Open Collective
Open Collective
Goodbye 2022, Hello 2023
Published on December 2, 2022 by Alex Hillman

Greetings, citizens!

This is our first update since signing up for OpenCollective. 

Until now, the financial support we've received for the Mastodon server was going through an open source Patreon-like platform. Which worked well enough to cover our server bills as they grew quickly during the months of October and November!

But the accounting was messy, and as a team we agreed that it would be better to run this server with as much financial transparency as possible. So we signed up for OpenCollective.

If you're new to OpenCollective, there are two parts:
  • The Platform - the software that lets us transparently manage contributions and expenses
  • The Foundation - a fiscal sponsor that acts as a sort of "virtual treasury" for us, rather than needing to create a separate legal entity and bank accounts.
Anyone can use the OpenCollective software, but we had to apply and be accepted to the foundation's fiscal sponsor program. And we were approved! 🎉

What does that mean going forward? A few things:
  1. We're working to make sure that the current active donors and their contributions are correctly recorded and accounted for, and all unspent funds are moved into our OpenCollective account. 
  2. Once that's done, we will close the previous funding page
  3. We'll re-launch our contributions here on OpenCollective, with the additional benefit that all contributions made through this platform will be tax deductible thanks to the fiscal sponsor model and the Open Collective Foundation!
To wrap up this year, we've been asked by OpenCollective to share a year-end report that follows the following questions:

1. What did you accomplish during 2022? How did you use money?
  • grew to more than 850 members, with our biggest growth during October and November
  • Thanks(?) to the concern around Twitter and it's new owner, we saw a massive return of old members along with new members, bringing us to 550+ active members.
  • We launched a successful "crowdfund" with 29 patrons contributing approximately $100/month in funds to cover our server bills.

Presently and going forward, our primary (only?) expense will be our hosting bill for our managed server. We have no specific plans to change host, as this managed service handles security, patches, upgrading, and scaling issues for us. 
Our server costs have grown at a rate that we're still getting our heads wrapped around, but are generally proportional to the growth and activity of our server. These costs have grown by multiples since August of 2022 as more people have joined and become active participants. 

2. What challenges did you face during 2022? What did your Collective learn? How did you change or grow?

In the first half of 2022, the server was essentially dormant. Seeing a large influx of active members has been exciting, but also renewed our interest in making sure that this is a safe and inclusive space as well as a good citizen of the wider fediverse.

We're doing our homework to prepare for long-term needs around moderation, and making sure that as we build a healthy community we have a system in place for people to contribute to the direction and leadership of the server. 

3. What are your plans for 2023? Anything exciting coming up?

Besides transitioning all of our funds from our old crowdfunding platform to OpenCollective, our primary goals are to recruit a small but effective moderation team. We'd also like to improve onboarding resources. We'll work with our hosting provider to make sure that our server stays fast and stable.

In the future, we are considering the possibility of:
  • Launching merch/gear (stickers, hats, etc) with branding as a way for members to rep the community and contribute to our budget.
  • Live/in-person mixer events for members and/or supporters. 
  • 👉 Your idea here 👈
Thanks for reading, citizens. 

Your humble admins, 
-Alex & Nelson
🚀  2

John Young

Posted on December 7, 2022

Thanks, you two! I look forward to being a participant and supporter.