OTW Finance: 2020 Budget

Throughout 2019, the OTW Finance team worked in the background to make sure that all of the organization’s bills were paid, taxes were filed, and standard accounting procedures were met. Preparations for the 2019 financial statements and audit are currently underway!

In the meantime, the team has also been diligently working to meet the OTW’s 2020 needs, and are proud to present to you this year’s budget (access the 2020 budget spreadsheet for more detailed information):

2020 Expenses

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 79.7%. Open Doors: 0.1%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 0.3%. Fanlore: 1.1%. Legal Advocacy: 0.8%. Con Outreach: 0.1%. Admin: 8.5%. Fundraising: 9.4%.

Archive of Our Own (AO3)

US$11,326.91 spent; US$492,087.24 left

  • US$11,326.91 spent so far out of US$503,414.15 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • 79.7% 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, as well as costs highlighted below (access all program expenses).
  • This year’s projected AO3 expenses also contains US$100,000.00 in contractor costs for work on moving AO3 collection searching to Elasticsearch and upgrading to Rails 6.
  • Additionally, AO3 expenses tentatively include a planned significant server upgrade and expansion of roughly US$255,000.00. New database servers will expand the ability of the Archive to serve pages and search results to users with fewer connection issues. The old servers will be repurposed as storage for the new servers. It is possible this activity will be deferred to next year depending on various circumstances; the updated budget to be released later this year will provide additional information.
  • Other budgeted costs include US$33,000.00 for a Systems contractor, who will do some work for various OTW projects, including the Archive.


US$533.83 spent; US$6,484.45 left

  • US$533.83 spent so far out of US$7,018.28 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • 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).

Transformative Works and Cultures

US$331.00 spent; US$1,500.00 left

  • US$331.00 spent so far out of US$1,831.00 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • Transformative Works and Cultures‘ expenses are the journal’s website hosting, and publishing and storage fees (access all program expenses).

Open Doors

US$139.66 spent; US$732.17 left

  • US$139.66 spent so far out of US$871.83 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • 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 February 29, 2020.
  • Legal’s expenses consist of filing fees and travel expenses for conferences and hearings (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 February 29, 2020.
  • Budgeted expenses include US$100.00 for printing flyers and US$400.00 for other convention outreach activities on behalf of the OTW (access all program expenses).


US$2,891.28 spent; US$56,295.90 left

  • US$2,891.28 spent so far out of US$59,187.18 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • 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$6,777.87 spent; US$46,879.38 left

  • US$6,777.87 spent so far out of US$53,657.25 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • 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).

2020 Revenue

OTW revenue: April drive donations: 25.0%. October drive donations: 32.6%. Non-drive donations: 34.6%. Donations from matching programs: 7.7%. Interest income: 0.1%. Royalties: 0.1%. Other 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 58% of our income in 2020. 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 2020.
  • The reserves also help bolster us in years when we’re planning larger than usual purchases. As mentioned previously, we have plans to upgrade the capacity of the Archive’s servers, 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$111,000.00 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 2020.
  • US$49,079.71 received so far (as of February 29, 2020) and US$520,900.00 projected to be received by the end of the year.

US$49,079.71 donated; US$471,820.29 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 25 at 8pm UTC (what time is that in my timezone?).

Here is the link to the chat transcript. Thank you for participating!

To download the OTW’s 2020 budget in spreadsheet format, please follow this link.

  1. Unicron commented:

    Thank you as always for the transparency. I am a bit sad that Open Doors is getting less funding than last year, but I understand none the less

    • Jb2G commented:

      That’s how I feel also paid forward ?

  2. Daena commented:

    I’m so glad that this site is doing well, I was just hoping you guys can consider making an app? I feel like this would be a HUGE next step that can bring you guys far.