Open Source Collective Update #1

From our 22 March 2019 board meeting

Open Source Collective Update #1

From our March 2019 board meeting

The Open Source Collective is a 501(c)(6) non-profit that serves as a fiscal sponsor for over 1,100 open source projects on Open Collective.

Our organization is built on transparency, in our budget, mission, and everything we do. We’ve just begun having regular board meetings, and we want to be open about what we’re up to.

Who’s on the board?


Note: January spike is thanks to Samsung Next Stack Zero grants

YTD as of 25 March, 2019

Balance: $102,437

Donations: $5,428
Host fees: $109,035

Legal & accounting: $8,650
ED role (Alanna): $4,035

*Host fees come from the 5% charge on Collective transactions


Monthly averages
Rounded approximations, at current levels with known costs
(host fees are likely to continue trending up, so this is a lower bound estimate)

Donations $450
Host fees $9,000

Legal & accounting $720
Alanna ED role $2,500

Total: Surplus of $6,230/month, plus existing reserves of ~$100K

Conclusion: It’s time to figure out how to use the resources of this organization to best serve the open source community!

Alanna’s Role

As executive director, Alanna is here to implement the vision and strategy of the Open Source Collective (as set by the board) on an operational level, to increase velocity, and to help the organization realize its potential by specifically focusing on it. Alanna splits her time between the Open Source Collective and Open Collective Inc, invoicing each separately.

Vision for 2019

What is OSC’s role in the ecosystem?
How should we spend our budget to best support FLOSS?

Vision Brainstorm:

  • Figure out what successful Collectives have right to get to where they are
  • Many projects don’t know how to do PR/sales/marketing — we should help
  • Big projects could be paying it forward up-/downstream more
  • Grow the culture of giving to support projects you use
  • Make it easy to fundraise, and to access help once there’s money
  • Help maintainers who don’t know they can fundraise at all
  • Talk about why our values like transparency are important
  • Make is easier for the average dev to see the “why” of FLOSS sutainability
  • Represent maintainers that often don’t get a voice (ex. standards bodies)
  • Enable maintainers with better marketing tools
  • Bring in more sponsors and connect them to projects
  • Value prop: why OC vs Patreon, give direct vs sponsoring conferences
  • Advocate for features in the OC platform that help FLOSS projects
  • Support the SustainOSS conference (Alanna to join organizer team)

OSC’s Unique Contribution

Ex. in contrast to Community Bridge or Patreon

  • Fiscal sponsorship
  • Transparency
  • We are open source ourselves
  • Providing missing piece of financial/legal infrastructure
    (but we need to make it more accessible)

Ideas for budget priorities:

  • Hire someone to help FLOSS projects, like an evangelist for marketing
  • Connect maintainers to talk to one another, facilitate peer support
  • Guides and support about sales and getting sponsors
  • Share successful techniques of projects like Webpack and ESLINT
  • Share and repeat Webpack’s approach to voting, sponsors, etc
  • Outreach tools, integrate with Github, more webhooks
  • Develop guidance for project governance

Key question: How do we serve both large projects and small ones?

Going Forward

The Open Source Collective Board will be meeting every six weeks from now on, and we plan to continue to be transparent about our activities.

If you have ideas inspired by the above, please share! Email, tweet at OpenCollective, or join our Discord.