BackYourStack To Provide Open Source With Financial Security
Written by Sue Gee   
Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Open Collective has come up with an new initiative that makes it easy  for companies to identify the open source projects that they depend on that also need funding and make a financial contribution. BackYourStack provides a new way for open source communities get paid for the work they do and become financially sustainable. 


Founded in 2015 by Xavier Damman, Open Collective helps not-for-profit collectives, including open source projects, clubs, meetups and neighbourhood associations, raise funds recurrently for their communities and maintain financial transparency.

Open Collective lets its users set up pages to collect donations and membership fees where the funds required and the funds raised are explicitly shows and sponsors and the extent of their support is acknowledged. This page gives also access to an ongoing record of a project's expenses where members can submit new expenses for reimbursement and its Budget facility allows income and expenditure to be tracked. 

According to its FAQs, so far Open Collective has raised $2,815,000 in funds for its members. It takes 10% plus credit card fees to cover the costs of running the platform and managing bookkeeping, taxes and the admin of reimbursing expenses and shares this commission with the host organizations that hold the money on behalf of member collectives. 

For new donations OpenCollective encourages monthly payments. As Pai Mancini, co-founder and now CEO explained in a blog post last year:

A collective is an organization of people working together towards a common goal. Sometimes these goals take a few months and sometimes they can take years. By supporting a collective with a recurring monthly amount, you help the collective plan out its future activities.

Mancini's recent blog post, Introducing BackYourStack, serves to announce the launch of Open Collective's new website, a open source project to help companies discover their open source dependencies that seek financial support and in turn establish monthly subscriptions to them. Explaining why BackYourStack is needed she writes:

Most of the companies using [open source work] don’t know these projects are raising funds, or how to support them. Open Source became the default option for companies around the world, but the community’s sustainability efforts are still widely unknown. 

The way BackYourStack works is that looks at all the public repositories of a given organization on For each project, it looks for dependency files, such as:  package.jsoncomposer.jsonpackages.config*.csproj

For each dependency, it then identifies the open collective that is maintaining it. 


To use BackYourStack simply type in the Github name of a public organization. If you want to analyze non-public repositories you need first to sign in with your GitHub account or drag and drop dependency JSON or config files. Facebook is the first example suggested, and as it is something many of us use, we tried it out:


The info panel on the left provides the information that Facebook has 169 repositories that depend on 553 Open Source Projects. Of these 15 are fundraising under the auspices of Open Collective and Facebook is sponsoring 5 of them.

From the information in the panel on Rollup, one of the projects supported by Facebook, it is a JavaScript module bundler used in react, jest, immutable-jse and two other Facebook repos. It has a yearly budget of $9,729 and currently has over $2500 in hand You can find out more about its sponsors and its financial transactions from its own page.


There is a Contribute button on each panel. Different projects have different levels of monthly sponsorship  - for example Jest has two levels - Backer $2+ per month and sponsor $100+ per month. Rollup has five levels of monthly contribution : Entry Point $5;  Module $10; Bundle $20;  plugin $50, and sponsor $100 and also invites one-time donations.

Clicking on the sponsor icons you can discover what projects are being backed by each. Facebook is revealed to have donated a total of $39,050 since October last year and appears to make monthly donations of $1,000 to five projects: Webpack; Babel; Jest; Electron and Docusaurus and of $100 to Storybook, Material-UI, Gatsby; mobx, Vue and Parseplatform.

Rollup receives $150 per month from Facebook. Rollup also receives $300 per month from Algolia and amounts of up to $100 per month from many others, both companies and individuals all of whom are acknowledged.

Having the burden of fundraising taken on by Open Collective in this way enables Rollup, and other open source projects to devote their efforts, to their primary mission, whatever it is, with a degree of financial security they didn't previously enjoy.

BackYourStack is on GitHub where it is explained that while it was initiated by people at Open Collective it doesn't intend to be limited to projects registered on the Open Collective platform. It states:

If you know any other platforms or projects currently receiving funding for Open Source projects and have an idea on how to integrate it, please contribute!


More Information


Open Collective

backyourstack on GitHub

What is Open Collective & how it works?


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