Open Collective
Open Collective
Update to OCF's Terms of Fiscal Sponsorship
Published on June 23, 2022 by Alanna Irving

The Terms of Fiscal Sponsorship is the legal agreement in place between Collectives and OCF as fiscal sponsor. All new Collective creators (and subsequently added admins) agree to the terms as they join.

We've made some changes to the terms, mainly to officially include already existing policies of OCF, and to make the agreement clearer. We think accessibility and clarity are important aspects of transparency, so we always try to explain legal stuff in plain language.

You can view the full current version of the terms, along with a guide to what they mean, any time at

Below is an explanation of the recent changes.

Calling a Collective a "Collective"

Previously, we also used the word "initiative" or "sponsee" to refer to Collectives, but we've changed it to "Collectives" throughout the terms to be more consistent.

Agreement Starts at Approval

While Collective creators tick the box agreeing to the terms when they apply, we've rephrased a clause to make it clearer that the terms take effect only when OCF approves a Collective.

Contracts with Third Parties (section 3d)

Because OCF is the legal entity, OCF staff have to review and sign agreements between Collectives and third parties (e.g. a venue or contractor). This has always been the case. We're now adding a clause specifying that if a Collective asks OCF to sign a contract on its behalf, the Collective agrees to uphold its responsibilities in that agreement. (For example, a venue contract might say you have to put the chairs back at the end of an event—we need the Collective to commit to fulfilling this because OCF can't do it directly).

Financial Obligations (section 3f)

A new clause states that we can’t pay expenses incurred outside the time the Collective is hosted by OCF, and that we won’t take responsibility for promises you make to pay people that are in violation of our policies. (If a new Collective wants to keep working with and paying an existing contractor, we can review and re-sign a new contract with them).

Modification of the Agreement (section 11)

We've updated this section to make clear how OCF can change this agreement. When we make changes, we are required to notify Collectives (like we are doing in this Update). It also reiterates that if a Collectives doesn't agree to the changes, they can leave OCF.

Liability Insurance Coverage (section 14)

Collectives are not covered under OCF's liability insurance unless they opt to sign up. This keeps costs as low as possible for our basic services, and gives Collectives choices about paying for optional extras.

Two Admins, One Update (exb A 2b & 2c)

Adding our long-time policies of requiring at least 2 admins per Collective and one Update per year to the terms officially.

We also updated how some of the numbering and paragraph breaks are formatted to make it easier to read.

If you have any questions or feedback about these changes, feel free to comment on this Update, email us, or come along to the next monthly forum to discuss.
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