Jessica Steiner – Elections Q&A (Part 2)

4) What do you believe the Board’s role should be in the area of fundraising in particular? What kinds of concrete acts should or shouldn’t Board members do with regards to fundraising planning and execution?

I honestly don’t have any experience with fundraising, and it is really not an area of interest to me. That being said, I’m willing to do what needs to be done to support the OTW’s financial stability, and if that means getting out and promoting the OTW, then that’s what I’ll do. It’s my understanding that most Boards of non-profits spend most of their time fundraising and building contacts with people who have money to generate patronage. The people who comprise those Boards have such networks available to them and usually have a lot of money themselves, and they don’t get involved with any actual running of the corporation they support. That’s not really the kind of Board we have right now, though I think we should work towards having something more like that in the future.

5) What kind of challenges, in your opinion, does the OTW face in the financial area? What do you think are our most pressing needs and flaws in that realm?

From discussions I’ve seen, it appears that the biggest challenge in the financial arena is ensuring that the AO3 has the server capacity it needs to remain running as we continue to grow. It concerns me that we don’t seem to have anyone covering our finances who is a fully accredited accountant – no offense meant to sanders in the least, whom I believe does know what she’s doing and is doing the best job she can – but I do think (and I believe she agrees with me) that a CPA should be looking at this. DevMem has also had some upheavals in leadership in the past year, and that concerns me as well. They are a hugely important committee and need to be fully functional and stable.

6) Would you be able to lay out your vision for OTW’s financial future? How do you intend to balance the committees’ different needs?

My vision is an OTW with enough regular and stable donations, supplemented by income from other streams, to sustain its current needs and projected growth. I think we need to ensure that DevMem is a stable and functional committee with more people who have real experience and an interest in fundraising and finances. Finances and budgeting are an area I know very little about, and I have to defer to the people who know more about the current financial situation and the committees’ financial needs.

7) We’re currently projected to be operating at a financial loss this year. Do you have any concrete plans for how you’ll address issues of financial sustainability going forward?

I know that we do have a surplus, to help cover the necessary expenses, but we should continue to work on promotion and develop other stable income streams. To me, ensuring that DevMem has the resources it needs to be a sustainable and functional committee is the best means for ensuring our financial stability. That means providing Dan with support, and may mean recruiting for more people, possibly a new co-chair, but I’m honestly speculating on exactly what their needs are. Ultimately, I would defer to Dan, as the chair of DevMem, and sanders, as the Treasurer, to have a far better idea of what needs to be done than I do.

8) AO3’s continued survival currently depends on a small handful of volunteers doing massive amounts of unpaid work. If those people became unavailable, what would your plan be to keep the archive from going under? Do you have a sense of how much it would cost to hire external contractors to do that work?

The situation is a serious one, I agree. I don’t believe it’s that likely that every one of those lynchpins would suddenly become unavailable at the same time, but I think recruitment of people with duplicate skills to help spread the load and cover if people become unavailable is of paramount importance. I honestly don’t know how much it would cost to duplicate those skills with external contractors, but I’m certain our budget doesn’t allow it. Luckily, there are tonnes of skilled people in fandom.

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