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 the Chicon II. Afterwards this example was generalized to a permanent fund; the planning stages was briefly called British Fan Fund and later Two-Way Transatlantic Fan Fund but this hasn’t caught on. Once TAFF became a going concern, the other major fan funds – DUFF (Transpacific, since 1972) and GUFF (trans-Indian-ocean, as it were, from 1979) – followed its example and practices with similar success. However, there were several flareups of TAFF Wars when All Fandom was Plunged into War, most importantly in 1984–5.
In most alternating years – except when TAFF funds were low, or some other need to reschedule is perceived – a European fan (usually, but increasingly often not, from the UK) is chosen to attend a convention in North America, usually the Worldcon.  In the following year a NA fan is chosen to attend Eastercon, the UK national convention. When the Worldcon is held in Europe, in later practice one of the races is slowed down or sped up so the American winner will go to that Worldcon. (There was a discussion in 1986 whether Eastercon might be a better Platonic expression of the spirit of Britfandom, where the TAFF guest was not lost in crowds of Americans who inevitably travel to Worldcons abroad; however candidates soon expressed preference for Conspiracy '87 over BECCON '87. As subsequently European Worldcons happened more frequently, even outside the UK, becoming a truly word event, and other routes of transatlantic communication were opened by internet and low-cost flights, it has become an undisputed de facto rule to run TAFF eastward in such years.)
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 100-word platform. The TAFF ballots are distributed via fanzines or over the internet, and/or used to be handed out at clubs or conventions; there is a required minimum donation to the Fund required to vote (since 2018, $4.00, £3 or €3.50); 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: it's not an iron-clad requirement; but people grumble if they don’t. It has become a tradition that the reports are delayed many years, so some fannish organisations make a substantial donation to TAFF for any report finished within 5 years. The winners spend the next two years acting as TAFF administrators on their side of the Atlantic – one for the next TAFF race for fans going to their country and one for the following race for fans going back the other way.
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 trip reports that were left unfinished or were too brief for separate publication, along with sample chapters from reports still in progress.
- http://taff.org.uk – website, launched 2005 with much historic material re-typed
- Clevention PR 4 Article on TAFF.
- TAFF publications online at fanac.org.
- I. e. US: no fan from Canada has won the TAFF, although a few tried. As for the opposite direction, Britons were sent to 2 out of 4 Canadian Worldcons (during TAFF’s existence, in 1984 and 2003), while the 1973 and 2009 trips were eastward.
- The NASFiC would be a hypothetical possibility in years when the Worldcon was held in the “rest of the world”, i. e. neither NA nor Europe. However, this never happened: there was no TAFF race in 1975; and in 1985, 1999, 2007, 2010 and 2020 the races were always eastward.
- As belatedly recalled in Tackett's Travels in Taffland"
|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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