becomes the world's first couch surfing platform to obtain 501(c)(3) non-profit status in the US

The team at has been committed since day one to creating a non-profit organization as one of its core pillars, as we recognize the problems with the for-profit model adopted by Couchsurfing™. In August 2020, the Foundation was established in Australia as a not-for-profit entity to support the project. Towards the end of 2021, members of the team incorporated Couchers, Inc. as a non-profit in the US, and applied for 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

In a huge step for and the wider couch surfing community, our application has been successful.

A huge thanks to the whole team, and especially Paul Rausch and Dea Woodard, couch surfing veterans and amazing people who have been helping with registering everything necessary to make this happen!

You can read more about these organization on the dedicated page.

What this means

501(c)(3) is the world's most widely recognized non-profit status, and offers countless benefits in terms of resources, tax deductions, tax exemption, and broader legitimacy. It is hugely valuable and sought after, even Couchsurfing™ unsuccessfully pursued this status before they transitioned to a for-profit model.

Tax Exemption will be exempt from income taxes. Donations to will be tax-deductible for US taxpayers and others who can make tax-deductible donations to 501(c)(3) organizations. This will help ensure that remains financially sustainable into the future.


Here are some examples of resources that will now become available for us to pursue:

  • Many companies will give us support in the form of free or highly discounted software and services, including AWS credits to run our servers, and software like Slack that helps us in organizing our volunteer base.
  • We can now apply for a large number of public and private grants.
  • Some companies offer volunteer time to their employees to work with 501(c)(3) organizations, which we may be able to tap into for consulting, software development, or other implementation assistance. Similarly some companies offer donation matching for donations to 501(c)(3) organizations.


As part of maintaining its 501(c)(3) non-profit status, must comply with rules that will ensure it sticks to its mission, which we believe is an important part in future-proofing the organization to guarantee its sustainability for years to come. This includes preventing anyone from making a profit or acting otherwise in private financial interests. If is ever wound up, assets must be transferred to another non-profit or for a public purpose.

Our next steps

Over the next few weeks, the US entity (Couchers, Inc.) will take over the operation of the service, and the Australian entity ( Foundation) will continue to support our mission in Australia.

We firmly believe that is the future for the global couch surfing community, and this major step helps solidify that. We will be able to attract more volunteers and have more resources, and so build an even better product and community even faster.

We have everything in place to make this happen. 2022 will be all about user growth, progressing past our beta stage, and moving to get apps onto your mobile phones.

Stay tuned for the full roadmap.

What you can do to help


There has never been a better time to get involved and contribute to the massive community effort that is We need more developers, marketers, graphic designers, and people to organize and build their local communities. Click here to go to our volunteer form.


Help ensure that remains financially sustainable by making a one-time or recurring donation. Similar to projects like Wikipedia, is a community-run non-profit that is funded by donations. Where services like Couchsurfing™ must respond first to private shareholder interests, all donations to directly support the Couchers project. Please consider making a donation today. If you are a US taxpayer, your donation is tax deductible.

Spread the word

To help the community grow, let your friends and local couch surfing community know about! Share information about on social media and encourage your friends to create an account. Thanks to the efforts of our volunteers and community members, the community has grown to over 8,500 users since the launch of our beta in May, 2021 and with your help we can grow even more throughout 2022 and into the future!

Join the Conversation is a community project that is being built by community members based upon feedback and ideas provided by couch surfers around the world. We would love to hear from you! Join the community forum to discuss topics and share ideas with other community members and volunteers.

Published on 2022/01/20.