OTW Finance: 2019 Budget

2018 was another productive and busy year for the OTW Finance team. We continue to work in the background to make sure that the bills are paid, the record keeping is accurate, and standard accounting procedures are met. Preparations for the 2018 financial statements and audit are also underway!

And now, we present the budget for 2019 (access the 2019 budget spreadsheet for more detailed information):

2019 Expenses

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 81.2%. Open Doors: 0.2%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 0.4%. Fanlore: 1.3%. Legal Advocacy: 1.0%. Con Outreach: 0.1%. Admin: 9.8%. Fundraising: 6.1%.

Archive of Our Own (AO3)

US$12,242.60 spent; US$405,861.47 left

  • US$12,242.60 spent so far out of US$418,104.06 total this year, as of February 28, 2019.
  • 81.2% 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 licenses (access all program expenses).
  • This year’s projected AO3 expenses include US$110,000 in contractor costs for upgrades and security testing.
  • Additionally, AO3 expenses include a significant server overhaul and expansion of roughly US$177,000. 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 for a Systems contractor, who will do some work for the Archive’s hardware infrastructure.


US$329.34 spent; US$6,409.63 left

  • US$329.34 spent so far out of US$6,738.97 total this year, as of February 28, 2019.
  • Fanlore expenses are mostly its allocation of server purchases, maintenance and colocation costs, in addition to Fanlore’s web domain renewals (access all program expenses).
  • The new virtualisation servers mentioned above will also serve Fanlore pages and store Fanlore wiki backups.

Transformative Works and Cultures

US$275.00 spent; US$1,558.00 left

  • US$275.00 spent so far out of US$1,833.00 total this year, as of February 28, 2019.
  • Transformative Works and Cultures‘ expenses are the journal’s website hosting, and publishing and storage fees (access all program expenses).

Open Doors

US$91.82 spent; US$844.35 left

  • US$91.82 spent so far out of US$936.17 total this year, as of February 28, 2019.
  • Open Doors’ expenses consist of hosting, backup, and domain costs for imported fanwork archives (access all program expenses).

Legal Advocacy

US$0 spent; US$5,000.00 left

  • US$0 spent so far out of US$5,000.00 total this year, as of February 28, 2019.
  • Legal’s expenses consist of filing fees and travel expenses for conferences and hearings (access all program expenses).

Con Outreach

US$0 spent; US$500.00 left

  • US$0 spent so far out of US$500.00 total this year, as of February 28, 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$2,296.25 spent; US$29,163.75 left

  • US$2,296.25 spent so far out of US$31,460.00 total this year, as of February 28, 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$2,785.99 spent; US$47,685.81 left

  • US$2,785.99 spent so far out of US$50,471.80 total this year, as of February 28, 2019.
  • The OTW’s administrative expenses include hosting for our website, trademarks, domains, insurance, tax filing, and annual financial statement audits, as well as communication and accounting tools (access all admin expenses).

2019 Revenue


  • 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 67% of our income in 2019. We also receive donations via employer matching programs, royalties, Amazon Smile, and PayPal Giving Fund, which administers donations from programs like Humble Bundle and eBay for Charity. 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.
  • The reserves also help bolster us in years when we’re planning larger than usual purchases. As mentioned previously, we have plans to replace old server hardware over the next few months as well as purchase new server hardware, which significantly increase our expenses for this year. Some of the forecasted expenses outlined in this budget may not take place before the end of the year, due to various constraints. To account for this uncertainty, even though all expenses we anticipate are described in the budget spreadsheet, we have projected a withdrawal of US$96,000 from our reserves to cover the amount corresponding to the less likely expenses. This additional amount may be withdrawn from reserves on an as-needed basis during the year. Our budget update, which will be published in October, will contain more precise information about which expenses will take place in 2019.
  • US$23,840.99 received so far (as of February 28, 2019) and US$419,475 projected to be received by the end of the year.

US$23,840.99 donated; US$395,634.01 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 April 6 at 8pm UTC(what time is that in my timezone?).

Here is the link to the chatroom! Come chat with us, and bring your questions!

To download the OTW’s 2019 budget in spreadsheet format, please follow this link.

  1. Jess Richards commented:

    Thanks for this! As always, your transparency and obvious hard work leave me happy to support the OTW.

  2. Rebecca Simon commented:

    Thank you for all this info!! You should advertise more that you are a donatable charity in Amazon Smile! Just switched my Amazon Smile charity over to OTW. 🙂

  3. skyearth85 commented:

    I work in the world of not profit association and your transparency is amazing 🙂

  4. jj commented:

    Thanks Finance committee, I really appreciate the transparency as well as the simple version on the web and the full details in the spreadsheet. I have been donating more since you started doing this because I can see the rigour and accountability.

    Can you clarify more about reserves? How much is in reserves? What is OTW’s target for reserves? Who decides when the OTW should spend out of reserves? I assume there must be an overall strategy or philosophy about reserves.

  5. Jem commented:

    Holy Snacks, Ao3 is expensive XD

    Thank you all so much for everything you do. In the face of corporate take-over of so many of our fan spaces, past and present, it’s incredibly valuable to have a home we can rely on. I am happy and proud to support you in every way I can.

  6. pix commented:

    Maybe you should consider taking the time and spending money to get rid of all the child porn, pedophilic, and rape works you have on your site.

  7. Chloris commented:

    Thank you for your transparency! This is without any doubt an encouragment to donate ^^

  8. Anita commented:

    Thank you for your continuous hard work and transparency. It is difficult to express how much it means to have a reliable, all inclusive archive of the enormously rich world of all possible fandoms accessible always.
    Your work, service is much appreciated. Thank you.