OTW Finance: 2019 Budget Update

Earlier in the year, the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) published its 2019 budget. With the end of the year drawing closer, we’d like to issue an update on our financial activity for the remainder of the year, and how our plans have altered or progressed.

Our Finance team continues to track the OTW’s financial activity, prepare financial statements and reports, and ensure compliance with accounting standards and regulations. We’ve worked to improve and document our processes, help the OTW plan its financial future, and are close to concluding the annual audit of our 2018 financial statements.

Without further ado, here’s our updated budget for 2019 (download the budget spreadsheet for more information):

2019 Expenses

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 74.2%. Open Doors: 0.3%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 0.4%. Fanlore: 2.3%. Legal Advocacy: 1.1%. Con Outreach: 0.1%. Admin: 11.2%. Fundraising: 10.4%.

Archive of Our Own (AO3)

US$74,984.28 spent; US$259,366.95 left

  • US$74,984.28 spent so far out of US$334,351.23 total this year, as of July 31, 2019.
  • 74.2% of the OTW’s expenses go towards maintaining the AO3. This includes the bulk of our server expenses—both new purchases and ongoing colocation and maintenance—website performance monitoring tools and various systems-related licences (access all program expenses).
  • This year’s AO3 expenses include US$30,000.00 in contractor costs for upgrades and security testing, of which US$15,000.00 has already been spent to upgrade Ruby for the Archive.
  • Additionally, AO3 expenses include a significant server overhaul and expansion of roughly US$177,000.00. New virtualisation servers will replace the current equipment, making testing and deployment of code for the Archive much smoother. The old servers will be repurposed as storage for the new servers. Other new servers will expand the Archive’s capacity to serve pages and search results to users with fewer connection issues.
  • Other anticipated costs include US$33,000.00 for a Systems contractor, who will do some work for the Archive’s hardware infrastructure.


US$1,477.22 spent; US$8,896.97 left

  • US$1,477.22 spent so far out of US$10,374.19 total this year, as of July 31, 2019.
  • Fanlore expenses are mostly its allocation of server purchases and maintenance and colocation costs, in addition to Fanlore web domains (access all program expenses).
  • The new virtualisation servers mentioned above will also serve Fanlore pages and store Fanlore wiki backups.

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC)

US$275.00 spent; US$1,558.80 left

  • US$275.00 spent so far out of US$1,833.00 total this year, as of July 31, 2019.
  • Transformative Works and Cultures’ expenses are the journal’s website hosting, and publishing and storage fees (access all program expenses).

Open Doors

US$244.20 spent; US$1,050.34 left

  • US$244.20 spent so far out of US$1,294.54 total this year, as of July 31, 2019.
  • Open Doors’ expenses consist of hosting, backup, and domain costs for imported fanwork archives (access all program expenses).

Legal Advocacy

US$0.00 spent; US$5,000.00 left

  • US$0.00 spent so far out of US$5,000.00 total this year, as of July 31, 2019.
  • Legal’s expenses consist of filing fees and travel expenses for conferences and hearings, when and if they are required (access all program expenses).

Con Outreach

US$0.00 spent; US$500.00 left

  • US$0.00 spent so far out of US$500.00 total this year, as of July 31, 2019.
  • Budgeted expenses include US$100 for printing flyers and US$400 for other convention outreach activities on behalf of the OTW (access all program expenses).


US$23,100.09 spent; US$23,700.00 left

  • US$23,100.09 spent so far out of US$46,800.09 total this year, as of July 31, 2019.
  • Our fundraising expenses consist of transaction fees charged by our third-party payment processors for each donation; thank-you gift purchases and shipping; and the tools used to host the OTW’s membership database and track communications with donors and potential donors (access fundraising expenses).


US$17,051.93 spent; US$33,388.97 left

  • US$17,051.93 spent so far out of US$50,440.80 total this year, as of July 31, 2019.
  • The OTW’s administrative expenses include hosting for our website, insurance, tax filing, and annual financial statement audits, as well as communication, management, and accounting tools (access all admin expenses).

2019 Revenue

OTW revenue: April drive donations: 44.9%. October drive donations: 23.8%. Non-drive donations: 26.1%. Donations from matching programs: 5.1%. Interest income: 0.1%.

  • 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 68.7% of our income in 2019. We also receive donations via employer matching programs, Amazon Smile, and PayPal Giving Fund, which administers donations from programs like Humble Bundle. If you’d like to support us while making purchases on those websites, please select the Organization for Transformative Works as your charity of choice!
  • Given your generosity in previous years, we have a healthy amount in reserves, which we plan to keep in store for a rainy day. Thanks to this, we can explore alternative revenue sources to supplement your donations. The Finance team has made progress in its search for a suitable investment method for a small non-profit organization like the OTW and aims to fully set up a low-risk, conservative investment portfolio by the end of 2019.
  • US$346,650.73 received so far (as of July 31, 2019) and US$546,750.73 projected to be received by the end of the year.

US$346,650.73 donated; US$200,100.00 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 13 8PM UTC (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 2019 in spreadsheet format, please follow this link.

  1. J commented:

    Dear AO3,

    I know some people bitch about you asking for money but honestly, this site is part of my self-help routine and is for many other people, whether they think about it that way or not. Frankly, you’re cheaper than a therapist! What price sanity? It’s a question I think about when I work on my budget then gleefully budget money for summer camps and medical expenses (see above therapist). I’ve been in fandom longer than many readers; I love having the greater majority of my fic in one place without having to worry about anyone selling the site from under us or trying to monetize the authors/artists. Never go away.

    In short, please take my money.

    Feel free to publish any of this comment.


    -a fan

  2. DogFacts commented:

    Dear Ao3,

    Crack down on the child pornography and maybe we’ll stop complaining about the hundreds of thousands of dollars you seem to spend /not/ improving the site in any capacity.

    -a user.

    • j commented:


    • Anon commented:

      Dear Dogfacts
      This is a free forum, it is free for all users, and it constitutional accepts freedom of speech. If there is something that you are opposed to, don’t read it, but don’t try to undermine our freedom by trying to impose your will. And just to be clear. I am not an advocate for child pornography, and this site does not have photo images of any underage persons, which in anyway constitutes the term pornography, and any person who posts any other form of art, be that through word or image, that does not explicitly encourage other to partake on an act of child pornography, does not violate it either. Some of the greatest literary works of all times have elements of child rape, which are glorified even, so I would suggest some introspection and valid research before you make accusatory posts.

  3. PCB commented:

    My thoughts exactly! There are certain things that should never be allowed. Ever.