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 and groups to be funded over time, not one-off campaigns (like Kickstarter or Givealittle) or tied to an individual (like Patreon).
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, and take care of painful stuff like taxes, accounting, liability, and payment processing.
What kind of groups is this for?
A lot of groups are already using Open Collective overseas, like meetups, open source software projects, community initiatives, grassroots citizen movements, mutual aid groups, networks hosting events or conferences, sector or interest-based coalitions, and projects receiving grants. What they have in common is being collectively organised, not owned by any one person or company, wanting to keep money in a neutral place, valuing transparency, and needing to get up and running quickly and easily without getting bogged down in paperwork. But Aotearoa is unique and who knows what will emerge here!
What do I get if I sign up?
Essentially two things:
A fundholder legal entity, an oganisation with a bank account who can interact with the world on your behalf, so you don't need to manage your Collective's funds personally, nor incorporate your own legal entity and set up a bank account for it.
A tech platform to help your Collective thrive. It has lots of features like crowdfunding, transparent budget tracking, and community engagement tools. Learn more about the software features.
What kind of things can you help with?
Provide invoices and receipts to your sponsors and donors.
Register on supplier and vendor systems so companies can support you.
Provide any documentation needed, like bank account verification, company registration info, GST number, etc.
Sign contracts with vendors, venues, contractors or other third parties who your project wants to engage.
Organise paying people who need reimbursements or payment for services, whether in NZ or overseas.
Engage with grant applications as the fundholder and assist you with the process.
Any other requests you have, to best of our ability!
How much does it cost and what do the fees go toward?
Collectives pay a percentage of funds raised to help cover the costs of providing our services, 5% for OCNZ and 8% for the Gift Collective, both of which have transparent budgets (see here and here). Fees pay for things like admin time, customer support, legal advice, accounting, software fees, and marketing. For credit card transactions, there's also a 2.9% payment processor charge.
How do our fees stack up to the competition? The standard fee for crowdfunding is 5-7%, but they don't provide fundholding. The standard fee for fundholding is 10%, but they don't provide a tech platform. So our rates are a pretty sweet deal!
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—do attract GST. The Open Collective platform is set up for both, and you can select the correct one when you define your contribution tiers.
Are you a not-for-profit?
OCNZ is a regular limited company with a mission focused on positive impact. Our legal terms specify that Collective funds can never become company profit and must be donated to charity if not used by the Collective. OCNZ's operating budget and any potential profit derives from the 5% fee we charge for our services. The Gift Collective is under the umbrella of a registered charitable trust and is completely not-for-profit.
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 according to NZ charity regulations, which are more stringent than for limited companies like OCNZ, so the fees reflect these higher overheads. It's worth it for projects who want to offer donation tax credits to funders or have a registered charity entity be their fundholder for philanthropic grants.
Can I get a refund of my contribution to a Collective?
If you set up a recurring contribution (e.g. $10/mo) you can cancel this any time in the settings for your account on Open Collective. If there was a mistake with your contribution (e.g. you type $100 instead of $10), or it was made fraudulently (e.g. unauthorised use of your credit card), it can be refunded. For Collectives under OCNZ we can refund in cases of a project being cancelled or if you simply change your mind, as long as the funds have not yet been withdrawn by the Collective. The Gift Collective has certain restrictions for returning funds as it operates as a charity, based on rules the IRD sets about how donations made to charity need to be applied to a charitable purpose and can't be returned to the private sector in many circumstances. Refunds of those donations will be at the discretion of The Gift Collective, unless in the event of returning funds raised for a specific purpose that has not been fulfilled by a Collective as agreed in writing prior to the donation. 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.
What's the application process and why is it in place?
The process is simple: you fill out a form telling us about who you are and what you're doing, and we asses it. Sometimes we get in touch and ask for more info. We take on liability for your activities when we become your fundholder, so we have to ensure no one uses our accounts for anything dodgy or illegal. Applications to the Gift Collective have to meet some stricter criteria, defined by what's allowed under the charities act. Once approved, you'll be invited to create your Collective on the platform and you'll be good to go.
What's with all these similarly named 'Collective' things?
Open Collective is the international company that makes the software platform we use to provide our service. Its relationship to us is like that of any software vendor (not a parent company or owner). OCNZ is an independent and seperate kiwi limited company created to bring this service to Aotearoa. In addition, OCNZ has formed a partnership with a registered charitable trust in order to offer charity fundholding services, called The Gift Collective. Your project, initiative, or community will become a Collective once you get on board, with your own Collective page on the platform where you fundraise and track your budget.
I have a legal entity or want to use my personal bank account to hold my funds—can I still use Open Collective?
Yes, but not through us. You can sign up directly with Open Collective and be your own fundholder.
I still have questions.
Feel free to get in touch!