Here's what we're up to—we want your feedback!
Not long ago, OCF announced our strategy focused on solidarity. Now we want to share a more concrete plan to put it into action. Here's a rundown of what the OCF team is currently doing, what we plan to get started on soon, what we're seeking input on, and ideas for the future.
We invite you to read this and help us shape where we go next!
Join our Slack, come to a monthly Community Forum, respond to the initiative survey, and connect with us on IG / Twitter / Facebook / email.
Open Collective Foundation enables initiatives to raise and spend money under the umbrella of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, using a powerful open-source tech platform with financial and community engagement tools. We are radical administrators for a decentralized future.
—from Solidarity as our Guiding Principle
We are continuously improving our core operations, services, and programs, to serve mutual aid groups, open source projects, and all kinds of groups building solidarity and economic justice in their communities.
Core Operations / Radical Administration
If you've ever wondered what OCF staff do all day...
- User support and responding to inquiries
- Approving new initiatives
- Processing expenses
- Allocating incoming funds
- Audit and accounting systems
- Legal compliance and policy development
- Data insights (analytics dashboards, budget forecasting)
- Governance (board)
- Too many things to list!
New Services & Programs
- Art.coop Study-into-Action - a 7 week series to build knowledge and relationships across culture and the solidarity economy, open to the public for the first hour, every Friday, from 12-1pm EST.
- Virtual cards - so initiatives can spend their funds anywhere they'd use a credit or debit card online.
- Liability insurance - initiatives can access many types of insurance through OCF in a simple and cost-effective way.
- Free emails and Google Workspace access - Get email addresses using your custom domain, with access to Drive, Docs, etc.
- Grantmaking - Enabling hosted initiatives to make grants in their community, while OCF handles all the IRS compliance.
- Improved onboarding - Schedule an onboarding call now (you're welcome to even if you've been on board for a while already!), to experience a much richer intro to everything OCF has to offer.
- Crypto and stock donations - receive funds for your initiative in new ways.
- Employment - for initiative workers, including access to health insurance.
This is all in addition to our existing features.
Six Invitations to Engage
1. Offers & Needs Forum
In our monthly community forums (which you should come to!), initiatives are expressing a desire for more interconnection with each other and for mutual support. Interested? Let us know what you need and would like to offer by jumping into this Conversation.
2. Solidarity School
Where do you go to learn about and enact a culture of collectivity, transparent budgeting, shared governance, and open code? Art.coop Study-into-Action is the beginning of a much larger vision at OCF for learning that connects people who are organizing mutual aid, open source, timebanks, and all kinds of efforts within the solidarity economy.
Are you an educator, facilitator, or radical administrator who would like to support these learning efforts? Email Caroline to talk about working in partnership.
3. Tech Platform Development
The Open Collective platform is critical to everything we do, and we have a close partnership with the team that builds it. Open Collective highly values feedback from users on the ground, and OCF can be a key link.
As one of the largest fiscal hosts, OCF can influence the roadmap. However, we haven't had clear processes for determining and communicating software priorities. We will proactively work to understand the tech needs of our initiatives and their communities so we can advocate better.
4. Joining Movement Groups & Networks
OCF aspires to be a collaborator in the Solidarity Economy movement and among fiscal sponsorships. We have work to do to introduce ourselves to those already working in this space, and to begin building partnerships.
We are in conversations with the New Economy Coalition, the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, SeedCommons, Social Impact Commons, National Network of Fiscal Sponsors, and the US Solidarity Economy Network, among others.
5. Board Governance Development
OCF's board is great, but it's small and doesn't fully represent the diversity of our community. We would like to attract new board members, make board activities more transparent, and continue improving our internal governance processes. We're interested in how our community of initiatives and funders might want to be more involved in governance in the future. We will be actively exploring these areas in the coming months.
Do you know of any potential rad new board members? Give us a heads up!
6. Comms & Content Creation
We want to amplify the stories of our hosted initiatives and get better at telling our own story. There are groups out there who might benefit from joining OCF if they knew about it, and groups we already host who might not yet see the full scope of what offer. We also need to improve internal communications channels with our hosted initiatives and make information easier for them to find. This will include video, multimedia, documentation, blog posts, and social media, and hopefully collaborations with amazing creators in the solidarity economy movement.
Are you a social media pro already reaching a wide audience with your initiative hosted by OCF? We want to hire you! Email Caroline to learn more.
Four Exploration Areas
We've identified these priorities for research and experimentation, where we'll need to do some more learning to know exactly where opportunities may lead.
1. Collaborate with Visionaries: Lauren Ruffin
When we ask "Who is an amazing leader and visionary in our specific niche of fiscal sponsorship for radical justice?" the name of Lauren Ruffin always comes up. We're super stoked to say that Lauren will begin consulting with OCF part-time starting this week!
2. Livelihood for Local Movement Organizers
Our mission is about sustainability of the people and groups who drive the solidarity economy. We want to support more people to have stable livelihoods working full time on the movement—without limiting their autonomy, but with health insurance! This is not something OCF can or should take on alone. Supporting regional organizers is part of the strategies of many other aligned networks—we intend to pursue this idea through partnerships.
3. Giving Circles
Giving Circles can be thought of the solidarity economy version of philanthropy. Our existing technical and legal infrastructure could support more giving to happen collaboratively among groups of peers, transparently, while reducing the admin and logistical burdens. We need to research the regulatory implications and understand if our offering could fill a needed gap.
4. Collective Lending
Non-extractive, solidarity-based lending is an exciting area for exploration. Right now, most people lack access to loans based on transparency and trust, and there's a lot of injustice in banking, finance, and credit that reinforces structural racism, bias, and systemic oppression. Could OCF create a different approach, in partnership with groups that are already leading this work?
Ideas for the Future
- Participatory Governance: We would like to meaningfully involve our initiatives in governing OCF as a commons, but we have some groundwork to do first.
- Participatory budgeting: We could set aside a portion of fee revenue on an ongoing basis or experiment with one-off discretionary budgets and facilitate a PB process with our community.
- Expand the core team: It’s very possible that OCF will continue to grow and we’ll need more capacity on core operations. We just recently hired three people and we're not ready to grow the team more just yet.
- Initiative incubator: We will achieve some aspects of incubation, like capacity building and better interconnecting our community, through many aspects of the above strategic plan, but we don’t think a formal incubator program is the best approach right now.
We would love to hear what you think!
Some ways to connect and give feedback:
- Join the #ocf channel on our Slack.
- Attend a monthly Community Forum on the first Friday of the month—a facilitated hour of mutual support with with other initiatives and members of the OCF team.
- Respond to the initiative survey: What do you want next from OCF?
- Connect with us on IG / Twitter / Facebook / email.
💞 from the Open Collective Foundation team