OTW Board of Directors Update: 2016 Budget

A lot of work has been done behind the scenes since our last update! Today we bring to you our prospective budget for 2016, as promised. This budget is one of a number of steps we are taking as we continue to work toward a more formal financial setup for the OTW long term, with a particular eye to openness and sustainability.

The below budget was prepared taking into consideration project needs, committee requests and our regular expenses from past year, and covers all expected expenses necessary to keep the org running in 2016. It anticipates fundraising income (including income from drives and other fundraising sources) of US$303,750.00, which is consistent with recent years’ income.

This budget also addresses the OTW’s need to keep a reserve on hand for emergencies, such as a sudden need to replace a server, or other unexpected costs. To the extent that the OTW may face unexpected expenses during 2016, they will be paid from the OTW’s reserve funds. With that in mind, we believe the most prudent course of action is to make sure we are able to raise enough money to cover our annual running costs (expected to be US$303,750 this year) without having to use our reserves, keeping those for emergencies and hardware investments.

With our current funds sitting at about US$436,000 we are in a comfortable position that allows us to prepare for our growing expenses. In the next few months we plan to keep improving our financial set up, including contracting a CPA and rebuilding our Finance Committee, as well as reevaluating our resource allocation and reserves for 2017 as needed.

Estimated Expenditure Source of income
Cost Amount
Hardware purchases
Systems – Database Servers $36,000.00
Misc. hardware and AO3 development environment $4,000.00
Total hardware purchases $40,000.00 Reserves surplus from 2015 $40,000
Hardware maintenance and running costs
Systems – Primary Hosting $33,000.00
Systems – Secondary Hosting $5,000.00
Systems – Backup Hosting $1,000.00
Webs – Migration of transformativeworks.org $3,500.00
Webs – OTW Website Hosting $1,000.00
Total hardware maintenance $43,500.00
Chat platform and file sharing for the whole OTW $1,200.00
Project management, monitoring and development tools for Accessibility, Design & Technology $12,000.00
Volunteer database management system for Volunteers & Recruiting $750.00
Membership database management system for Development & Membership $17,500.00
Voting tool for Elections $1,000.00
Payment processor and bookkeeping tool for Finances $1,000.00
Survey tool for Strategic Planning $300.00
Translators database and survey tool for Translation $1,000.00
File sharing and storage for Open Doors $100.00
Ticketing tool for Support and Abuse $1,000.00
Wranglers database for Tag Wrangling $1,500.00
Total software $37,350.00
Other running costs
Domains Domain renewal fees for “archiveofourown.org,” “fanlore.org” etc. $500.00
Trademarks OTW and projects logos $3,000.00
DOI Registration Digital Object Identifier registration service for TWC $400.00
Sundry expenses Postage, telephone calls, PO Box, etc. $2,000.00
Total running costs $5,900.00
Contractors Coder contractor for AO3 $120,000.00
Certified public accountant and tax preparer $13,500.00
Travel costs Legal and Journal – hearings, testimonies and presenting at conferences $4,000.00
Training OTW-wide fund: courses, materials, books and professional conference attendance $25,000.00
Total personnel costs $162,500.00
Merch Store Initial set-up costs (estimate) $5,000.00
Premiums Donation thank-you gifts $6,500.00
Con outreach Legal and Development & Membership – tables, panels and meetups at fan conventions $20,000.00
Total fundraising cost $31,500.00
Insurance Board and Legal $8,000.00
Legal Filings Fees Legal filing fees $2,000.00
Payment fees Payment fees $12,000.00 Estimated fundraising drives $227,812.50
Bank Fees Bank fees $1,000.00 Estimated recurring and non-drive donations $75,937.50
Total fees cost $23,000.00 estimated fundraise income $303,750.00
Total estimated expenditure $343,750.00 Total estimated income $343,750.00
  1. Francesca commented:

    Way to go, you guys! Fantastic work!!

  2. afrikate commented:

    So excited to see a budget, thanks for all the work that went into it!

  3. Litha commented:

    You know what, the average user never thinks about how much work and money goes into maintaining this. The Ao3 is such an essential part of my life (and I’m probably on the lower end of the spectrum with the 1-2 hours average fic reading I do each evening…) – You know what, I’d like to buy you guys a coffee….. or alternatively donate the equivalent of a cup of coffee a month. Would you prefer I do it now, or during the next drive? My moneys (and my eternal gratitude) are comin’ your way either way 🙂

    • Litha commented:

      PS: all this transparency, you showing us the accounting sheet? That builds my trust in you. When you put up a banner that says “yo we need hella hundred thousands of moneys” I admit my first thought usually is ARE YOU TRIPPING, WHAT FOR??. Way to go, making it all public. <3

  4. Maplesyrup commented:

    I love this. The transparency is amazing. Please let us know if there’s a way we can donate monthly, like some do for NPR or PBS.

  5. dogandmonkeyshow commented:

    Thanks for sharing this, guys!

    I think most people who use the site have no idea how much some of this stuff costs, so it’s good to not be shy about sharing this kind of information. And I’m astonished you’re running this organization for this small an amount of money, considering the footprint of the site. I’d have expected the overall budget to be a lot more than this. So congrats on that!

  6. dzurlady commented:

    Thanks for publishing the budget guys. All the best for the new financial structures.

  7. Pistalrose commented:

    Transparency is a big thing for me. This will positively impact my donations. Kudos.

  8. grumpel commented:

    Thank you for being to open and transparent about the funding and the process(es)!

  9. Beatrice_Otter commented:

    Thank you!

  10. NJB commented:

    I’m ecstatic to see that a merch store is in the works. I know i would’ve been wearing an AO3 shirt years ago if it was available, and many of the people I talk to at cons love AO3. Thank you for the hard work!

  11. Factionless commented:

    You guys are amazing! I’m finally in a position now where I can donate next drive 🙂 Thank you for all your hard work and being so open about everything.