Open Source Collective Update #2

From our May 2019 board meeting

Open Source Collective Update #2

From our May 2019 board meeting

The Open Source Collective is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization serving as a fiscal sponsor for over 1,200 open source projects on Open Collective. We believe in transparency, so we’re publishing regular recaps of what happens in our board meetings. For more details, like who’s on the board, please see our Collective page.

second update of the year

Recent Financials


Balance: $122,000

March income: $15,500
March expenses: $2,500

April income: $10,500
April expenses: $3,500

See our fully transparent budget for more details.

Operational Updates

Report from executive director Alanna Irving

  • We’ve been having a series of conversations with collaborators already active in our community about how to better support their work.
  • We’re co-funding the production of a 2 minute animated explainer video with Open Collective Inc, to help communicate what we offer.
  • Open Collective has been selected for Google Season of Docs, which will benefit Open Source Collective as well with improved documentation.
  • Weve engaged Open Collective Design to help differentiate our brand from Open Collective Inc.
  • We’re sponsoring Maintainerati, an event coming up in Berlin, and Open Collective lead dev Francois will attend.

Core Contributor Survey

We reached out the to core contributors of all the Collectives we fiscally host and asked them to respond to a survey about what is most important to them and how we can best serve our community.

See the full report here:

What Core Contributors Want
Results from our survey of open source maintainers

This sparked a discussion about how to best respond to theses needs:

Marketing and bringing in sponsors

  • Core contributors don’t know how to reach out as marketers often times
  • How about meetups to intro Collectives and sponsor companies?
  • Should we hire a sales person? People in specific projects have the most context, and a sales person has to deeply understand that context. We should focus more generally on helping our community as a whole.
  • Should we hire someone to build relationships with big sponsors and help them back their dependencies? Many companies already have open source community liaisons or advocates internally. We could talk to them more.
  • How much do companies actually give to open source? Not 20% time or open sourcing a repo, but actual financial contributions. We should find out, and try to influence the standard level and make it expected.
  • Create guidance for open source marketing?
  • We could help Collectives find out who their users are. Many projects don’t know. Something like a reverse BackYourStack. Potential collaboration with StackShare or Tidelift?
  • Culture change: make backing dependencies the expected thing. What if was as common as in repos?
  • Shift the conversation: this is not about charity, it’s about understanding dependencies and making the business case to support them and help them be reliable.

Maintainer Support Network

We’re moving forward with plans to facilitate some kind of peer support calls or meetups for maintainers:

  • Reduce isolation and burnout
  • Help support each other with personal and professional growth
  • Share knowledge and best practice
  • Encourage and support each other’s fundraising efforts

GitHub has been running some ‘office hours’ type calls that might be along similar lines. We want to connect with them to see if it makes sense to join forces.


The first organizer call for this year’s SustainOSS conference will happen this week (9 May), off the back of two past successful annual conferences. Alanna will be joining the team, along with Pia, Ben, and Justin (OSC board members). We want to figure out how to use the SustainOSS brand and network to continue serving the ecosystem.

Previous Updates

Open Source Collective Update
From our 22 March 2019 board meeting