Terminology

We have developed some terminology to describe interactions and roles on Open Project. Please use these terms when creating issues or support requests, instead of user —everyone is a user!

We are all individuals

People are individuals. They can form entities inside Donate PR, like Organizations and Projects, which enable collaborative impact and define interactions between individuals.

Entities & structure

Individuals

Human beings with names. An individual signs up to Donate PR with their email address. An individual can take on different roles throughout the platform.

Organizations

An Organization represents a company or legal entity in the world, with a shared identity, bank account, credit card, and resources. This is often how Sponsors engage on the platform.

Organization Admins

Individual(s) who create and/or manage the Organization profile. They have the rights to edit the settings of the Organization, set up financial contributions to Projects, and set up gift cards, among other things.

Fiscal Hosts

A Fiscal Host is a type of Organization. Fiscal Hosts as we call them are commonly referred to as Fiscal Sponsors in the nonprofit industry.

Fiscal hosting enables Projects to transact financially without needing to legally incorporate. A fiscal host is a legal company or individual who holds a Project’s funds in their bank account, and can generate invoices and receipts for Financial Contributors. You can think of a fiscal host as an umbrella organization for the Projects in it.

Fiscal Host Admin

Individual(s) who create and/or manage the Fiscal Host are responsible for approving new Projects who want to join the host and paying out expenses approved by Project admins.

Fiscal Host admins want tools and workflows to easily manage their tasks (paying expenses and approving new Projects). They need to charge their fees and keep a useful accounting system. They are often the first point of contact for the Core Contributors of Projects they host, and many are super-users.

Projects

The primary entity most representative of the basis of our platform. A Project represents a project or group that has a mission or purpose in the world, which they raise and spend funds transparently to achieve.

Core Contributors

Individuals who are major contributors and represent the Project with their face on the Project page as part of the team.

Project Admins

A type of Core Contributor with additional permissions, so they can edit the Project, change settings, approve expenses, make financial contributions to other Projects, and receive messages from people trying to contact the Project.

Core Contributors want to make their communities sustainable financially, so receiving financial contributions is first on their priority list. They use tools like tiers, goals, and social media sharing. They are interested in managing and growing their communities by creating events and sending updates.

Event Attendee

Individuals who register to attend a Project's event. They often arrive through a direct link provided by the event organizers. They want a smooth, hassle-free experience, clear information about the event, and ideally a pathway to stay in touch or become contributors.

User actions & relationships

Every action inside Donate PR is based on contribution.

The word we will use for "someone who contributes to a project" is "contributor". The buttons on tiers will say "contribute".

Financial Contributors

Organizational Financial Contributor

A company that supports a Project financially, often at a higher tier. This is often called sponsorship in practice, but can go by other names depending on the Project's context, such as base supporters, members, etc.

Sponsors often represent companies with accounting and reporting needs. They may want brand exposure, access to or goodwill from a community, tangible benefits like support, or help with their recruiting efforts.

Individual Financial Contributor

Supports a Project financially, with a repeating or one-off contribution.

They arrive at a Project many ways:

Expense submitter

An individual who requests payment from the Project's budget using the expense function.

There are two different formats to contribute financially:

  • One-time financial contribution

  • Recurring financial contribution

Non-financial Contributors

Fiscal Hosts

Supporting Projects by providing the legal and financial infrastructure needed to accept money and make payments.

Code Contributors

An individual can contribute with code (software) to an open source project with a Project

Service Contributors

An individual who contributes time or skills to a Project's mission.

Terminology usage guidelines

Because there are a lot of concepts and moving parts on the platform, we try to be careful with the words we use and how we use them, to avoid confusion.

Capitalization

Terms defined above that function as a proper noun (name) of a specific role or entity, as opposed to the everyday meaning and usage of that word. Please capitalize the following terms in documentation and in the app.

  • Project

  • Organization

  • Fiscal Host

  • Admin (Project Admin, Fiscal Host Admin)

  • Core Contributor

These words are used a lot in common language and don't need to be capitalized all the time, but when referring specifically to the feature on our platform it is like a proper name, so it can be capitalized to better communicate what you mean.

  • Update

  • Event

  • Expense

  • Transaction

Do not capitalize the above words when they do not refer to the name of a role or entity on the platform. For example:

You can think of Fiscal Hosts as umbrella organizations for Projects.

'Fiscal Hosts' and 'Projects' are capitalized because they refer to names of roles on the platform, but 'organization' is not because it's used here as part of the common phrase 'umbrella organization'.

Words to avoid

There are a lot of names and terms we have used in the past or that have common meanings close to roles and entities on the platform. It's important to use language that your intended audience will understand and identify with, so no words are banned, but be mindful of using the below terms as they can easily introduce confusion.

User

Everyone is a user, so it's not super helpful when trying to refer to something more specific.

This is a common word to describe when a company gives money to a project, but it's caused confusion because sometimes sponsorship is defined by the kind of entity making the financial contribution (company vs individual), and sometimes it's defined by how much they are contributing (e.g. some Projects call everything over $1000 'sponsorship' regardless of who gives it). Projects can each define these things for themselves, so it's safer to refer to "individual financial contributor" or "organizational financial contributor".

Backer

Similar to the above. If a company gives only $5 a month, are they a backer or a sponsor? That's undefined globally, so stick with "financial contributor".

Because different Projects use different terms, the platform should not try to decide for them. Each community will have its own context. Therefore we have decided to stick with the words "contribute" and "contribution" and add the qualifier "financial" when it's through money.

Subscription

We used to call recurring financial contributions "subscriptions", but this proved problematic because most Projects don't think of someone giving $5 a month as "subscribing" to them, and it's also easy to confuse with the concept of subscribing to Updates and getting emails. To emphasize our key action of "contribution" we call it "recurring financial contributions". We are aware this is too long, but we haven't come up with a better idea so far.

Chapter

Previously, we explored the idea of calling Donate PR branded fiscal hosts (Donate PR Europe, Donate PR UK, etc) "chapters". But this concept was not followed up and supported and using the word is confusing. These are simply Fiscal Hosts.