Thu 11 Apr 2019

Switching our legal entity to a co-op

Nathan Schneider Public Seen by 223

This is a thread about moving Social.coop's legal entity to Platform 6, a UK cooperative


Nathan Schneider started a proposal Thu 11 Apr 2019

Should we move Social.coop's legal "host" to Platform 6, a UK cooperative? Closed Tue 16 Apr 2019

by Nathan Schneider Wed 17 Apr 2019

This proposal has been approved, and I will proceed with moving the process forward with Open Collective and Platform 6.

Currently, Social.coop's finances are legally hosted by the Open Source Collective, a US 501c6 nonprofit associated with the Open Collective platform that we use. But the OC platform allows us to use other fiscal and legal "hosts" associated with the platform.

One such host is Platform 6, a UK co-op whose purpose is "being an innovative engine for the creation of other new co-operatives." Some Platform 6 members, such as @graham2, are already Social.coop members. Platform 6 has offered to host Social.coop's finances and serve as its legal umbrella. Several of us discussed the idea here.

Making this switch would achieve the symbolic goal of making Social.coop legally a co-op, bringing it into closer solidarity with the global cooperative movement. It would also mean that our 2% host fee on transactions (down from 5% charged by Open Source Collective) would go toward supporting the development of other cooperatives.

The change would occur in the background of Open Collective, so it would not require any switching on the part of users. We would continue using the OC platform. There will be a $30-50 cost for wiring our current balance from OSC to P6 (which is less than the $150 we stand to save in fees annually, based on our current annual budget).

I volunteer to facilitate the change, along with the OC and P6 teams, and I commit to seeking further approval if anything about the process I've described here proves to be incorrect.

Are you in favor of this proceeding?

Agree - 28
Abstain - 4
Disagree - 0
Block - 0
23 people have voted (23%)

Thu 11 Apr 2019

I'll abstain on this vote as I have a potential conflict of interest being a founder of Platform 6. Also to clarify on a technical point, the move would result in social.coop being offered membership of Platform 6 Cooperative, so yes, this would be a great act of solidarity and bring the two orgs closer (which I'm excited about), but not sure that it would actually make social.coop "legally a co-op". Happy to try to respond to any queries.


Manuela Bosch
Thu 11 Apr 2019

Makes total sense and good to hear about the existence of Platform 6


Matt Noyes
Thu 11 Apr 2019

If we become a formal cooperative we won't need a legal host, right? I think this is a good move for the time being, but we should convert social.coop into a legal cooperative entity.


Erik Moeller
Fri 12 Apr 2019

Thanks for the detailed explanation. Given that this change would have no direct impact on users' OpenCollective subscriptions, I have no concerns, and it feels in-line with our goals as a co-operative. :)


Mon 15 Apr 2019

Sounds good but I'm not an expert, not from the UK, and joined the community yesterday, and therefore don't feel comfortable influencing the vote. Yet.

Good to see people putting thought into details like this! Weirdly inspirational. :)


KC Terry
Tue 16 Apr 2019

Deciding to abstain here because I haven't yet moved my account over to social.coop, but I do support this move. After reading more about Platform 6 I think supporting and integrating with them makes a lot of sense.


Nathan Schneider Thu 11 Apr 2019

@graham2 you raise an interesting issue. Technically I think my formulation might be a little more correct. Through the fiscal sponsor arrangement, S.c would become essentially a project of P6. I'm not sure we could meaningfully be a member, since we are not a specific legal entity capable of holding a membership share. But this does remind me that, as we move forward, we should establish some kind of clear agreement that protects the relative autonomy of both S.c's governance structure and P6.


Hi. I'm one of the founders of Platform 6. Membership of Platform 6 is open to any individual or organisation that uses the services of the co-op, so using our OC hosting would definitely qualify. However as we are not fully mutual, social.coop social.coop is not obliged to join to access those services. Unincorporated associations would be eligible to join, whether constituted or not. We are currently a UK Company Limited by Guarantee, but will likely convert to the Society legal form at some point in the future.