Matty Bowers 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?

Yes. Our budget should outline our expected expenses (OTW tools, contractor fees, server upkeep, committee expenses, etc.) and projected income. After the budget has been drafted, it should be sent to the committee chairs to ensure everything is correct and nothing has been overlooked. It should be reviewed as the year continues if new expenses arise.

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. Leaving most of our reserves sitting in a checking account means that, in practice, we’re losing money. I believe we should speak to a licensed professional who can offer advice and suggestions. We should then listen to said professional and implement the suggestions we believe will work best for us.

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?

Our fundraising goals should be centered on our budget: our projected expenses for the coming year and the amount we need to cover these expenses. That way, when it’s time for a fundraising drive, we can present to our potential donors a clear breakdown of our projected expenses, showing them how we plan to use the money we’re raising. That will help the OTW be more transparent in its financial management and might even, I believe, help us raise more donations from people who may have reservations about our current financial practices.

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?

Without knowing all our financial details, here are a few general suggestions:

  • Have more than one person available to pay bills
  • Organize our finances so that all information is in one location, with a payment schedule for everything outlined
  • When possible, set up recurring payments
  • Ensure that backups of all legal and financial documents are in a secure, shared location so no one person has the only copy of anything