A Rough Guide to GUFF - part 3 of several

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Previously posted on LiveJournal...

Part 3: Where does the money come from?

In parts 1 and 2 I talked about GUFF and how it works and what the winner's responsibilities are.

But the question which naturally follows is who pays for it all?

And the short answer is "you do" (you being fans of science fiction).

This, of course, prompts you to ask, "why would I want to do that?"

Perhaps you'll allow me to give the longer answer first.

The fund actually comes from several sources. The first is directly from fans when they vote for their preferred candidate (or vote for one of the alternatives, which I'll cover in a later instalment). Each vote must be accompanied by a donation to the fund, with the current minimum being £5, or the local currency equivalent, though larger donations are not discouraged. This may form a relatively small portion of the fund, but it forms an important principal that by voting you support the candidate to get selected, and the eventual winner to make the trip.

The next source is from the sale of trip reports. Next time you are at a big convention, look for the fan fund table, which will be loaded high with mighty tomes going back to the early days. Pick a few up and feast in the old school production values. And then buy some. For the fund! Again the actual sums of money from trip reports may not be great, but the principal is vital.

After that we get down to actual fund raising, which mainly takes the form of fan auctions. The tradition is that you donate some stuff you don't want to the auction, then go along and bid on a load of other stuff you don' want (and maybe occasionally some that you do), but you don't mind because it's for the fund. Next time around you'll have realised you didn't want the stuff, and you donate it back so the cycle can continue.

Other fund raising ideas come along from time to time, such as Ang's "name the amusingly shaped potato" competition at Novacon.

Finally, as mentioned in the last episode, two bodies known as FANAC and SCIFI pay bounties upon completion of a trip report. This is quite a considerable sum, especially if the report is finished within a reasonable time after the trip (a good idea, while it's still fresh in memory). This is obviously of great benefit to the fund.

I think an important concern when planning a trip is to ensure the fund is not depleted by more than can comfortably be replenished before the next trip, and previous administrators have done a fantastic job of keeping the fund in good shape for their successors.

One other point that wasn't included in the LiveJournal version, is that the the convention being visited will often donate convention membership and possibly accommodation. This indirect donation constitutes a very significant saving to the fund, and is something fan fund delegates are very grateful for.