Sometimes, you just don’t want to publicly say that you are supporting a collective.

Let’s say that you made a lot of money in the fossil fuel industry. It was a game for you, you were good at it. Hard to blame you.

But now, you realize how much of a problem fossil fuel is for our planet. You realize that we have to keep fossil fuel in the ground. Now.

So you wanna help. And among other things, you decide to financially support a collective like Extinction Rebellion. They have more than 500 chapters all around the world. A couple of them are on Open Collective.

So you want to give money but you don’t want that to be public. You don’t want this to come across as green washing. You just genuinely want to help because it’s the right thing to do.

Or let’s say that you just want to support a politically oriented collective and you don’t want that information to be public.

For those cases (and many others), we want to make sure that it is easy to make a donation anonymously to any open collective. That’s why we built the “Incognito” feature. Whenever you make a financial contribution, you can select the “Incognito” profile. That way, you won’t show up as a financial contributor on the page of the collective.

What about KYC (Know Your Customer)?

No financial transaction in the current banking system is fully anonymous by law. So the fiscal sponsor and the administrators of the collective that you are supporting can access your name and email address. But this private information won’t be published anywhere.

Beyond the law, we also feel that it is the right thing to do.  The core contributors of the collective should know where the money comes from.

What about transparency?

There is a fine line between transparency and privacy. People should have the right to know where the money comes from, but people should also have the right to remain anonymous. It’s a case by case situation. That’s why at the platform level we want to make sure that we give all the information that the collective needs to make informed decisions.

The administrators of the collective can find out the identity of the donor if they want to (they can always export the list of backers with their name and email address). They could decide to not accept the donation (by issuing a refund) or they could reach out to the donor to work out how they could inform the community about where the money is coming from without compromising their identity. That’s up to them to decide. Every collective is different.

In all cases, on the public collective page on opencollective.com, the donor will show up as “incognito”.

What else would you like to see on Open Collective?

Everything we do at Open Collective is open source. Anyone can create an issue on our Github to report a bug but also to request new features. That’s exactly what Juliette from Amsterdam did for this incognito feature (see the issue). Thank you!

Don’t hesitate to share with us what you would like to see on Open Collective. We are here for you. Especially if you are working on the climate emergency, we want to build the software you need to support you. Because it matters, because we care, because we love you for dedicating that time for our common future, and because there won’t be any open source or open communities on a dead planet.

With love and rage,

Onwards!