Your questions – answered
Who are we?
What is The Social Change Nest (SCN)?
What services do you offer?
We offer many different services, all designed for the needs of grassroots groups and funders. We also collaborate with groups and funders to test new solutions. So if you have an idea, we’d love to hear from you.
Who do you work with?
We work with a wide range of groups, organisations and networks – from foundations and philanthropists to community groups and individual changemakers.
We focus on supporting early-stage groups that often struggle to get funding. This means the groups we work with are usually informal and unincorporated. Get in touch to find out if we’re the right fit for you, or read more about who we support and how.
Are SCN and Accountable the same thing? What is Accountable?
When we were first established, we used the name Accountable. In 2023, we made the formal switch to The Social Change Nest. If you see ‘Accountable’ anywhere, please let us know and we’ll update it as soon as possible.
Are SCN and Open Collective the same thing? What is Open Collective?
No – SCN and Open Collective are two separate entities. We (SCN) use the Open Collective platform to do our digital fiscal hosting.
Open Collective is a platform that enables Fiscal Hosts and grassroots groups to manage money in an open and collaborative way. It offers tools that help us to manage groups’ expenses quickly and effectively and even gives the groups a dedicated public page you can use to track budgets, raise funds and build connections.
You can sign up to be hosted by Social Change Nest directly through Open Collective.
What do we do?
What is fiscal hosting?
Fiscal hosting is where a legally registered organisation holds money on behalf of a community group, social movement or project that doesn’t have the capacity or desire to register as a formal legal entity. Read more in our blog here.
Why would I need a fiscal host?
Grassroots groups are often unincorporated. In other words, they don’t have a legal structure. This can make it difficult for them to collaboratively manage their finances. And it can prevent them from accessing formal grants.
Through fiscal hosting, we can securely receive and hold funds on your group’s behalf. This can open you up to more funding opportunities, as more and more grantmaking programmes recognise fiscal hosting as a way to get funds to unincorporated community groups. We also enable a collaborative and transparent way to manage your income and expenses.
What’s the difference between SCN and having a bank account?
To be very clear – we aren’t a bank. As your fiscal host, we can hold your money in our bank account and support you with making payments.
Opening an account with a bank can be a lengthy and difficult process for groups with no legal structure. It often leads to one member of the group holding funds in their personal account, which is a huge risk to that individual.
We offer an alternative way to securely hold your funds, without the bureaucracy. We’ll arrange a call to understand your aims and objectives, as it’s important that all groups we host align with our mission. Our turnaround time can be as little as 2 weeks, as long as your group fits our criteria.
Through our fiscal hosting service, you can deposit and withdraw funds. However, we’re not a bank – and here are some of the key differences:
- You don’t have access to a debit or credit card
- We only process payments on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with a 1pm cut-off – so you don’t have 24/7 access to withdraw funds
- We cannot give any financial advice and do not offer many of the typical services a bank does, such as loans
How much does it cost?
Why do you charge a fee?
Unfortunately, we live in a capitalist world and we have to charge a fee to make sure we’re sustainable. Our fees cover the cost of licensing the Open Collective platform and the admin involved in supporting groups, such as onboarding and processing payments. We aim to invest any profits back into the development of the service we provide to the community.
Is SCN right for me?
We don’t have extensive eligibility criteria. But it’s important that you:
- Are a group that’s making social change
- Are unincorporated (in most cases)
- Meet these community guidelines
- Need a safe, secure, transparent way to manage your funds
What does it mean to be incorporated?
An incorporated group is a group that’s legally recognised by the governing body associated with its legal structure.
Incorporating is a process through which an organisation goes from being a group of individuals to a registered entity such as a charity, CIC or limited company. The legal entity may or may not be separate from the individuals involved.
Being incorporated is separate to being constituted (see the question below).
What does it mean to be constituted?
If your group is constituted, it means it has set up and agreed on a constitution. In other words: a set of fundamental principles that each member of the group abides by.
These are the values, goals, and standards which unite the group. They govern individual members’ activities when representing the group, as well as the activities of the group as a whole.
The constitution may also include guidelines for acceptable behaviour, and the process of expelling members. It’s often agreed upon by the majority within a group through a democratic process.
We are incorporated - can we be fiscally hosted by SCN?
We mainly focus on supporting unincorporated grassroots groups. But we do also host a number of incorporated groups. We decide these on a case-by-case basis, as it depends on the context and values of the group. Contact us if you’re not sure or have any questions.
Do you work outside of the UK?
We support some groups that work outside of the UK. Our fees for this kind of support are higher, due to the extra admin on our side and the costs associated with international transfers. Contact us if you’d like to know more.
Who holds the money? / Who’s responsible?
We hold all of the money in our bank account. The money we hold on behalf of groups is kept separate from our main business account.
Spending your money is entirely your responsibility. We can offer support with budget management and forecasting if needed.
What is your legal structure?
We are registered as a community interest company (CIC). This means we are regulated by Companies House, and subject to Companies Law. As a CIC we are asset locked, meaning any profits we make must be reinvested into the community we serve.
Who guides the decision-making in SCN?
We have a board which makes sure we’re staying on track with our social mission, as well as complying with all legal and financial requirements. The board is recruited based on their skills. You can see who’s on our board here.
Where should I go if I have a complaint?
In the first instance, if you are unable to resolve the issue informally, your complaint must be submitted in writing via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include the following details:
- The details of your complaint, the consequences for you as a result, and what you would like us to do to resolve it;
- If your complaint concerns a member of staff, please include the name of the individual concerned;
- Information on whether it is an original complaint or a follow-up to a reply you were not satisfied with;
- Your contact details.
SCN will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 48 hours by reply to your email. We will include details of the process following the submission of your complaints, including timeframes.
I’m having difficulty submitting an expense
I’m having difficulty approving an expense
Why was my expense rejected?
If your expense was rejected by a page admin
There are many reasons your expense might have been rejected. We recommend carefully reading the collective’s expense policy and getting in touch with the page admins if you’re not sure.
If we requested your expense to be reapproved
This is because the expense was approved by the same person who submitted it. We do not pay out on expenses which have been submitted and approved by the same person.
I’m having difficulty inviting admins
I’m having difficulty submitting a reimbursement
When submitting a reimbursement, you must upload evidence for the expense to go through. To do this, take a photo of your receipt or documentation, and upload it after you’ve filled in the expense title.
I’m having difficulty setting up contribution tiers
My expense has been approved but it’s not in my bank account yet. Why?
If your expense hasn’t reached your bank account yet, it may be because:
- A page admin still needs to approve your expense. Get in touch with your page admins to double check.
- The expense has been approved on a non-pay day. We make payments every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before 1pm (UK time).
- Your bank has a longer processing time. Some banks take up to 12 hours to process payments from us.
- The bank details are wrong. Please check and correct them if needed, to make sure we’re able to pay you.
- The expense was approved by the same person who submitted it.
- You submitted an expense on behalf of an organisation:
- Check the expense again. Under “Payment Method,” make sure it says “Bank Transfer”
- Under “Who is being paid for this expense?” make sure the selected payee is under “My Organisations” and not “My Collectives”
Some of the contributions aren’t showing up on our page. Why?
If the contribution was made by bank transfer, our finance team might’ve been unable to find a corresponding payment reference. This could be because:
- Our finance team hasn’t yet reconciled the expenses. We do this every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so please allow a few days for this to be reflected in your page balance.
- The contributor didn’t use the correct reference number.
- The contributor changed the amount they contributed at the point of making the bank transfer.
- The contributor didn’t account for the automatic 15% platform tip from Open Collective.
Use our missing contributions form to let us know of any contributions that haven’t been allocated to your page.
How do I download my monthly report?
Someone in my group is having trouble uploading an expense. Can I do it on their behalf?
I want to cancel my recurring contribution. How do I do that?
One of our group members has privacy concerns. Can they contribute privately?
Yes, they can. There are two options for this: