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 2012. “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 northbound race must be resident in Australasia, and this has traditionally meant Australia or New Zealand.
Who can nominate a GUFF candidate? As with candidates, nominators must be active in fandom since at least the start of 2012. 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.)
How can I find nominators on the other side of the world? You might be well known enough in fandom to already have friends internationally. If you are lucky enough to have traveled before, you can use contacts you have made through those travels. If you are active in social media you might also know people you can ask, or who might approach you. If you write a blog, are on a fannish mailing list, or are active on Facebook or Twitter you may have followers who would nominate you. Fanzines are how the fan funds started, and contributing to fanzines is a great way to get known in international fandom. Your fan fund administrators can help with putting you in touch with people, but you still have to convince them you are a worthy nominee. It is usually better if you know your nominators directly as they are more likely to actively campaign for you. If you really don’t know who anyone might nominate you then perhaps consider running another year, and take the time to build your international contacts.
Who can vote in GUFF? Anyone active in fandom before the start of 2012. 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 http://www.taff.org.uk/guff.html. Platforms should be strictly 100 words or under, but this does not need to include your name. Do not worry that you can’t fit everything about you in 100 words; you can also publish more about yourself on web, in social media, or as a handout with voting forms.
Why must a “bond” be paid? It might seem counter-intuitive that candidates must pay a fee to become a candidate when the fund is 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. Financially you are expected to leave the fund in a similar or better state to that in which you found it.
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 55th National Australia Science Fiction Convention, Contact 2016 and encouraged to travel to New Zealand to represent European fandom and generally be a good ambassador for it. This tends to involve helping out as much as possible at conventions which can include taking part in the programe, 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, traveling 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. The summer of 2014 offers a number of interesting options, such as the largest European con, Finncon, at the beginning of July and SF Linkcons in between Loncon3 and Shamrokon. Delegates are also encouraged and invited to venture down south and east and include some travel in all European countries.
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 Australasia, gather and count the Australasian votes for the next Australasian to Europe trip and take the lead role in administering the next trip to Europe. (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.
What are joke candidates? In the past some less than serious candidates have run for fan funds, and FFANZ has even been won by a toy sheep! These candidates are usually taking part in the spirit of fun and fundraising and are accepted by the administrators. A toy or a small child is expected to be accompanied by a responsible adult who can perform the duties of a fan fund winner and administer the fund on their behalf. GUFF will not accept nominations for animals due to quarantine regulations. Bear in mind if preparing to run or nominate a joke candidate that not everyone will see the humour in the nomination, and be prepared for backlash among some fans.
Can more than two people run? Yes, by all means. The more the merrier. More candidates means the word will spread wider and more people will vote which is very good news for fundraising. But only one ticket can win!
Can my partner and I run on a joint ticket? Many funds have been won in the past by couples (or friends) running on joint tickets. The main expense of funding a GUFF trip is the airfare. As this is cost is so high between Europe and Australia GUFF will only accept joint tickets if the fund holds enough money to cover two airfares and associated expenses for two people. Please check with the administrators before you nominate to see if this is the case, and consider how much extra fundraising you will need to do to leave the fund in a good state if you win.