October 2023 Membership Drive: The Meaning of Membership

After the Archive of Our Own (AO3), Fanlore, and our donation form went down due to the DDoS attacks in July, many fans responded by donating in the following months. We greatly appreciate both your generosity and your desire to respond to the attacks with this show of support. We received a 35% bump in donations in July and August of 2023 compared to July and August in 2022.

That’s why, during our usual October membership drive, we want to encourage you to become a member of the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) — the nonprofit organization behind AO3 and Fanlore, among other projects — and continue to be involved. Our drive donation banner on AO3 will thus be tracking new members and not money raised.

What is OTW membership?

You can become an OTW member with a donation of US$10 or more. Membership will allow you to vote for candidates seeking to join the Board of Directors—the OTW’s governing board. You have until June 30, 2024 to become a member if you would like to vote in next year’s election, which will be held in August.

  • In order to become a member, you must select “Yes” to the question at the end of the donation form.
  • You cannot become a member by donating US$1 ten times: it must be at least US$10 in a single donation.
  • While employer matching cannot be used for membership, fans in the U.S. might be able to double their contributions that way. (Contact your HR department to find out if this is an option for you!)

Being an OTW member is not the same as having an AO3 account.

Your OTW membership has no connection to any account you may have at AO3 or any of our other projects, and an OTW membership does not provide access to any online space. This was a deliberate choice made by the OTW early on, to ensure that your reading history, works you’ve created, and edits you’ve made on Fanlore aren’t tied to your wallet name or payment information.

But besides being able to vote in the OTW Board elections, you get cool merchandise if you’ve been a member for multiple consecutive years.

And speaking of cool merchandise, here are some new thank-you gifts that donors can receive:

Black vertical layout pin with a red AO3 logo centered and a red bar and a gray line across the top.

AO3 pin is 1.5 inches/3.81 centimeters long

White horizontal layout sticker with an AO3 logo in the bottom left and 4 hearts increasing in size and red color with the words "my fandoms." The images are overlaid with contracted Unified English Braille which reads 'kudos logo/with big hearts/I [heart] my fandoms'

Contracted Unified English Braille sticker reading “I [heart] my fandoms” is 3 inches by 2.5 inches/7.62 by 6.35 centimeters

These thank-you gifts start at US$40. You can also set up a recurring donation and save towards the gift of your choice. Instructions on how to set this up will be included in your donation receipt.

Find out more

If you have any questions about membership and donation, either check out our FAQ or contact Development & Membership.

We appreciate all your donations, volunteering, encouraging messages and fun memes. And for those who would like to help spread the word about our membership drive, use #otwmembers in your posts! That will help us spot your messages and signal boost.

Thanks for your support and we hope to have more of you join us!

  1. Dreamin commented:

    It seems like a mistake to not show the amount of money raised — it’s a lack of transparency, also it’s exciting for OTW supporters to see the number continue to climb. Why not show both the number of new members and the amount of money raised?

    • Harley G. commented:

      Hi, Dreamin,

      This time around, we’re hoping to pivot the typical excitement for watching numbers climb during the drive to encourage new memberships. In line with our organizational value of financial transparency, the total amount of money raised will be publicly reported at the end of the drive.

      Harley G., OTW Communications

  2. Sandra G. commented:

    Hey I was wondering 2 related things not entirely related this and don’t know where else to ask.

    1: will people without an AO3 account ever be able to comment on news posts again? I don’t want to make an account but I’m never allowed to comment on news posts anymore. I get spam can be an issue but it’s also really affecting some real people too and its not like every post is rife with abuse issues anymore.

    2: why can’t anyone comment on the volunteer recruiting posts at all? I had questions I wanted to ask about 1 of the roles that I think my friend would be good for but when I looked the comments are entirely off both on AO3 and on the OTW website. Why aren’t we allowed to ask questions about positions?

    • Sveritas commented:

      Hi Sandra

      -Thank you for your questions about comment section settings on the AO3 and OTW website.

      -Some news posts are released with the comment section disabled at the request of the relevant committees. This is because behind the scenes work is often on going and many committees are comprised of a small team of volunteers. It is easier for them to provide prompt responses if incoming queries comes in through a centralized channel. If you still have questions about the volunteer position, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Volunteers and Recruiting Committee through the contact form here: [https://www.transformativeworks.org/contact_us/].

      -Unfortunately, at the moment, we do not have plans to re-enable guest comment access for News Posts on AO3. If you have questions or feedback for news related to AO3’s features or policies, we have feedback forms at the bottom of every page. Here’s the form for site policies:[https://archiveofourown.org/abuse_reports/new] and for more general feedback or feature requests: [https://archiveofourown.org/support]. If you have questions for other posts, you can reach relevant committees through the same contact form: [https://www.transformativeworks.org/contact_us/] and select the committee you are trying to reach in the drop down menu, or if you’re unsure which committee to select, Communications will forward your question to the relevant committee.

      -I am sorry I don’t have better news for you, but I hope this addresses some of your concerns.

      OTW Communications

      • Sanda G. commented:

        Im extremely disappointed and upset about this. Thought you all would be better than this sort of thing. Thanks for answering at least