OpenCollective and other contribution channels

I was asked the same thing this morning on the Fediverse, so please allow me to paste my response from there and edit a bit for consistency.

Why would the grassroots have transparent finance when the GMAFIA does not?

It makes me uncomfortable to have a ‘transparent’ startupy system becoming a standard in the community.

OpenCollective is totally fine with abusive Californian startups, it seems to be part of their normal behavior if you refer to their introduction.[^1] The perspective they put out in their last paragraph looks to me like product placement, but more importantly demonstrates a collective individuation that is certainly not compatible with the spirit of cooperatives, the commons, nor ending capitalist dominance.

This kind of thing I disagree with, so I prefer not to use them nor recommend them.

There are cooperatives that can work as well. Not sure which.

[^1]: from https://opencollective/about:

" But just like we won’t wait for self-driving cars to become ubiquitous before calling a Lyft, we’re very practical about using existing services to solve problems right now. We can already get pretty far using well-established technologies already integrated with global systems. "

thanks Hellekin for your remarks on OpenCollective. I moved it to a new thread as I think this is a topic that we’ll want to come back to and have more discussion on.

When we started last May we initially had the idea to use LiberaPay as a way that people could make regular monetary contributions. However we started those first months to receive bank transfers from several of the founding members. And as we had no single legal entity but a small network of organisations, we initially had Webarchitects and receive funds from the others, and take custody of that for the benefit of the collective. Soon however we saw that that was a rather difficult way to receive money and to manage our collective finance. So we discussed about Liberapay and OpenCollective as the two options that seemed most reasonable to accomplish this for us. We wanted:

  • members to be able to make monthly contributions
  • have a fiscal host that were to be in charge of the fiscal-legal obligations
  • be in control of the funds to decide on what we considered we need to spend it on
  • pay as little as possible for the fiscal hosting & platform fees
  • notifications of new contributors, changes etc
  • the possibility to automate the sign-up process in the overall process flow
  • the process should be as simple and quick as possible for members
  • it should be aligned with key values of the commons-cooperative ecosystem

Some members had experience with OpenCollective and it then seemed to be the most straightforward solution. I can appreciate a tradeoff between ease of use and ethical value alignment. It’s certainly not ideal.

That said, either of these solutions, seem to be a temporary solution to help our collective to build the “minimum viable product” and minimum membership base to pay fair wages. When we are ready for it, I think we’ll want a solution that is easier for members to contribute (i.e. no need to set up an account at OC or elsewhere and then yet another on, offers more options to contribute (credit card, SEPA transfer, crypto, mutual credit networks, …) and offers more direct control for the collective.