GUFF Call for Nominations

[From the press release by James Shields]: GUFF is the Going Under (or Get Up and Over) Fan Fund which transports SF fans from Europe to Australasia (and vice versa). Nominations are now open for the southbound race, to transport a European fan (or fans) to Conflux, the 2013 Australian National Convention (NatCon), to be held at the Rydges Capital Hill in Barton, Canberra, on 25th to 28th April 2013. Depending on the length of trip they’re able to make, the winner could also consider attending Swancon in Perth (29th March to 1st April) and/or Au Contraire 2 in Wellington (12th to 14th July). The winner will also be required to take over the administration of the fund for the next northbound and southbound races.

If you wish to stand, please contact us at the postal or email address below. You will then need three European and two Australasian nominators (who will each need to confirm their nominations), a 100-word platform to appear on the ballot, and a bond of £15/€20/AU$25  guaranteeing to attend the 2013 Natcon if you win. If you wish to stand and are unsure about how to go about getting any of these things, what the fund pays for, or the duties of a GUFF delegate and administrator, then feel free to contact us in confidence.

Nominations are open until Thursday 11th October 2012, and candidates will be announced on Saturday 23th October at Octocon in Dublin. Voting will then run until Monday 7th January 2013, with the winner announced at GenghisCon in Perth, Western Australia on 13th January.

Nominations should be sent to james@scifi.ie or James Shields, 7 The Way, Highlands, Drogheda, IRELAND; or kylie_ding@hotmail.com, or Kylie Ding, 80A Forrest Street, FREMANTLE  WA   6160, AUSTRALIA.

Please disseminate widely.

The FAQ follows the jump.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can stand for GUFF? GUFF aims to be as inclusive as possible, and is open to anyone who has been active in science fiction fandom before the start of the previous year, in this case 2011. “Active” is considered to mean participating in common fannish activities such as attending conventions, producing fanzines or writing blog posts, or participating in local science fiction groups. Candidates for a southbound race must be resident in a European country.

Who can nominate a GUFF candidate? As with candidates, nominators must be active in fandom since at least the start of 2011. However, the choice of nominators will have a bearing on how people vote, since people who don’t know a lot about particular candidates may vote partly on the basis of who nominated them. Seeking nominations, and the support that implies, from well-respected fans across a broad range of fannish interests and locations can thus greatly improve a candidate’s chances. (And of course nominators themselves can approach anyone they think would be a good candidate, to encourage them to stand.)

Who can vote in GUFF? Again, anyone active in fandom before the start of 2011. If a voter thinks they might not be known to the administrators, they should include the name of someone known to one or both of the administrators who can vouch for them.

What is the “platform”? A 100-word platform for each candidate is printed on the ballot forms, along with the names of their nominators. The content of the platform is up to the candidate, but broadly speaking it should say a little about who the candidate is, their involvement in fandom, what they plan to do if they win, and most importantly, why they would like to go on a GUFF trip. But don’t promise what you can’t deliver! Examples can be found on previous voting forms, which have been archived at [bit.ly/OMwYyl]

Why must a “bond” be paid? It might seem counter-intuitive that candidates must pay a fee to be a candidate when the fund is supposed to be sending them to Australia, but this small financial commitment is intended to act as a guarantee that, in all reasonable circumstances, they will make the trip if they win.

Should I openly ask people to vote for me? Campaigning by the candidates, and by their nominators or other supporters on their behalf, is actively encouraged. This can be done in person, at conventions or other events, online or through fanzines. It usually helps to explain to people why a candidate would make a good delegate and a good administrator!

If I can afford to go anyway, should I stand for GUFF? There’s no reason why not. Being a fan fund winner is not a junket. If you win, you will be seen as an ambassador for your continent’s fandom and the fund, and be expected to take part in the convention(s) you attend on your trip as well as spending a lot of time meeting people. You’ll also be expected to raise funds on your trip and subsequently, and administer the overall fund for at least the next two races. In other words, you will have to do quite a lot of work for your “free” ticket! We need someone who can do all this, regardless of whether they could afford to go anyway. In fact, it’s quite often been the case that losing candidates have attended the same convention as the winner.

Where does the money come from? Everyone who votes in the race pays a voting fee, which contributes to the cost of the trip. After their trip, each winner is expected to find ways to raise funds, including writing a trip report for sale. And, like other fan funds, GUFF runs auctions and other fundraising events at major conventions to raise both awareness and money towards future trips.

What happens if not enough funds are raised? The current administrators, with the help of our friends at the League of Fan Funds, have been fund raising for the last couple of years, so there should be enough for the trip. If you win, you will be expected to raise funds for the next trip, so it’s wise not to spend more than you feel you can replenish.

What happens on a GUFF trip? You meet other fans from the places you’re visiting, let them know more about you and your fandom, and enable fans at home to vicariously share in your travels! In this case, the winner will be expected to travel to the 2013 Australian Natcon, Conflux, where they will represent European fandom and generally be a good ambassador for it. This tends to involve helping out as much as possible at the convention which can include taking part in the programme, possibly presenting an award if there’s an award ceremony, helping with fund raising for future GUFF trips, and generally being as visible and friendly as you can. Before and/or after the convention, travelling to meet other fans in different places is expected; the winner will usually plan some extra time for this, taking in specific events where possible. Candidates are also encouraged to remember that Australasia includes New Zealand, so including some travel there would be good as well.

What is expected of the winner after the trip? After the trip, the winner will become the new northern GUFF administrator. It will be their duty to raise and manage GUFF’s money in Europe, gather and count the European votes for the next Australasian to Europe trip and take the lead role in administering the next trip to Australasia. (This is not as hard as it sounds, since previous administrators are generally available to help and advise.) During this time, the administrator should ideally also be writing a report of their trip, to publish and sell to raise additional money for the fund.

Person X is standing. There’s no way I could beat them. What should I do? One of the important fundraising methods for GUFF is the money people pay to vote. To get people to vote there needs to be a strong field of candidates. The fund needs people to stand and then to do their best to win by encouraging more votes, since this all contributes to fundraising. Standing as a candidate can be a lot of fun even if you don’t win, and good practice for standing again (by which time you might be the favourite). However, do make sure you’re prepared to make the trip: there’s always the chance of an upset victory!

But isn’t it just a popularity contest? Being popular and well-known throughout SF fandom certainly helps, but that might not be enough to win by itself. In the past very popular candidates have been beaten by candidates who put a lot of work into their campaigns, including active support from their nominators, which encouraged a lot more people to vote. And candidates can become more popular as part of standing for GUFF.