Aline Carrão 2015 Q&A: Finances, Group 1

If elected to the board, will you push for a published yearly budget? What would you consider key items in a budget?

We need a yearly budget. This budget should contain all expected expenses by each org committee. We need to ask committees beforehand,regularly, and well in advance, about what their spending might be, encouraging committees’ forward planning about their expenses and helping them establish priorities, so that the board can know how best to prioritize in case there is more demand for funds than funds available. Key items are all the core expenses that keep the OTW and projects up and running, such as servers, racks, colocation, software, and bank fees.

A nonprofit’s board has a fiduciary responsibility regarding its assets, which includes making sure they earn a reasonable interest rate. In the past three years, despite our considerable reserves, our investment income (per the OTW’s tax filings and Annual Reports) has been, respectively, US$5, US$40 and US$18. If elected, would you hope we can do anything different about this?

Yes, there are low-risk investments that we should investigate. Once we have a budget and more organized bookkeeping in place we will have a better picture of how much money we will need when and how much can be set aside without need for liquidity in the short-term. This will help us plan the best way to go about investing responsibly.

The latest three OTW fundraising drives had escalating goals: US$70,000; US$100,000; US$175,000 (October ’14, May ’15, October ’15). How would you define responsible fundraising in a fandom context? What does it mean for our finances?

We need to define our fundraising goals based on our projected expenses and needs, and communicate with our users and members clearly about those during our planned fundraisers. We should have clear budgets and reports to share that explain why we’re fundraising specific amounts, explaining what we’ve used the money that we’ve raised so far for and what we’ll use the money we’re asking for in the future. Fandom has been very generous with the OTW, and it’s our responsibility to honor that generosity by showing we deserve it.

There have been complaints in the past, particularly from AO3 committees, of some of the OTW’s service bills not being paid on time or being paid very last-minute—sometimes resulting in committees temporarily losing access to tools they need for their work. What do you think can be done to prevent this from happening in the future?

We need to have more than one person in charge and with access to our accounts, and with the power and the responsibility to pay the bills. Establishing a clear calendar and procedure regarding bills, including who is in charge of doing it (with a failsafe in case this doesn’t get done by a certain date). I also believe we should shift the bills that we are sure will not be changed in the near future to automatic payments, which would minimize the risk of these problems happening at least in some cases.