OC Inc. Strategy 2023-2024: Mature Platform + Connected Teams = Strong Foundations

The next two years are about maturing the OC Inc. platform and connecting our teams so that we can scale our impact in the years to come.

OC Inc. Strategy 2023-2024: Mature Platform + Connected Teams = Strong Foundations
The next two years are about maturing the OC Inc. platform and connecting our teams so that we can scale our impact in the years to come.

The next two years are about maturing the OC Inc. platform and connecting our teams so that we can scale our impact.

We are working towards a world where transparency and collectivity are the norm. Our vision is a world where all groups can access the funding they need to do their work, regardless of their institutional status. Our role is to provide administrative, legal, and financial tooling for unincorporated groups to raise funds. We want Collectives to be able to focus on their mission without having to do tons of paperwork, open a bank account, or create a nonprofit or other legal entity.

In this post, we will review what Open Collective Inc. does, share the history and context that has led us to this moment, and then present our strategy for 2023-2024. The strategy is a guide – not a roadmap – and will be updated and refined in conversation with our internal teams and our community. Let us know what you think on slack, mastodon, twitter, or instagram.

What is Open Collective?

Open Collective is a fundraising platform and a network of nonprofits and other Fiscal Hosts that support 15,000+ groups around the world. A Fiscal Host is a legal entity that lends its legal status and bank account to an unincorporated group, which we call a Collective. The image below provides a general overview of how fundraising + access to nonprofit status and more come together. Note that each Fiscal Host determines the percentage that they need to take to sustain their staff and do the paperwork so that Collectives can focus on their mission.

Unincorporated groups can raise money on Open Collective without opening a bank account, talking to lawyers, or forming a nonprofit because our platform and Fiscal Hosts cover that. 

We are proud that our communities raised over $43M in 2022 (and $88M since 2016) with fully transparent budgets. Below, you can see some of our most active Collectives.

Our Discovery tool enables you to get an overview of our Collectives' impact.

History: OC Inc. from 2015-2022

  1. From 2015 to 2019, OC Inc. launched and built a platform, team, and a business model dedicated to social and financial impact in the open-source community and beyond.

  2. In 2020, we achieved product-market fit with money management and fundraising platform + fiscal hosting as a service. We did this by incubating a small cohort of Fiscal Hosts. Open Collective Inc. has grown +5x in the past 2 years and two of the nonprofit fiscal hosts that OC Inc. incubated -- Open Collective Foundation and Open Source Collective -- each grew 3x in 2022 alone. We went from: ~$17k/month in 2019 to ~$150k/month today; supporting ~3,000 Collectives in 2019 to ~15,000 Collectives today; a small team to a larger team – growing from ~5 people to ~25 people working across the Support, Operations, Engineering, Design, Community, and Product teams at OC Inc.

  3. The next phase is about getting ready for scale. We are focusing on maturing and streamlining our platform and improving how we work across teams. This is fundamental if we are to pave the way into a world of transparent budgets and fiscal hosting in the service of collective livelihoods. We believe that we are poised for immense growth; what we have achieved so far will seem like a drop in the bucket; and so we want to be able to scale in a thoughtful and sustainable way.

STRATEGY 2023-2024

The next two years are about maturing the OC Inc. platform and connecting our teams so that we can scale our impact.

We need to cement and strengthen Open Collective Inc. so that we can scale our impact in. This requires maturing our internal workflows and teams, connecting our collectives, co-designing an intuitive platform, and preparing to support even more Fiscal Hosts.

1. TEAM  

We will transform from an emergent to a mature workplace and team.

From 2015-2019, Open Collective was primarily a software company; until recently, the majority of our team was focused on the platform itself. This is evolving now. We are still a software company that relies upon our strong engineering team, but we are also a network of nonprofits and a fiscal host incubator dedicated to transparency and collectivity. This requires us to grow other aspects of our company: Operations, HR/Care, Communications, and Support. This is important to our internal health as a company, and critical for the overall experience people have when interacting with us. We will prioritize clarifying our teams and team processes, and our communication across teams, while retaining the freedom to work on what is needed within each team.

As an example, here is how our COO, Alanna Irving imagines her work will shift in relationship to the strategy.

A sketch of the teams emerging as we refine the platform and grow the non-platform aspects of our company: Operations, HR/Care, Community, and Support.


We’ll continue to be values-driven, sharing best practices and investing in our differences compared to other platforms.

We don’t have to be a generic platform that tries to please everyone. We will continue to live up to our unique, trusted reputation as a values-driven, commons-oriented, solidarity-oriented tech platform and ecosystem. We will create even more learning initiatives that draw upon our Collective’s educational projects and our Fiscal Hosts’ offerings, including the Open Collective Foundation’s Solidarity School, Open Source Collectives’ Sustain podcast, All for Climate’s Resilience Academy and learning on discord, and Social Change Nest’s trainings.

We will see what our community wants next. Do you want to attend an Open Collective conference, regional gatherings with collectives, or something else? We will develop the scope and approach to Exit to Community "e2c" with learning initiatives and we will continue our thought leadership in the areas that are aligned with our values of transparency, collectivity, and livelihoods in the commons.

As an example of this area of our strategy in action, in early 2023, we will be launching a podcast about e2c for cohorts of listeners to engage in.

Open Collective Inc. builds the platform. Fiscal Hosts (like Open Collective Foundation + Open Source Collective) offer their bank account + legal status to unincorporated groups.


We co-design our platform with/alongside our users and communities.

Our platform is the foundation that underpins our work. It allows our hosts to raise and manage money on behalf of thousands of projects. It reduces the accounting burden on organizations so they can focus on supporting them more efficiently and with better tooling.  This year we will focus on strengthening those foundations, including more of our users in our development process and on building toward a more coherent and cohesive vision for the platform.

Co-design with our community includes refining our UX and sharing our design files in alignment with our open design philosophy as you can see in this reflection from our Design team about the years ahead. Co-design also includes clarifying sprint process to better surface and tackle Product Areas that need attention. Watch minute 10:30-14:30 of this presentation to get a sense of how the Product team is considering an approach to the features we build based upon need, readiness, and alignment with the strategy. We are also expanding the product and design teams to better support engineers.


In this phase we will scale the usage of the platform by refining our workflows to allow the hosts we incubate to grow as well as selectively incubating new ones.

Our greatest success has been to incubate nonprofits and other legal entities which serve as fiscal hosts. These hosts are interdependent by design, with shared service agreements with OC Inc. and shared staff. Today the vast majority of OC Inc.’s income comes from three that we founded: Open Collective Foundation, Open Source Collective, and Open Collective Europe, and the majority of Collectives on the platform are hosted by them. We will continue to focus our attention in sectors that are aligned with our values of transparency and collectivity: open source, Solidarity Economy, and climate justice, for example.

There are many successful fiscal hosts that use the Open Collective platform that we did not incubate, such as All for Climate, Social Change Nest, Women Who Code, NumFOCUS, and more. We will continue to support and grow our relationship with them and evaluate new non incubated hosts’ needs on a case by case basis.  The decision to focus on the needs of the hosts we incubate and are already in deep relationship to was a difficult one, but we feel it is important in order to prepare the platform to be able to scale in a next phase with  influx of fiscal hosts that we do not incubate.

We will refine our approach to supporting fiscal hosts with platform features, shared best practices, and cultures of support and begin to synthesize this in a host playbook. For all hosts on the platform, we will continue to run our Community of Practice gatherings and to collaborate on initiatives that connect our collectives. This work will be done as a stepping stone that enables us to build the foundation to accommodate an influx of hosts with diverse needs and realities to come.

Focusing on supporting the needs of our incubated fiscal hosts means considering what success might look like for them. For example, the team at OC Europe analyzed the growth of the two largest non-profit fiscal hosts incubated by OC Inc. (Open Collective Foundation and Open Source Collective) and created financial projections for the responsible growth of OC Europe. We are going to work with them to support their growth strategy with our technology. These features will be available to all hosts on the platform.

To learn more about Open Collective, watch the 3 minute video below, and visit our platform.

1 minute video -- the teams behind our tech platform and fiscal hosts explain Open Collective.

Again, this strategy is a guide – not a roadmap – and will be updated and refined in conversation with our internal teams and our community. Join the conversation by connecting with a fiscal host, by talking to us in our community on Slack,  astodon, twitter, instagram, or by emailing us.

A visual summary, one more time! The next two years are about maturing the OC Inc. platform and connecting our teams so that we can scale our impact in the years to come.

Happy 2023 from the Open Collective team!

Talk to us on slack, mastodon, twitter, instagram, or by emailing us.