70,000 USD does seem like a lot, which is why many of our users may be surprised to find out that in 2015, the OTW will need 75,000 USD just to replace old servers and expand capacity! The OTW’s annual budget for 2014 is 221,863.44 USD, and 70% of that goes directly to servers, collation, and staff development for AO3. The remaining 30% of our 2014 budget funds Fanlore, Legal Advocacy, Open Doors, and Transformative Works and Cultures; covers administrative costs; allows for outreach and membership development (such as our thank you gifts and shipping); and provides opportunities for professional development and training for personnel. All of these things help the OTW protect and celebrate fans and fan culture.
I believe it. Still, any chance of a budget for intended use of donations? Transparency is a good thing. ^^ Remember what happened to the GIA back in the day…
We agree that financial transparency is important for anyone who’s being asked for their support. Although near-term expenses are easier for us to be specific about, as we’re already making plans for those purchases, it’s a bit more difficult to be precise for a whole year’s budget. We base these budgets on past expenses that we expect to remain fairly stable or to re-occur with an increase (such as bandwidth costs). For a look at our past budgets and expenses, check out 2013’s Annual Report and last October’s posts on overall expenses and hardware and hosting costs. However some expenses prove to be unexpected (such as a provider significantly hiking prices or early hardware failure) or things we expected to happen didn’t occur or proved not to cost as much as we were projecting. So we want to be cautious about saying any set amount of money will be spent specifically on X and Y when estimating what our costs will be going forward.
What we can say with certainty, and which supporters can read about by comparing budgets from one Annual Report to the next, is that as our projects become more popular and heavily used, our staffing needs and expenses have continued to rise. For that reason, we are projecting that we will need a larger amount of donations during this drive (and future ones) to cover them.