raising without getting caught out as described above
  • given that we’re likely to want a whole bunch of projects, for different countries, bits of work etc - would we be better to find / pay a dev to set up our own instance and avoid platform fees. We would then potentially get this person to adapt it to our needs and contribute to the greater project through feature development (to meet above requirements, potential integration with co-budget etc) and/or setup a regular donation to their project from OFF Core

Some initial thoughts, very happy to discuss! Serenity is sending me co-budget login . . reminding myself again to get that off her!

Thank you Kirsten for your smart thoughts :wink:

Maybe we can see OpenCollective as an equivalent of a Patreon? Patreon takes 5% commission, but you need an entity in the US, etc.
OC can work as a patreonage tool… so not all our expenses should go though it, but the money raised through OC sould be spend in a transparent way to enabe patrons to see how their money is spent.

OR to set up a patronage solution, we can also only have an HTML page and embed a Donorbox donation form (donorbox supports regular donations, the fees are only Stripe transactions fees, which are very low for non profits, 1,2% in France for example, + 0,89% if you receive more than 1000€ monthly) And share transparently on that page how the money is spent… but requires some dev work as you suggest Kirsten.
Maybe the work done by @nickwhite would be enough to start with it? Add a "donate/support" button on the marketplace site

Let’s discuss in our HO tomorrow :slight_smile: