This update has been a long time coming. Thanks so much to all our supporters for being so patient with us, and our sincerest apologies for not providing this sooner.
The good news is there is no bad news: We’re still pursuing all of our fundraiser goals and making steady progress on our promises! The rest of the news is… well, realistic, mostly.
What have we accomplished so far?
While progress has obviously been a lot slower than our initial goals (March has long come and gone), here’s what we have published:
We began producing transcripts a couple months ago for our latest podcasts. It came with some growing pains, but now that we have a feel for the work, we’re going back to Episode 1 to build transcripts for our backlog.
Starting in July, we’ll release a new transcript every other week, but we’re looking into hiring more transcribers so we can bump that up to weekly as soon as possible. Each transcript is embedded in its podcast post (here’s an example). We’ll alert folks on Twitter when new ones become available.
We’ve released all three of our promised anime recommendations pages: general feminist-friendly titles, series with prominent queer representation, and family-friendly shows.
We plan to add more titles to these lists and also hope to build manga lists later down the road, as time and resources become available. That said, we think these are solid starting points for curious readers. Please check out our “AniFem Recommends” Introductory page for more on the selection process and links to the three lists!
Why have the perks and other fundraiser projects been delayed?
Simply put, we overestimated how much we’d be able to get done on top of our day-jobs and regular AniFem publication schedule. We’re a small staff, all part-time, and despite our enthusiasm for and devotion to the work we do here, there are unfortunately only so many hours in the day.
To complicate things, the past six months have been more than a little hectic for our staff, both in good and bad ways. Some team members suffered injuries or fell seriously ill; some were in the midst of major moves; while still others were planning for weddings or children.
We do our best to cover for each other, but all this on top of our day-to-day work slowed the fundraiser projects considerably. The result was that, while we’ve made solid progress on some tasks, others (like perk completion) stalled out completely.
We didn’t communicate all these delays partly because we wanted to respect our staff’s privacy, but also because we weren’t sure what a new, more realistic schedule should look like. We were hesitant to provide our supporters with modified release dates until we felt confident we could meet them.
That said—we should have told you all this sooner, and we’re sorry for that.
How are we going to do better?
The team has spent the last month reorganizing and recalibrating, and while we’re not happy about how long it took us to get here, we are feeling optimistic about the end result. Here’s how we’re moving forward:
- Monthly Progress Reports: We’ve always prided ourselves on being transparent with our supporters and we’ve failed in that these past few months. So, our first promise to everyone is that we will provide public updates at the end of every month until the campaign is fulfilled, no matter how minor they may be.
- Delegating Tasks: We’ve divided tasks more evenly among our staff to keep any one person from getting overwhelmed or burned out. For example, Vrai is coordinating perk fulfillment, Dee is our liaison with the site redesigners, and Caitlin is handling finances and payments. Everyone also has a designated back-up, reducing the risk of a bottleneck if life comes at us fast again.
- Prioritizing Projects: Trying to deliver on every goal at basically the same time was an ambitious mistake, and one we won’t make again. So, we’re prioritizing the remaining tasks as follows:
- Perk Fulfillment: We want to do right by everyone who contributed to our campaign, so making sure you have your AniFem swag is our #1 goal right now.
- Site Redesign + Review Database: These two go hand-in-hand. An improved, accessibility-focused website was the primary reason we launched this fundraiser, so naturally it’s a high priority for us.
- Backlog of Podcast Transcripts: As noted earlier in this update, we’re releasing transcripts on a fortnightly schedule right now, but we intend to pick up the pace once the above projects are complete, if not sooner.
- AniFem Online Shop: While we didn’t quite reach this stretch goal, we did say we’d use the money we made toward the goal to create a smaller-scale version of the merch store. This is at the tail end of our “to do” list, but we haven’t forgotten about it.
What’s the new completion schedule?
Keeping all of the above in mind, here are our current projected release dates:
- Perk Fulfillment: Early October, 2019
- Site Redesign: Late November, 2019
- Podcast Transcript Backlog (first 75 episodes): We’re shooting for year-end 2019, but this is very tentative. It’s contingent on if we can hire multiple transcribers (and if so, how many) to split the work and speed up the process.
- AniFem Online Shop: TBD, but likely late winter 2020. We need to focus on the goals we did fully fund before we start planning for the ones we didn’t.
While we’re dedicated to completing projects in this time frame, please note that these dates are still subject to change. The health of our workers and the quality of our product is ultimately more important to us than crunching to meet deadlines, so if we think anything needs more time, we will adjust the dates as needed.
But, as noted above, we also promise to be totally up-front about it from now on. Any schedule changes will be a part of our monthly updates.
Thank you, thank you, thank you
Finally, a hundred thousand words of gratitude to everyone for sticking with us during these long silences. We’ve received private questions about the fundraiser deadlines over the past couple months and everyone has been nothing but patient and understanding, even when all we could provide was a vague “we’re reworking the schedule and will let you know as soon as it’s done.”
We are continuously reminded that we have the best community of anime fans a website could hope for. Thank you so much for your support, AniFam, and we promise to live up to your trust from here on out!