Donations and the Long Term Viability of the Site and other issues.

Penny here. Writing this for Clawdia because she’s currently dealing with a stress migraine for reasons that will be apparent in a moment.

As some of you know, Clawdia did not respond well to certain events recently and things went downhill quite quickly. Well we thought some of that had been fixed, and it was in a way. Then last month the last of the monthly donors canceled their donation. Now why this is a big problem. That one person was personally responsible for paying one-third of the hosting costs for the board. Yes, you read that right. And do you know the worst part of this? That persons donations came in after the bill was due so Clawdia and I were usually eating the bill and just getting reimbursed later. That’s why we often had to ask for help for the full amount.

Well now we’re in the situation Clawdia has been telling you would eventually happen for years. With the loss of that last regular donor this site is simply not able to support itself. In fact right now the hosting bill isn’t going to get paid and things will go offline unless we get some major help.

Do you remember Clawdia mentioned the issue where her brother-in-law got a hold of the debit card for her PayPal account and fucked it up? She had to open a new checking account for PayPal to unlock her account (and honestly, surprised they even did so) and her disability and SSI checks were scheduled to start being put into that account this month. In fact she was assured they would be when she called to verify that on Monday. Care to take a guess what didn’t happen? That’s right, they went to her old account that the bank has made deposit only instead of the new account. The old account was still overdrawn more than the total of her checks so we can’t do anything about getting those funds back. Which brings us to the reason for this post.

As it stands right this minute we are screwed. The server bill of $90 is due, our internet service/cable bill is $200 on a payment arrangement due by 11pm CDT on November 2nd (and is major component of being able to maintain the site for obvious reasons so losing it would be bad) and the $180 payment on our stove and fridge is also due by 5pm on Saturday or we lose those as well.

Now, you saw the part where Clawdia didn’t her checks because they went into an overdrawn, deposit only account? That means those funds which are mandatory to pay those bills don’t exist at all. And that is a big problem.

Short term, we basically need $470 to pay just the stuff that has to be paid in the next 48 hours. My income from work is already spoken for to pay our rent and utilities so I can’t cover the stuff Clawdia normally pays.

Which brings me to the long term viability of the site. As you may recall Clawdia has tried multiple times to get more people to donate monthly to help offset the costs and to try and build up a credit so this kind of situation wouldn’t put the site at risk again. That didn’t happen. This is a situation that cannot continue as it currently is.

Realistically, this is what needs to happen: We need to get the bills mentioned above paid, and somehow, some way, we have to get donations up to a level that can support the site long term. As is mentioned on the donations page there is a plan in place to reduce the hosting costs in the long term. In fact some of that work was done several months ago. Clawdia and I were eating a much larger portion of the bill than people realize previously. As that page also mentions, if every single member who logs in regularly (as in at least once a week) donated just $2 once, the site would not even be at risk for months. Of course that is in normal circumstances.

Here is what we’re asking of you. Help us get this bill situation fixed, and help us get enough funds to pay the server bill for at least 2 months. We can fix this mess, and we can solve the long term issues if we work together on it. For the site’s sake, and for Clawdia’s sake, please do what ever you can to help. There are several options given on the Donations Info page linked in the header. In addition to the addresses given on that page for contacting Clawdia or myself about donating, you can also reach me directly at

Just to be clear here: This site is running on borrowed time, because if we lose our internet or the server bill doesn’t get paid, the results will be the same. It won’t be an if things go offline, it’s when.


Okay guys, I’ve been blessed here lately from a financial perspective. For the first time in my life, I can actually help.

If the will is out there, I’ll not only do $100 now, but I’ll set up a recurring $50 a month. But I gotta see that others are willing to make even minimal commitments too, because we can’t have this crisis happening every month anymore. If you care about this community, now is the time to step up.

Consistency isn’t something I can offer outside the summer months between low hours and expenses. I may have $50 or so left over tomorrow evening after getting paid, paying bills, and accounting for rainy day funds. Beyond that, my budget’s going to be strict until after new years.

I can help out a little.

I helped out with 50$ for now, I was trying to set up a monthly donation as well for at least a little bit. But PayPal said, “Nope!” for now.

It may be a regional restriction. I had to manually create a recurring invoice in PayPal for someone having that issue a couple of years ago.

No, it was just PayPal that said: “No, try again in a few minutes.” But I got it fixed now.

Aaaaaand my monthly is set up.

OK, $100 one-shot last night, $50 a month started up today. How far are we from closing the gap?

I know the gap is less than $20. I’ll get the exact amount when I get home from my Doctor’s appointment. I can’t access the necessary page from my phone because PayPal is being stupid and redirecting to the homepage when i try to access it.

I’ll donatw what I can when I get home. I’m waiting for some bills to go through so I know what I have left for the month and cam budget and see what I can spare.

eta: Donated what I could, if I have any left at the end of the month I’ll donate more.

I’ve helped out in the past but a year of being unemployed has really put a damper on things. I’ll see what i can do after the bills for this month

I sent my donation in. It’s the best I can do for a while.

mine has also been sent, ain’t much but it’s the best i can do

Sorry it took me a bit longer than I intended to get back to this. The donations here and from a few friends were just barely enough to get everything covered, but it was covered. :slight_smile:

Now, as for the recurring donations and how much they cover. I very much need to update the donations page to reflect this but the current level of recurring donations works out to $87.48 assuming everyone’s donations are taken from a credit/debit card rather than their PayPal balances/Instant ACH transfers. Assuming it comes out of PayPal balances and/or instant ACH transfers? It’s $95, so $5 extra each month :slight_smile: So generally speaking the board is self-sufficient now, and even if all the donations come off cards, I can easily eat the small difference. The cash back each month from using my PayPal debit card will cover the difference. :slight_smile:

Good. I know it’s not fun for you having to stress out about this every month or post about it every month. I’ll keep that up as long as I can, right now it’s a pretty minor thing, and since it’s coming from my PP credit line, it’s easy to cycle through it when I get paid every month.

A bit late for this, got side tracked by other issues, some of them involving Clawdia’s health (I’ll post about that later. Staff already know some of it) but I have an update for those interested.

Thanks to the level of recurring donations + one off donations we’ve made some progress in the area of trying to reduce hosting costs. As of this morning we are back down to 2 web front ends behind the load balancer. A few extras were needed during the upgrade a couple months ago. I also began the process of merging the image hosts. Currently uploaded signature images and avatars are now on the same storage. Other uploaded images are in the progress of migrating now and should be finished by the 15th. it’s taking awhile due to the fact the images have to be manually moved and then all references in the database have to be updated to point to the new physical locations. The database part is semi-automatic, but I still have to manually provide the new paths to the database update script. :slight_smile:

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