EDITED TO ADD: Go to Paypal directly if it tries to make you donate a minimum amount or something like that. Go to Paypal directly, and make your donation to email@example.com
We are (it is s slightly time-consuming process) getting rid of our presence in Second Life because that has been sucking money out of us at alarming rates. (I am saying this because we are no longer using money on that, just on the site, and yet we still need money.)
We have almost nothing right now money-wise. And we’re mostly maintained by two people on disability, so personally we have nothing to pay it with. We know times are bad right now but we really need the site not to go down. So can anyone with the means to donate, please donate?
The way to donate is shown on the front page of http://www.autistics.org/ (SEE EDIT AT TOP OF POST)
Our server costs are $55/month, which is dirt cheap for what we’re running on it (and we are only barely able to avoid hitting our maximum on that). Our domain costs are $150-180/year at GoDaddy. There are stray server costs of around $50-100 a year (but not predictable, so sometimes less sometimes more) that happen whenever things crash or get hacked and we have to pay the server people to reset the system. ZoneEdit, which handles most of our DNS, is about $60/year.
Then there are random, unpredictable costs, which we always try to keep to the bare minimum (but which if bad events coincide with each other can run up costs like $500, and sometimes Murphy’s law strikes). Sometimes there’s software we need to license. One time, all of the main webmaster’s several computers died and we had to find her a super-cheap computer at the local thrift store. One time, she had to stay up for several days working on the server (with no time or energy to cook) and after consulting with the rest of us, charged one pizza and one bottle of highly caffeinated soda to the account.
Some other information:
autistics.org is a project, not just a website, and it spans several websites, some subdomains and some actually different websites, that are all on our server. Among them are the Real Voices of Autism (a social networking site for autistic people), this blog, a message board, and a lot of (both historical and newer — autistics.org is one of the oldest websites in the autistic community, being 12 years old) stuff on the autistics.org site. We’re also switching the main site to Drupal, which will allow us to update it much more frequently than we currently can. (Which is why the main autistics.org page has lagged behind a bit from many of the other things going on.) The webpage that we’re working on the dynamic Drupal-based site with, is http://main.autistics.org, which will eventually become the main autistics.org site once we get it running. That’s why the front page of the website shows very little updating.
That all means that we can’t just plop ourselves onto a shared hosting provider, like most of the “lower-cost” alternatives that people are always suggesting to us are. We need our own server, and it needs to be a high-bandwidth one. We still almost run into the memory limit on the cheapest server we could find. And even if someone could find us a cheaper server, it would mean that the main webmaster would have to stay up for days on end trying to reconfigure all of our sites to work properly on the new server.
(Which is a huge problem considering that the main webmaster is currently pretty incapacitated, totally unpaid, and nobody ever volunteers to do that kind of work. Not that we don’t want volunteers. We badly need volunteers who are able to handle the demands of an entire server running high-traffic websites. Because we’re only able to really handle it when things go right. We’re technically about four people, usually one or two people, running a very large project. We’re not a business, or an organization, or a corporation, and we don’t have that kind of resources. We need help in terms of money and we need help in terms of running the server, both of those are important.)
I’d also like to note that lots of people, including people with far more money than we have, use the websites on our server on a regular basis. It wouldn’t be a high-traffic website otherwise. It’d be nice if some of the people (even lurkers) who did have that money, could help us out here.