2021 Financial Update for the WordPress Community

The WordPress community gracefully weathered the storm that was 2020, and now faces yet another year of uncertainty as the world continues to adapt to COVID’s effects. In May of 2020, Kevin Cristiano published a post that provided the community with an overview of the program’s financial status. Now that the refunds and cancellation fees are behind us, it seemed fitting to share a general overview of the financial health of the program as of the beginning of 2021.

If you would like to view the financial statements for the WordPress Foundation and its subsidiary, WordPress Community Support (WPCS), you can find them here. These summaries are posted each year after the annual financial audit is done.

WPCS has two sources of income: ticket sales and event sponsorship. In the event sponsorship categoryCategory The 'category' taxonomy lets you group posts / content together that share a common bond. Categories are pre-defined and broad ranging., there are two types: local sponsorship income, which is raised by local organizers on a per-WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. basis, and global community sponsorship, which is managed by Global Community Team deputies. With the cancellation of in-person events, these sources of income experienced a major reduction.

Current cash situation:

WPCS began the 2021 year with just over US$1.3M on hand.

A large portion of the cash on hand, approximately US$465K, relates to Global Sponsorships that were paid at the beginning of 2020 and not fully utilized. This money is owed to the Global Sponsors, but being held by WPCS for use against future sponsorships. Also, with the switch to an online format for WordCamps and the launch of Learn WP, we are no longer collecting ticket revenue.

A proposal for the 2021 Global Sponsorship Program was posted on February 18th, 2021. Due to the makeup of the participants, it is not expected that a significant amount of additional funds will be paid into WPCS in relation to this program.

Expected Expenses for 2021:

Due to the many cancellations in 2020, the program did lose money. However, many vendors offered balances on account which can be used towards future in-person events. WPCS has approximately US$305K in prepaid expenses as of 1/1/2021 (US$170K of which relates to WC Asia).

There are various recurring operating expenses that WPCS will still be responsible for paying. These are expenses that Global Sponsorship funds have covered in prior years and will continue to assist with through the 2021 proposed program. The largest of these expenses is the annual fee paid to Meetup.com (approx US$220K). Various other operational costs related to the program are estimated to be US$50K.

What does this mean for the program:

Conservative, responsible expense decisions have allowed the program to endure and stay flexible as in-person events slowly return from being on hold. Because a large portion of the cash on hand are sponsor credit balances, cautious spending will still be necessary for the foreseeable future.

A special thanks to @andreamiddleton, @kcristiano, and @courtneypk for their help pulling this together.