How To Win A Fan Fund

Kylie Ding, 2012 Get-Up-and-over-Fan-Fund (GUFF) delegate, has written “The Winners’ Guide to Winning a Fan Fund” (a Facebook link) for fans interested in being voted one of the subsidized travel funds like TAFF, DUFF, GUFF, CUFF, etc.

The first of her seven points is —

Make it easy for people to vote

That’s the really big thing.  You are well enough known in your fandom that at least five people think you are a worthwhile candidate.  You have connections.  Milk them for all they are worth!  Think of all your friends and people you know in fandom, and work out when you will see them.  Make a physical list or a mental list.  When will you see them?  Party?  Convention?  You need to approach each person and ask them if they would like to vote in the fan fund race.  You need to have a voting form for them, a pen and be able to make change if they give you money.  You need to be prepared that they might not want to vote for one reason or another and move on to the next person.

I don’t disagree, although each of the funds has its own customs about how subtly this should be done. Judging by the article, GUFF may do the most direct, up-front canvassing.

In the Seventies, when LASFSians Len and June Moffatt were up for TAFF, the first fan fund race I ever observed from the inside, someone carefully explained to me that people do not campaign for TAFF, they stand for TAFF — in the same way 19th-century American presidential candidates would remain at home aloof from the fray while their backers did the campaigning. In the era of social media TAFF nominees are no longer so constrained.

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years, and ought to factor into anyone’s decision to run, is that the winner becomes responsible for continuing the fund by raising money to replenish it, and by co-administering the next couple of races (which sometimes means finding willing candidates).

6 thoughts on “How To Win A Fan Fund

  1. Excellent ending point – and even more important that *voters* should take into account not just which candidate is more personable but which candidate can keep the Fund active and healthy by being a capable administrator.

  2. Yes, I thought the point was that, since as a candidate you’re already well-known, you don’t have to campaign. It’s up to public-spirited third parties to publicize the election, like – at least in the old days – fanzine editors who’d include ballots with their fanzines.

    Fandom being larger and more diverse than it was, one innovation that’s come along that I wholly approve of is campaign anthologies, sort of equivalent to Hugo voters’ packets. If you’re running on the basis of your writing activity, have a friend put together a sampler so that those who don’t already know your work can read it.

    But asking people to vote for you because they know you and not the others – that’s something else, however low-pressure it may be.

  3. When I stood for TAFF in 2009, I produced a small collection of material I’d written for fanzines and small press titles (still available on eFanzines), purely as a calling-card for undecided voters.

    I do know of one later candidate who really worked the face-to-face angle, but put little effort into gathering support on the other side of the Pond. As a result, this fan fell foul of the 20% rule, which demands a candidate pass a 20% voting threshold in both Europe and North America.

  4. Printed anthologies of the candidates writing are a nifty idea … but one that may already be dated, I’m afraid. Most likely it would be posted on eFanzines and downloaded by a handful of people who mean to read it ,,, two or three of whom might actually read it in time to make any difference.

    Also, does Old School fandom still “own” TAFF and DUFF? It would be easy to imagine that the domination of the fan funds could slip away as easily as the fan Hugos did, to be dominated by larger numbers of convention going fans who are more effectively networked. If that becomes the case, what the candidate did in fanzines might be nearly irrelevant. 500 issues of Wazoo? Nope, never heard of it. But do you have a recognizable steampunk costume, and can you balloon sculpt? Those might become the winning ticket in the near future.

  5. Sadly, Taral, you might be right, but it could well be argued that our perspective is outdated. In a democratic community, what right does a minority have to maintain its grasp upon such institutions as TAFF?

  6. Taral: While fan funds are vulnerable like anything else in this field that is publicly voted upon, they don’t have nearly the brand appeal of the Hugos. They also come with a long tail of responsibilities and actual work. (Work! There’s a real 4-letter word for you…)

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