OTW Finance: 2023 Budget

During the last year, the OTW Finance team has continued its work of ensuring that the organization’s bills are paid, tax returns filed, and standard accounting procedures met. Preparation for the 2022 audit of financial statements is currently ongoing!

The team has also been diligently working to meet the OTW’s 2023 needs, and is proud to present to you this year’s budget (access the 2023 budget spreadsheet for more detailed information):

2023 Expenses

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 59.4%. Open Doors: 1.1%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 0.7%. Fanlore: 3.3%. Legal Advocacy: 1.1%. Con Outreach: 0.4% Admin: 18.0%. Fundraising & Development: 16.0%.

Archive of Our Own (AO3)

US$99,854.48 spent; US$195,431.28 left

  • US$99,854.48 spent so far out of US$295,285.76 total this year, as of February 28, 2023.
  • 59.4% 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 include US$74,000 to purchase new servers, as well as US$77,000 in server related equipment to increase the capacity of existing servers to handle expected site traffic growth through the year.

Open Doors

US$2,232.86 spent; US$3,293.30 left

  • US$2,232.86 spent so far out of US$5,526.16 total this year, as of February 28, 2023.
  • Open Doors’ expenses consist of hosting, backup, and domain costs for imported fanwork archives, as well as an allocated share of newly adopted OTW-wide productivity tools (access all program expenses).

Transformative Works and Cultures

US$847.70 spent; US$2,662.00 left

  • US$847.70 spent so far out of US$3,509.70 total this year, as of February 28, 2023.
  • Transformative Works and Cultures‘ expenses are the journal’s website hosting, publishing, and storage fees, as well as an allocated share of newly adopted OTW-wide productivity tools (access all program expenses).


US$6,222.79 spent; US$9,979.20 left

  • US$6,222.79 spent so far out of US$16,201.99 total this year, as of February 28, 2023.
  • Fanlore’s expenses are its share of allocated server hardware, maintenance and colocation costs, as well as its portion of newly adopted OTW-wide productivity tools (access all program expenses).

Legal Advocacy

US$0.00 spent; US$5,258.00 left

  • US$0.00 spent so far out of US$5,258.00 total this year, as of February 28, 2023.
  • Legal’s expenses consist of registration fees for conferences and hearings and funds set aside for legal filings if necessary, as well as an allocated share of newly adopted OTW-wide productivity tools (access all program expenses).

Con Outreach

US$0.00 spent; US$2,000.00 left

  • US$0.00 spent so far out of US$2,000.00 total this year, as of February 28, 2023.
  • Budgeted expenses include US$1,000.00 for convention outreach activities on behalf of the OTW, which include convention tabling fees, volunteer attendance, and related presentation materials, as well as US$1,000.00 for convention giveaways (access all program expenses).

Fundraising and Development

US$9,235.91 spent; US$70,389.20 left

  • US$9,235.91 spent so far out of US$79,625.11 total this year, as of February 28, 2023.
  • Our fundraising and development 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, as well as an allocated share of newly adopted OTW-wide productivity tools (access fundraising expenses).


US$21,093.22 spent; US$68,079.74 left

  • US$21,093.22 spent so far out of US$89,172.96 total this year, as of February 28, 2023.
  • The OTW’s administrative expenses include hosting for our website, trademarks, domains, insurance, tax filing, and annual financial statement audits, as well as productivity, management, and accounting tools (access all admin expenses).

2023 Revenue

OTW revenue: April drive donations: 13.5%. October drive donations: 13.5%. Non-drive donations: 54.1%. Donations from matching programs: 18.9%. 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 a significant portion of our donations each year in the April and October fundraising drives, which together will account for about 27% of our income in 2023. We also receive donations via employer matching programs, royalties, 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!
  • Thanks to your generosity in previous years, we have a healthy amount of money in our reserves, which we can use to pay for larger than usual purchases and keep on hand for legal contingencies. As mentioned previously, we plan to continue to upgrade the capacity of the Archive’s servers, which significantly increases server equipment and server hosting expenses. The growth of the Archive and other projects of the OTW also requires more volunteers and administrative support, further increasing expenses. The budget spreadsheet projects a withdrawal of US$130,000 from reserves to cover the costs that exceed the amount of revenue projected to be received this year. This amount may be withdrawn as needed during the year.
  • US$69,477.12 received so far (as of February 28, 2023) and US$370,320.00 projected to be received by the end of the year.

US$69,477.12 donated; US$300,842.88 left

Got questions?

If you have any questions about the budget or the OTW’s finances, please contact the Finance committee. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

To download the OTW’s 2023 budget in spreadsheet format, please follow this link.

  1. kekspeek commented:

    Thank you for the continued transparency. Is the date for the April drive decided already? I wouldn’t want to miss it.

    • Claudia Rebaza commented:

      Hi kekspeek

      Yes it is. It will begin on April 28 (which might be the 27th depending on your timezone).

      Claudia Rebaza
      OTW Communications

  2. Rachel commented:

    Question: Are we a 501c3? I don’t see last year’s net at 0. Probably I am missing something.

    • Rachel commented:

      Sorry, also, is there a fund sheet of some sort showing what’s in the reserves and any other funds and the policies around deciding how those are allocated?

      • Claudia Rebaza commented:

        Hello Rachel

        Here’s a response from our Finance team:

        “The OTW is a 501c3 which means the org is tax exempt. It doesn’t mean or require that the OTW needs to operate at a net cash zero annually. We currently do not have any funds that are required to be used for a particular project or purpose (with one small exception) — the need of each of the projects determines spending. You can check out the audited financial reports which includes the balance sheet.

        Claudia Rebaza
        Staff, OTW Communications

  3. Lola commented:

    I’m really amazed at your transparency. The first graph shows that, from the last year’s budget, you saved 200K. Was the money saved for a really rainy day ?

    • Claudia Rebaza commented:

      Hello Lola – Yes, our reserves are essentially a rainy day fund! – Claudia Rebaza, OTW Communications Staff

  4. G commented:

    Great work! Thank you for the hard work and for the transparency. We really appreciate it.

  5. Quentin commented:

    Félicitations pour votre transparence
    Je suis Français et cela change de mon pays qui cache tout se qui concerne
    Continuer comme ça j’adore votre site

  6. Kala commented:

    Wonderful. Thanks a lot, guys!!!!

  7. Danielle commented:

    Any idea how impacted we’ve been by the shutdown of Amazon Smile? I know it left many nonprofits scrambling.

  8. arya commented:

    Does the OTW have or have plans to form an endowment, or other similar plans to ensure long term financial stability that is not dependent on donations from year to year? Obviously a monetized model is counter to the organization’s mission, but my understanding is that many non-profits aim towards long-term investments that reduce the dependency on yearly donations, which can be unpredictable

    • V commented:

      It is to my understanding, that the drives have always been successful. So, I doubt they’ll go for a premium AO3 model, it would also make it difficult for there to be democracy and transparency.

    • Yuechiang Luo commented:

      Hi arya,

      Due to the success of the OTW’s fundraisers in the last few years, we are fortunate enough to have money in the bank in excess of our immediate needs. The Finance Committee is currently researching into setting up an investment portfolio to earn steady interest income to help diversify its revenue, with an aim to get it established by the middle of next year. There are no plans for monetization.

      OTW Finance

  9. Combo commented:

    As AO3s passionate donors regularly exceed the drives, where does the excess typically go? Is the rainy day fund continuously added to from the excess or is there a separate endowment of some kind where the excess funding goes each year? This year seems to be on track to hit the annual funding just form the April drive, where will the October drive funding go towards?

    • Yuechiang Luo commented:

      Hi Combo,

      The excess from the drives go towards the rainy day fund. The Finance Committee is currently doing research into setting up an investment portfolio for part of the reserves in order to earn additional interest income.

      OTW Finance

  10. E commented:

    I wanna thank everyone who works on AO3. I know it’s so many peoples’ safe spaces and it’s such an incredible site that I don’t know what I’d do with myself if it ever shut down for good

  11. Gail commented:

    I formerly read on a small website that did not tolerate criticism of writers. If someone violated policies they were kicked off so that people did not discourage writers and along with potentially stopping a good writer from contributing they may stop the growth of an aspiring writer. People had to agree to this policy of not criticizing writers or they could not sign up for the website and if they violated the policy they were kicked off. If a reader does not like a story they should just move on to another. Is there a way you can identify a computer so that a person cannot sign up under a different name? I feel it’s really important to protect your writer’s hard work and contributions which makes your website.

    • Jack Kanoff commented:

      IS THIS A JOKE? You want them to ban people for criticizing a story?

      • Sam commented:

        look some people just don’t respect the well known rule of don’t like don’t read, and it’s an issue when they blame the authors and critique them for a story that the author didn’t ask them to read

        • Valentina Morales commented:

          You really do not understand the no-censorship AO3 has, do you?

    • El commented:

      Homie you do know you’re allowed to make it so the creator has to approve comments before they are public right? They do have something to help protect authors.

  12. Elizabeth commented:

    Hi, in the past I’ve tried to contribute to OTW via my donor-advised fund (DAF); the process generates a check that goes to the address on the nonprofit paperwork for the organization (my DAF is via Vanguard Charitable; they’re typically very thorough.) The DAF-generated check didn’t get cashed, and was eventually canceled.

    I’m happy to continue supporting via small donations via the drives, but for anything more substantial, allowing people to give via DAF seems like it might be fruitful. If there’s a better address for mailing contributions, could you let me know?

    Thanks for all you do!

    • Claudia Rebaza commented:

      Hello Elizabeth — Thank you very much for your past support and for following up on the check. I have a reply from our Finance team: “Occasionally the check may have gotten lost in the mail. If it hasn’t been cashed and got cancelled, if they contact their donor advised fund to reissue the check we can keep an eye out for it to make sure we receive it and cash it out.” In order to let them know when this happens, just return here and use the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of this webpage and then set the dropdown to Finance. The message will go to them directly and you can then include any private details regarding the donation. — Claudia Rebaza, OTW Communications Staff

  13. Kathleen M Ockuly commented:

    I love this site and want to support it. It would be very nice if all stories could be searched by original authors name, IE Andre Norton..

  14. Hailey Gardiner commented:

    I want to expand community in the Fandom world. If you desire a place for that here’s a link to a discord server. https://discord.gg/TwVU45h9g8