2018 at Interference Archive: the perspective from our bank account

April 2, 2019 by

None of us volunteer at Interference Archive because we love accounting, but as tax season rolls around, we thought we’d share some of the numbers that we’ve pulled together to paint a picture of what it costs to keep this archive alive.

A few of us had an opportunity last year to write some of our thoughts on sustainability for a blog post series: at the heart of our work is the belief that our community matters, and this is paralleled in our financial model. Our monthly sustainer financial system is, to us, a model of community care that reminds us why we exist and who we exist for.

Check out how we did at this over the last year:

Our 2018 Income: $86,684

How we earned money:

  • Approximately $30,000 from individual donations. This includes monthly sustainers and one-off donations. We are really committed to continuing to have a financial foundation of this kind of support, and we’d love if you would consider becoming a monthly sustainer.
  • About $2,000 from class visits
  • Approximately $12,000 from our coworking space
  • Grants! We receive project-based grant funding that supports work above and beyond our operational costs. In 2018, this included $5,000 from Humanities New York for our Free Education! exhibition; $4,471 from Brooklyn Arts Council for our Agitprop exhibition; and $1,750 from the Wikimedia Foundation for wikipedia editathons and workshops. We also received $15,000 in 2018 from Metabolic Studios towards our operating expenses. This is the first time we’ve received any kind of grant towards operating expenses; usually, our grants are only for programming and exhibitions.
  • The rest of our income broadly falls into a category that our accounting software likes to call “sales and services.” What does that really mean? This category brings together donations we receive for the printed resources we’ve created; donations for presentations we make at conferences; donations at events; and donations to Interference Archive for loans of material to be used in exhibitions at other institutions.

Our 2018 Expenses: $90,792

How we spent money:

  • rent: $66,500 (our base rent per year is $60,000; this larger total includes our property taxes, as well as a $3,000 payment towards the huge AC unit that was installed when we moved in, which we had agreed to pay off within one year)
  • utilities: approximately $8,500
  • insurance: $2,850
  • office expenses: about $1,700. This number includes things like paper, printer cartridges, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper; it also includes monthly payments for IT services including website hosting, accounting software, email distribution platforms, and podcast distribution platforms (check out our podcast!).
  • exhibitions and public programming: this is where we see our grant funding get spent: $5,000 on our Free Education exhibition, $4,471 on our Agitprop exhibition, and $1,750 on wikipedia editathons and workshops.

We’d love your help towards paying the rent in 2019! Please consider becoming a monthly sustainer or making a one-time donation. Questions? Feel free to send us an email!