How is this different to regular crowdfunding?
Transparent—everyone can see where the money comes from and where it goes.
Collective & Ongoing—designed for collaborative communities to be funded over time, not one-off campaigns or tied to a single individual.
Fundholding (a.k.a. fiscal sponsorship or auspicing)—instead of simply transferring you the funds, we hold them in our bank account and pay them out as you go, taking care of painful stuff like taxes, accounting, liability, and payment processing, so you don't have to. We offer charity fundholding as well, to help you meet philanthropic grant requirements and provide donation tax credits.
Who is this for?
A lot of groups are already using Open Collective around the world, like meetups, open source software projects, community initiatives, grassroots citizen movements, mutual aid groups, sector or interest-based coalitions, and projects receiving grants. What they have in common is being collectively organised, valuing transparency, and needing to get up and running quickly and easily without getting bogged down in paperwork and admin. But Aotearoa is unique, and Open Collective NZ is new, so who knows what will emerge!
What do I get if I sign up?
Essentially two things:
A fundholder, a legal entity with a bank account, through which you can interact with the world, so you don't need to manage your Collective's funds personally or incorporate a new legal entity. (Learn more about fiscal hosting).
A tech platform to help your Collective thrive, with features like crowdfunding, transparent budget tracking, and community engagement tools. (Learn more about the software).
How can you help me?
Provide invoices and receipts to your contributors, including donation tax receipts if your project is charitable.
Organise paying people who work on your project and reimbursing project expenses.
Give you an instant webpage to tell your story, engage your community, and fundraise.
Engage with grant applications as the fundholder and assist you with the process.
Register on supplier and vendor systems so companies can support you.
Provide documentation like bank account verification, company registration info, GST number, etc.
Sign contracts with vendors, venues, contractors or other third parties your project wants to engage.
Any other requests you have, to best of our ability!
What's with all these similarly named 'Collective' things?
Open Collective Inc is an international company that makes a software platform many entities around the world use to provide crowdfunding and fundholding services. Open Collective NZ (OCNZ) is an independent kiwi-owned company created to bring this service to Aotearoa. OCNZ has formed a partnership with a registered charitable trust in order to offer charity fundholding services, called The Gift Collective. The relationship between the kiwi ventures and Open Collective Inc is like that of any software vendor and customer (not a parent company or owner). If you join, your project, initiative, or community will become a Collective, with its own page on the platform to fundraise and manage your budget.
How much does it cost?
Collectives pay a percentage of funds raised to help cover the costs of providing our services, like admin, user support, legal, accounting, and the software platform. If your project has a charitable purpose and wants to operate under the umbrella of a registered charity, the fee is 8% and the fundholder is the Gift Collective. If you want more flexibility and lower fees, the fee is 5% and the fundholder is Open Collective NZ Ltd. Both fundholer options themselves have transparent budgets (see here and here). For credit card transactions, there's also a 2.9% payment processor charge from Stripe. This doesn't apply to bank transfer payments.
How do the fees stack up to the competition?
The standard fee for crowdfunding is 5-7% (plus credit card processing fees), but they don't provide fundholding. The standard fee for fundholding is ~10% (it varies a lot), but they don't provide crowdfunding or a tech platform. So we think our prices are pretty sweet!
Why are the fees higher for the charity option?
We have to do enhanced assessment, monitoring, and reporting on the financial activities of Gift Collective charity projects, to ensure everything is done by the book to comply with the regulations charities operate under, so the fees reflect higher overheads. It's worth it for projects who want to offer donation tax credits to funders or need have a registered charity entity be their fundholder for a grant. If these don't apply, the cheaper option might be the best bet.
Are you a not-for-profit?
The Gift Collective is under the umbrella of a registered charitable trust and is completely not-for-profit. OCNZ is a social enterprise incorporated as a limited company, but its legal terms specify that Collective funds can never become company profit and must be donated to charity if not used by the Collective who raised them. Any potential profit derives only from OCNZ's 5% fee for services. Everything about our budget is transparent, too!
What's the application process?
First you choose your fundholder, company (OCNZ) or charity (Gift Collective). Then you fill out a form telling us about who you are and what you're doing, and we review it. Sometimes we get in touch and ask for more info. The process is in place because we take on liability for your activities when we become your fundholder, and we have to ensure no one uses our accounts for anything dodgy or illegal. Applications to the Gift Collective have to meet stricter criteria, defined by what's allowed for charities (details). Once approved, we'll set up your Collective on the platform and you'll be good to go.
Do I need to charge GST on funds I raise?
It depends. Unconditional donations—where nothing specific is given in return—do not attract GST. Conditional payments—where the buyer gets something in return, like a product, service, or event ticket—may attract GST. The Open Collective platform is set up for both scenarios.
Can I get a refund of my contribution?
If you set up a recurring contribution to a Collective (e.g. $10/mo) you can cancel this any time. If there was a mistake (e.g. you typed an extra zero), or it was made fraudulently (e.g. unauthorised use of your credit card), it can always be refunded. For Collectives under OCNZ, we can also refund in cases of a project being cancelled, or if you simply change your mind, as long as the funds have not yet been spent by the Collective.
As a charity, the Gift Collective has certain restrictions for refunds, based on rules the IRD sets about how money must be spent on charitable purposes once a donation tax receipt has been issued, so refunds are at the discretion of the Gift Collective. If the funds were donated from a charity we can usually refund them back to that charity. We can usually redirect funds to another initiative under the Gift Collective umbrella or another charity working on a similar impact area. If we have signed a grant contract specifying circumstances where funds will be returned, those will be followed. In assessing whether refunds of online donations can be facilitated, we will determine whether the donation in question has already been applied to a charitable purpose or whether it is available to be released back to the donor.
Can I use my own bank account to hold my Collective's funds?
Yes, but not through us, as we provide a fundholding service. You can sign up directly with Open Collective and be your own fundholder.
I still have questions!
Feel free to get in touch.