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A Rough Guide to GUFF (2 of several)

Part 2: So it' a free holiday?

In part 1 I talked a bit about what GUFF is and where it came from, today I move on to the obvious response, "so you'd like me to vote for you so you can go on a free holiday?"

In one sense that is entirely accurate. But it doesn't tell the whole store, for a GUFF trip is not all beaches and lounging around. Oh no, a Guff delegate is expected to work for his for her living.

For starters, at the convention they visit, they will be given various duties. These may include speaking on panels, taking part in award ceremonies, and any number of other duties. This may include fund raising activities for the fan funds. Delegates will often also participate in other areas of the convention, depending on their own expertise and interests.

Around the main convention (or conventions) being attended, delegates will often visit fan groups in the area, playing a sort of ambassadorial role.

The general expectation is that travel and expenses directly relating to the GUFF trip may be claimed from the fund, but that any personal sightseeing would be out of their own pocket. However, most delegates will keep their costs modest to ensure they leave sufficient funds for their successor's trip. We'll get to that bit in a minute.

One very important part of the trip is writing a report afterwards. Apart from being a great way of telling their peers who voted for them what they did, it has important financial impacts for the fund. First, the sale of the report contributes to the fund, but there is also a US university who pay a bounty for each trip report. The value of this is not inconsiderable, but it decreases over time, so it really does pay to get it done quickly. These days many fans supplement this report by blogging as they go, which keeps fans at home in touch while making the trip report easier afterwards.

But even after the trip report is written, the GUFF delegate's responsibilities aren't over. In a sense they are only beginning. Their next responsibility is to administer the fund until the next delegate in the same direction is elected. This means that at any time there are two administrators, one in Europe and one in Australia. The administrator has to organise fund raising activities, mainly fan fund auctions, and run the next two elections (one in each direction) for fans on their side of the world.

Once a new delegate has been elected, they can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

So yes, it is a free holiday, but there are lots of strings attached.

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