OTW Finance: 2017 Budget Update

Earlier this year, the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) published its budget for 2017. As December draws closer, we’d like to give you an update on our financial outlook for the rest of the year, and how our plans have progressed or changed since a few months ago.

Our Finance team is currently preparing for the OTW’s first audit of financial statements, in what we expect will become a regular annual process going forward. Given the size of our organization and our donors’ generosity, it’s important for us to make sure that our bookkeeping and internal controls are as efficient and thorough as they can be. We’re very grateful to have the stability and revenue required for this undertaking. Thanks to our donors for making this possible!

2017 Expenses

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 72.2%. Open Doors: 0.5%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 1.1%. Fanlore: 1.8%. Legal Advocacy: 0.5% Con Outreach: 0.7%. Admin: 14.5%. Fundraising: 8.7%.

Archive of Our Own (AO3)

US$89,207.44 spent; US$134,838.35 left

  • US$89,207.44 spent so far out of US$224,045.79 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • As usual, the majority of the OTW’s expenses—a projected 72% of this year’s total—goes towards maintaining the AO3. This includes the bulk of our server expenses—both new purchases and ongoing colocation and maintenance fees—plus contractor work, website performance monitoring tools, various systems-related licences and training (access all program expenses).
  • We continue to work with coding contractors on structural improvements for the AO3, and there’s been a lot of progress throughout this year, such as our much-needed Rails upgrade! Check out the Archive’s latest release notes for information on our most recent deploys.


US$1,389.03 spent; US$4,299.83 left

  • US$1,389.03 spent so far out of US$5,688.85 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • Fanlore expenses are mostly its allocation of server purchase, maintenance and colocation costs, in addition to related licenses and Fanlore web domains (access all program expenses).

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC)

US$819.81 spent; US$2,579.93 left

  • US$819.81 spent so far out of US$3,399.74 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • TWC’s expenses are its allotment of server costs, as well as the journal’s publishing and storage fees (access all program expenses).

Open Doors

US$402.25 spent; US$1,283.52 left

  • US$402.25 spent so far out of US$1,685.78 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • This year’s expenses for Open Doors are hosting, backup and domain costs for archives imported by Open Doors (access all program expenses).

Legal Advocacy

US$0 spent; US$1,500.00 left

Con outreach

US$713.50 spent; US$1,300.00 left

  • US$713.50 spent so far out of US$2,013.50 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • Our convention outreach expenses consist of preparing and shipping promotional material related to the OTW and its projects for volunteers to share with other fans at conventions. This year we’ve done a meet-up during San Diego Comic-Con and a technical talk about the AO3’s systems infrastructure at Nine Worlds (access all con outreach expenses).


US$12,669.94 spent; US$14,420.00 left

  • US$12,669.94 spent so far out of US$27,089.94 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • Our fundraising expenses consist of transaction fees charged by our third-party payment processors for each donation; thank-you gifts purchase and shipping; and the tools used to host the OTW’s membership database and track communications with donors and potential donors (access all fundraising expenses).


US$10,893.98 spent; US$33,981.00 left

  • US$10,893.98 spent so far out of US$44,874.98 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • The OTW’s administrative expenses include hosting for our website, trademarks, domains, insurance, tax filing, auditing services, as well as project management, communication and accounting tools (access all admin expenses).

2017 Revenue

OTW revenue: April drive donations: 45.6%, October drive donations: 35.8%. Non-drive donations: 17.1%. Donations from matching programs: 1.5%.

  • The OTW is entirely supported by your donations—thank you for your generosity!
  • We receive most of our donations each year in the April and October fundraising drives, which together should account for about 81% of our income in 2017. We also receive donations via employer matching programs and Amazon Smile.
  • The OTW Finance team is investigating options for a sustainable plan to invest the OTW’s current reserves; our forecasted income should be enough to cover this year’s expenses without requiring emergency withdrawals from our reserves.
  • US$191,014.11 so far (as of August 31, 2017) and US$321,531.62 projected until the end of the year.

US$191,014.11 donated; US$130,517.51 left

Got questions?

If you have any questions about the budget or the OTW’s finances, please contact the Finance committee. We will also be hosting an open chat to answer any questions you may have. This chat will take place in our public chatroom on October 15 from 7PM to 9PM (what time is that in my timezone?).

This post will be updated with a chatroom link a few hours before the appointed time. Come chat with us, and bring your questions!

To download the OTW’s updated budget for 2017 in spreadsheet format, please follow this link.

The OTW is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects, including AO3, Fanlore, Open Doors, TWC, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan-run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on the OTW website.


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