The first "regular" near-yearly fan fund, TAFF followed the first successful fund to bring a fan from overseas to a US Worldcon – the WAW With the Crew in '52 Campaign, which brought Walt Willis from Belfast, to attend the 1952 Chicon II. It has, at times, been highly controversial.
In most alternating years – excepting when TAFF funds are low and/or some other need to reschedule is perceived – a European fan (usually but not always from the UK) is chosen to attend a convention in North America, usually the Worldcon (the NASFiC would be a possibility in years when the Worldcon was being held outside North America but not in Europe). When the Worldcon is being held in Europe, in practice one of the races is usually slowed down or speeded up so that the North American fan who wins TAFF will go to that Worldcon, otherwise in those alternating years a NA fan is chosen to attend Eastercon, the UK national convention.
To run, two or more fans on the same side of the Atlantic need to get three nominators from their side and two nominators from the other side to be listed on the TAFF ballot. They also have to post a bond saying that, barring Acts of God, they will attend the designated convention if they are elected, and provide a short platform. The TAFF ballots are distributed via fanzines or over the internet, and/or are handed out at clubs or conventions and require a minimum donation to vote; some conventions also hold benefit auctions for the Fund.
Winners usually attend the convention as a special guest and spend some time before and after the con traveling to different fan centers and getting to know fans better in the host country. They are generally expected to write a trip report but it's not an iron-clad requirement; people only grumble if they fail to do so.
There is an unofficial TAFF website maintained by Dave Langford, reproducing ballots and newsletters and tabulating the voting results (where known) for all past TAFF races. The site also offers a number of free ebooks including fan classics, some TAFF trip reports, and TAFF Trip Report Anthology (Ansible Editions, 2017) -- a compilation of all past trip reports that were left unfinished or were too brief for separate publication, along with sample chapters from reports still in progress.
|From Fancyclopedia 2 ca 1959|
|The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, a fund intended to take Britons to American Worldcons and, alternate years, vice versa. It all began with Shelby Vick's WAW With the Crew in '52 campaign, which undertook to bring Walt Willis over to America, to the ChiCon II, that year. (There had been a predecessor in the Big Pond Fund drives sparkplugged by Ackerman.) Early in 1953 Don Ford and the Cinci Fantasy Group started a fund to bring Anglofan Norm Ashfield to the Philcon II but he was unable to come and Don offered the funds to anyone else Anglofandom should select. At the 1953 Loncon at the Bonnington the idea of a continuing TAFF was brainstormed by Willis, Vin¢ Clarke, Slater, Chuch Harris, Terry Jeeves, Eric Bentcliffe, Norm Shorrock and John Brunner, after long hours of discussion and smokefilled-room sessions.
The original idea was that nominees should be "someone fairly well-known to both British and American fandom" and that voters "should have been active in fandom to the extent of having subscribed to or contributed to at least one fanzine or joined a fan-club or organization". Don Ford on this side and Walt Willis on that side acted as administrators -- exchange difficulties making it necessary to have operators on each side of the ocean. Afterward, it was understood that the most recent winners from each side would operate the fund.
So far it's sent over Ken (and Pam Bulmer, Bob Madle, and Ron Bennett. (Vin¢ Clarke and Lee Hoffman won the egoboo of election but didn't make the trip as TAFFen.) In 1957 circumstances of the election kicked up a flap about definition of a fan which sundered the movement considerably; Madle, the winner that year, had earlier decreased fanac to write for the [ptui!] proz, and a number of people never heard of in fandom before seemed to have voted, despite the requirement noted above. Madle also got some undeserved blame for the antics of another candidate who toured the country offering to pay the token contribution (50, or 2/6) for anybody who'd vote for him. Objection to such things, with advice to tighten up the rules, was entered by Chuch Harris and others, but actual rules adopted later (by Madle and Bennett, in September 1958) had the effect of doing away with the voter-requirements and even, by omission, the candidacy requirements. The administrators, however, apparently meant this as a move to quell the argument, since they had previously used their discretion to reject the sort of questionable votes against which protest was made.
from Fancyclopedia 2 Supplement ca. 1960: Concerning the Ashfield fund: in 1953 Don Ford had a raffle going to raise money for Ashfield's trip to Philcon II. Since it was under way, he didn't want to call it off. Bea Mahaffey took raffle tickets to Willis and Carnell, when she went to the Coroncon in '53; these sold tickets, making it an international affair. Ford then offered the dough to anybody else coming over from England who might be suggested. TAFF was the answer. The raffle (for some covers donated by Carnell and Mahaffey was conducted at the Philcon II; Ford forgets who the winners were.
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