It's a bit nice to find out that my off-the-cuff estimations were mostly on track; I have used up the buffer built up when I wasn't able to get much programming done due to being a new mom, and even with this month's big ugly security update, I'm a just a few hours ahead of our tip bucket tally.
Unfortunately, with the new sales system, donation percentages have gone down markedly - rare is the artist who puts their donation percentage at more than the 10% minimum (we're averaging about 11%!), and that minimum pretty much just covers fees and actually running Sketch Fest. (I'm draconian about tracking my administrative time and keeping it clearly separate from my own art time... I have learned the long hard lesson about what a time sink doing projects like this can be if you allow it, and how easy it is to lose all personal time into them.) Straight donations have also fallen off over the last several months.
The short result of that? Expect a marked slow-down in Sketch Fest site improvements. We've been running at a really rich pace that the site currently won't support. I don't think Sketch Fest will get less fun - we will still have them monthly or more, and you'll still get site fixes... those fixes and all the new features I want to add will just be a little more spread out, because paying work comes first on my schedule, and the tip bucket is filling fairly slowly so far in 2013.
Want to keep things improving at their current rate? Buy art! Sell your art with a higher donation to Sketch Fest! (You can now set your default percentage on your account editing page... I toyed with making the standard default something automatically higher, but decided that was too scaly even for me!) Make a straight donation to Sketch Fest! Use credits instead of purchasing each piece through Paypal or CC (credit purchases take less administrative time for me, plus, the larger purchases have an incrementally smaller percentage taken out in fees - a $5 purchase runs me 9%, leaving very little left for the tip bucket ($0.05!). A $250 credits purchase costs me 3.02%, by comparison.)!
Want to see what your donations actually do? Boggle at the Sketch Fest history log: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfesthistory.php
ETA: And to clarify, this is not necessarily a plea for more donations or a guilt trip for not setting donations higher - artists have to eat, too! This is much more an explanation of why improvements are going to happen more slowly, so people don't think I'm a slacker, or not meeting my commitments, when that happens.
*(This is sort of an inside joke. One of my earliest artwork comments, eons ago at Elfwood, was a snarky comment someone left saying they had planned to say something nice about my artwork, then found out that I was a scaly, scaly capitalist, and then they didn't want to say anything nice after all.)