Posted by admin on 8 March 2024 09:10:16 PM (Edited by Rainy 1 month ago)
Hey everyone,

The budget newspost is finally here! We thank you so much for your patience, and apologize for the lengthy delay. Holidays ended up being far busier than we initially anticipated, and we ran into unexpected roadblocks during the process, including rewriting some of the code pertaining to the site's PayPal integration. Regardless, we hope the holiday season went well for you all, and that you've had a great New Year so far!

This newspost will be split in two different sections - the 2023 Budget, and the 2024 Expected Budget. The 2023 Budget is fairly self-explanatory - it will be going over our expenses from last year in full. In the 2024 Expected Budget section, we will be showcasing a few different plans for spending, called “tiers.”

The implementation of these tiers will be dependent on the amount of money Art Fight makes, and estimated costs of the site operation are given based on last year’s budget.

2023 Budget

In 2023, Art Fight received approximately 87k USD in contributions. 5k of that total sum went towards PayPal fees, making our gross income 82k USD. We spent $79k of that 87k, which is over 90% of what we received.

The majority of our costs (55%) went towards site upkeep and improvements, such as Linode costs, the server Migration, AWS, and miscellaneous software subscriptions. Approximately $3k was left over (not including contributions from 2024) and will go towards paying site bills.

Here is a simple breakdown of the terms seen on the pie chart:

AWS 27%: Amazon Web Services; for the majority of 2023 this was just image hosting, however we have now moved our web servers to AWS as well, so that is also part of the cost
Linode 10%: Web servers for the majority of 2023
Refunds 1%: Funds given back to contributors
Art 6%:  Funds used to pay for art assets, artists, and related services.
Business Expenses 6%: Software subscriptions Art Fight needs, such as Zendesk, Mailgun, etc.
Taxes 17%: Funds paid to the government for tax purposes
Server Migration 12%: One time cost to Loka to migrate Art Fight’s servers from Linode to AWS

Note on previous owner’s compensation: We understand the concerns regarding transparency about the previous owner’s compensation and are taking time to address them now. In 2023, the majority of the prior owner's compensation came in the form of various tax credits and deductions for business and office expenses, as opposed to being taken directly from Art Fight's income. Keeping in mind a previous lack of formality in bookkeeping, we estimate that the previous owner received approximately 14k in compensation for their work in 2023. Only about 3k of their compensation came directly from Art Fight's funds, which is included in the "Business Expenses" section of the budget.

Going forward, Art Fight plans to continue to utilize these legal tax credits and deductions wherever possible, with the aim of conserving the generous contributions from our community.

To improve bookkeeping records and emphasize future financial transparency, Art Fight has onboarded to a new banking system. Our new bank has managed expense accounts, budgets, and detailed spending reports. We will also hire an accountant quarterly to reconcile our spending, with reports planned to be made available to the community at the end of each year.

Proposed 2024 Budget

We are making it our priority in the 2024 budget to fund features that will improve user experience, mod tools, and overall site function.

In addition, we are allocating funds to go towards fixing internal parts of the site. The core of the site is old, having served us for about seven to eight years. For the long-term stability of Art Fight, we need to develop an API, which will streamline the development process, and also do a partial overhaul of a lot of systems. Another priority is improving security, which includes adding features like Two Factor Authentication.

Art Fight incurs substantial operational costs. As our current budget is now,  the site doesn’t currently bring in enough money to invest in high-quality, experienced developers. Although we are eternally thankful for the generous volunteer devs who have given us their time in the past, we cannot solely rely on them. Moving forward, we would like to prioritize hiring developers to bring new features to the site, and support our current volunteer developers who would like to remain volunteers. This will benefit users and improve their experience, as well as making it far easier for moderators to accomplish their duties.

In terms of “when,” Art Fight makes approximately 90% of its money during June and July. In the offseason, the site only makes around $1.2k USD per month, which is just barely enough to cover our monthly AWS costs. In order to begin paying for new developmental work, it is integral that we begin fundraising now in order to have new features and improvements ready for July. As such, we will be investing time into producing merch as one of our ways of fundraising. We are also considering user submitted advertisements (with proper guidelines in place) as another way of fundraising, but we have not solidified any specific plans yet.

To reiterate from the November newspost - all staff members have been working on Art Fight on an unpaid volunteer basis. As the Co-Owners, we all either work full-time or attend school, while also working ~20 hrs/week on Art Fight. Due to the estimated budget and prioritization of development work, Rainy, Axel and Turtle are choosing to NOT pay themselves, in order to put more money back into the site. The exception to this is paid artwork.

In terms of compensating moderators, we hosted conversations and sent out a survey on if and how they would want to be compensated, including options for financial compensation. The majority of the team members opted to be compensated via some form of free, and possibly staff exclusive merch, which we are incorporating into the budget.

Co-owners will only be paid if certain fundraising milestones are reached, which we estimate to be around $175,000. We are intending to pay ourselves ~10 USD/hr. Accounting for Axel’s work as being the lead artist, alongside co-owner work, an additional 2.5k will go towards the art role which works out to an additional 22.5k/yr of the budget.

Fundraising & Merch

We previously stated that there was a "special winter surprise" intended to help with fundraising. However due to continued legal delays we were unable to move forward with those plans. We still wanted to ensure we could provide something special for our userbase, so we've made the decision to start producing merch as part of our fundraising plans!

We’ll be taking pre-orders of an exclusive new keychain illustrated by Axel! This amazing keychain will be on sale for $15 USD for the first week, and then $17 USD for the rest of the month.

We're using Shopify to handle this sale and also any future merch sales. You can also find this at the top of the header. Money from these sales will go directly to the site and our proposed tiers. We are aware that international shipping is expensive and we deeply apologize for being unable to lessen that for this release. In the future when, we have the means, we will be sure to explore ways to make it more affordable.

This keychain is a limited run, and won’t return in a future sale. Pre-orders will be open for a month starting from today, and will end on April 8th. You can find more information, including shipping details on the Shopify page! Make sure to include your Art Fight username in the order form to get an on-site achievement as well!

If you are a Sponsor and are eligible for the 2024 Art Fight Banner this year, then you will be emailed with a special 10% discount code that you can use on the Shopify!

In the future, we hope to expand our merch line to include old team stickers, pins, and more! We also plan to provide discounts to all Sponsors on future releases, alongside discounts to VIPs+ as well.

If you’re interested in purchasing a keychain, you can visit our store by clicking here!

2024 Contribution Tiers

These are our projected tiers for 2024. These numbers are not meant to be set in stone, but rather a rough estimate that can better communicate our future goals for the site.

The tiers are representative of paid work; we still have devs who wish to remain volunteers and are free to work on features they'd like to implement, so some features may be added or completed outside of the tiers.

We have 3 goals for 2024, plus extra stretch tiers. If a tier is reached, certain features and goals can be achieved, which will be outlined below.

Tier 1: $98,000

Tier 1 is the absolute essentials; the services that run Art Fight. This also includes high priority and necessary items that will help ensure the success of Art Fight in the long run. There is also a table below which showcases each service and its estimated costs.

Moderation Tools

  • Ability to perform moderation changes on multiple attacks, characters, etc
  • General improvements to mod tools and report system

  • Produce Merch
  • Compensate staff members with merch
Tech Debt

  • Upgrading laravel, bootstrap
  • Configuring AWS
  • Creating a setup guide
Security Features

  • Implement 2-Factor Authentication
  • Improve the blocking system on site
User QoL Updates

  • Allow users to delete their own accounts (with proper security measures while removing mod strain)
  • Bookmark improvements: folders, mass delete, bookmark icon in searches
  • Turning off user CSS by default in settings
Below the spoiler is an overview of each service and the expected cost (spoiled due to it being big): 

Tier 2: $150,000

Now that we have some money, we can begin working on requested user features, but with a priority on improvements to moderation tools and new features for contributors.
Moderation Tools:

  • Implement a modmail system to allow moderators to message users without using their personal account. Includes templates/canned replies.
  • General improvements to internal tools
New Feature: Discovery Page

  • A new page on the site that allows for different search options, replacing the old search feature
  • A place to showcase different types of users (e.g new to the site, low battle ratio)
  • Contributors relevant to each respective search will be marked with a special decoration to indicate what type of contributor they are (Supporter, Supporter+, Premium, VIP, VIP+, Sponsor)


  • Tally Pro (used for surveys, internal work, and applications, allows us to connect’s domain)
  • Notion Pro (for internal staff work)

User QoL Updates:

  • Auto-crop icons and thumbnails
  • Reply button on comments
  • Attack button directly on character, autofills character information

Contributor Features:

  • Extra character images for Supporter+
  • Character CSS for Premium Members

Tier 3: $175,000

The Co-Owners are now able to be compensated for their time. Developers will be focused on projects that require a lot of time, like switching our text editor.

Overhaul the filtering system

  • Introduce tags to allow users to block certain content
Moderation Tools:

  • New tools for the proposed filtering system change
User QoL Updates:

  • Convert BBCode text editor into HTML
  • Character pinging (instead of a link, it shows the character’s name)
  • Separate credit option for Art Fight users
  • Various email notifications (when you get attacked, when you get messaged, etc.)
Paid Co-Owners ($22k)

Stretch Goals

As we become closer to these goals, we will work on expanding and developing them. If we do reach a stretch goal, we’ll keep you involved in the process.

Goal 1: $300,000

As we become closer to these goals, we will work on expanding and developing them. If we do reach a stretch goal, we’ll keep you involved in the process.

Contributor Features:

  • Implement a new badge System

    • Change depending on if you are a Supporter, Premium, VIP, or VIP+
    • Visible by your username and icon
  • Develop an Art Fight Discord bot to manage contribution roles
Paid Staff:

  • Hire admins (5hr/week)
Partial redesign of the site

New Feature: More Themes

  • Add specific site color schemes (instead of just lightmode vs darkmode)

Goal 2: $400,000

  • Create ways to utilize Art Fight in the off-season
  • Develop forums on Art Fight
  • Complete site redesign!

Ending Notes

Thank you for sticking with us this year, and for your patience. Information about the tiers is also present on the contribution page! 

We have also brought back the contribution bar, which can be found on the footer of the site. It corresponds to the goals in the 2024 Contribution Tiers section, and updates hourly.

In addition, you might have noticed that the header has been updated! We are now utilizing the changelog page, and will regularly update it when changes have been made. There is also a new art assets page that showcases the official art made for Art Fight.  

As stated previously, we want to move away from using the term “donation”. With that said, you might notice the above URL leads to “” - we do plan on changing this to contribute, but it requires a bit of backend work. This should happen in the near future.

Please note: if you have a monthly Art Fight subscription, we are asking you to cancel as we have a new PayPal account that was created for the LLC. You can learn how to do that here.

With that said, the site will be transitioning its PayPal integration to the new SDK in the coming weeks. The old-style subscription button has been deprecated by PayPal and monthly subscriptions will be unavailable until this process is completed.

Your money is safe either way, but your benefits may be delayed if you don’t switch over since the old PayPal will no longer be directly connected to the site.  After a future grace period (about a month), your old subscription will be canceled so that we can consolidate and automate this process. Those who are subscribed will also receive an email with this information.

If you don’t receive benefits from any contribution made to the old PayPal within a reasonable amount of time, please contact [email protected] so we can input your contribution manually.

We’re super excited for the future of Art Fight, and can’t wait to share more news soon!

-  Art Fight’s Higher Up Team

Edit (04/09/24): Keychain Sale Ended!

  • Pre-orders for the Art Fight Supporter keychain have ended! Thank you all for your support.
  • Those who purchased a keychain will soon receive an email with more information.   

Edit (03/09/24): Clarification regarding contribution bar: 

  • Currently, the bar only shows on-site contributions. We are working on updating it with the money that Shopify receives, but it may take some time as we need to edit the code to prevent automation from breaking. We'll update you once that works!
  • The contribution bar will now update every day at 10:00 PM MST to include the money we receive from merch. On-site contributions will continue to update every hour. Thank you all for your support! 

Comments (164)

Wish art fight this year started early i cant wait for it to start again
Yoooo seeing the budgets and tier plans is amazing! It's getting me hyped for this year's artfight. Ill def get the keychain
Love the transparency!! Thank you for all your hard work- going to donate rn!
Ayalis said:
I wanted to buy the charm but shipping fees are 20€ 
On a side note, I saw several people here talking about forums and that would be a great idea !
Big thanks to the new owners and being active and answering questions and being open, I’ve never really seen this site do that before and it truly shows that you all care and are trying to set things right. How amazing! Good luck and I’ll be proudly supporting you all   
Rainy said:
Plugnuts: Yep, both of you can get the achievement! We'll have a form sent soon that will allow you to enter your usernames ^^

graphic-ginger: We hear you! Unfortunately, that is just due to the resources we currently have at launch. We will be actively working on ways to reduce shipping for future launches! 

CozyCritter: I believe this is intended behavior! 
Plugnuts said:
I have a question regarding ordering the charm- if I were to order two (for my sibling and I as we live in the same household) and they were to pay their half so that we can save on shipping (it's £16 to ship to the UK) would we both be able to get the achievement, or just one of us? 
Liliez said:
I don't use keychains, but if/when they come out with pins I will definitely be buying those! 👀
Bit sad the charm shipping to Australia is so pricey ($32) and the only option is priority ),: would be willing to pay less and wait longer but I cant spend more on shipping than I can on the charm itself. $57....
still waiting for the reply buttons! 
This shall be my 4th year, huzzah! Only a few more months! 
I'm not sure if we will be able to get forums, but can you just image the idea? It would be so fun to discuss OCs with others !
tousei said:
I think it's great that they are willing to gradually incorporate various opinions and make changes.
The keychain is so cute :bluehearthug:
I have a question: why does it load random unspecifically tagged characters when you first open the tag search now? Is it a bug or a feature?
Chiisi said:
I cannot explain to you how much I want a black hoodie with a white outline of the art fight logo on it. I will gladly pay $80 for that thing. 

Anyways, thanks so much for the update and progress report!! I am so happy to hear that things are slowly getting on track and we're hopeful for another great year!

Thank you so much to the team for all of your hard work! You know how much this site means to all of us and have tackled everything head on! My greatest gratitude and respect!!!