I have been considering donating to iNaturalist, because I’ve become a huge fan of it and want to support it. I’m also hoping that with more financial support, it’ll be easier to address issues like the recent slowdowns and downtime, which have been bothering me a lot.
I had some questions though, before I give. The website says that the donation will be “received” by the California Academy of Sciences.
I tried doing some research on iNaturalist’s budget. I was interested in seeing the total budget, how much money is raised from different sources, and how the money is spent, but I have been unable to find anything of the sort.
I found the California Academy of Sciences’ Financial Reports, but given that that organization handles so much more than iNaturalist, and those reports are just very broad ones, they provided absolutely zero answers to my questions. Their consolidated reports don’t even mention iNaturalist, which gives me the sense that iNaturalist as a project is probably a drop in the bucket of this big organization. They don’t even really share much basic information about themselves as an organization; the reports frankly seemed kind of opaque to me in a way that made me feel a bit iffy about giving to them. For example, one of the most basic things I want to know about any charity is what their top employee salaries are, but they don’t even list this.
I am interested in donating to iNaturalist but I would need to be able to see some sort of budget, including both income and expenditures, in order for me to feel comfortable doing so. I would ideally like to see some basics like how many employees work on iNaturalist and roughly how much is spent on salaries, server costs and other technology costs, whether the broader organization is subsidizing iNaturalist by funnelling their general funds into it, or whether they put a portion of the iNaturalist donations (or grants) into their general fund.
Is this accessible somewhere, and if not, is this something people can prioritize publishing? I’d imagine a majority of prospective donors would be interested in this sort of information.