I have been saying for a while that before considering collecting money on a project wide level (instead of individual people having patreons, for example), we need to form a non-profit to hold that money in order to greatly reduce the chance of someone running of with the money, which would be a huge setback.
Recently I discovered what might be another solution: joining software freedom conservancy as a project. They have a FAQ on this page: https://sfconservancy.org/projects/apply/
Basically I think we fulfill their criteria of being open source, so we could apply (but there is no guarantee that we would be accepted). If accepted they would manage collecting donations (they seem to do at least patreon and paypal donations), and contract developers (probably one / some of us existing team members at first) to work on Thrive as well as fund other project related costs like web hosting. And we wouldn’t have to change the way the project is ran, we’d just need to officially write down how the project is ran (who has authority to decide on money use etc.). So all in all it would be a pretty sweet deal. And I doubt there would be any big downsides to sending them an email and asking to join.
The other option is to form our own non-profit, which is a much more work, but might have some benefit over the software conservancy. I think some core member who is very active (which doesn’t leave many choices) needs to basically start a non-profit in their country (unless some neutral place like Switzerland offers very good options for registering global non-profits) and handle the registration process. This would likely entail even more legal paperwork in defining who gets to vote on board members, how are new members accepted, who has the right to sign up for a bank account and handle the money. I’ve looked into this a bit and it would cost me multiple hundred euros to create a registered association here in Finland, additionally there would be costs in renting a PO box equivalent and accounting services for handling paying people.
Anyway I just wanted to try to start an official conversation about these options (and if anyone has a better idea), as I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time and many fans bring up bringing money into the project up quite often.