Sorry, taking a break from Spontaneous Scholarships

As you probably guessed from my uncharacteristic silence on the subject, I’m taking a break from doing the Spontaneous Scholarships this year. Sorry to disappoint anyone who was hoping for one for Atlanta, and thanks so much to everyone who has donated in the past.

However, don’t put away your checkbooks and credit cards just yet! We’ll be launching another Animals in the Archives competition next week to benefit an Atlanta area animal rescue!

Spontaneous Scholarships 2015: 41 recipients, 111 donors!

Things have been a little more hectic for me than usual, but at last I’m happy to share the good news about this year’s Spontaneous Scholarships. 111 lovely people donated a total of $9,659, allowing 19 students and 22 “regular” members to receive funds to pay for their registrations for the SAA Annual Meeting. With these 41 new scholarship winners, your donations have helped a total of 190 people over the past five years.

With each year it’s great to see more people also stepping in help encourage and support donations. This year we had two matching pledges–one person gave $5 for every donation in the first week and another pledged to match all donations made in the final week. I am sure both of these generous offers sparked some people to give–both early and late in the campaign! I also think that this year’s book raffle for donors helped generate a few additional contributions. Thanks again to  Michelle Caswell, Sami Norling, Aaron Purcell, Caryn Radick, Kathleen Roe, and Tanya Zanish-Belcher for their donations of books (and a journal) for the raffle!

As always, I know from the messages I see from both people who received scholarships and those who did not how grateful they are for the generosity of the donors, who make these opportunities possible. Through the scholarships we’re able to give our colleagues a little bit of help when they need it, and also show that there is a community of professionals who care. It’s a pleasure for me to be able to provide one way to channel that community’s good will. Thank you to all of this year’s donors, and to those who’ve given in the past. Looking forward to seeing everyone (who can make it) in Cleveland!

With one week left for Spontaneous Scholarships–dollar for dollar matching pledge just received!

With just one week left to throw your name in the hat for a Spontaneous Scholarship this year, I was feeling a bit down because so far donations have also been down. We’ve got 50 people asking for help this year (more “regulars” than students, for the first time), and donations are a little over a third of what we had at the end of last year’s campaign. However, a Very Generous Donor has stepped forward and pledged to match dollar for dollar all contributions made in this final week!

So, if you’ve been procrastinating, this should help you overcome your problem. Give now and your donation will be doubled. Bless, you Very Generous Donor.

And, as always, if you need help, please ask for it. I hope we will see a surge of cash & checks, and so be able to assist even more people this year. More information about applying and giving are available back on this post.

I also want to thank the Generous Donor who helped get the ball rolling during the first week. S/he pledged to give $5 for every donation made during that week, and so thanks to the 36 of you who gave in early June and raised an additional $180 to give away!

Scholarship donors eligible to enter book raffle

What archivist (or archivist in training) would pass up the chance for a free book?

If you donate $20 or more to the Spontaneous Scholarships you can have a chance to win one of these fantastic books:

To enter, when you make your donation also tell me which book (or books) you’d most like to receive. After all the donations are in, I’ll pick names out of the donor raffle hat and let you know if you’ve gotten lucky. (If you send your donation by check, please provide me with an email address as well.)

Many thanks to Michelle Caswell, Sami Norling, Aaron Purcell, Caryn Radick, Kathleen Roe, and Tanya Zanish-Belcher, who generously donated books (and a journal) to the cause.

Spontaneous Scholarships 2015: How to give, how to apply

Yes, it’s the fifth year of this wonderful (and SAA-award winning) crowdfunding effort to help our fellow archivists and archives students attend the Society of American Archivists annual meeting. In the past four years you’ve helped 149 people–86 of them students–and I know how grateful all of them were for your donations.

The rules are the same as in previous years, but look for a follow-up post about how your donation can give you a chance to win a fabulous dining room suite a fabulous new archives-related book!

What is this about?

We’re giving money to people to fund their registration for the SAA Annual Meeting in Cleveland. Rather than pay for full travel or lodging for just a few people, I try to give a little bit of help to as many people as possible. This effort has no formal affiliation with SAA. Your donations are not tax deductible. It’s simple. You send me money. I give it all away within a few weeks to colleagues who need it.  Over the past four years, you’ve given over $30,000 and helped almost 150 fellow archivists and future archivists. It’s simple, but it works.

How you can help

If you want to give, you have several options, outlined below. My preference is for checks because that means PayPal transaction fees aren’t deducted from your donation, but I know it’s easier to click and donate while you’re thinking of it, so by all means, click and donate if that’s easier for you. Here are your options:

  • Pay by check– email me (info [@] or my regular email if you have it) or leave a comment (for which you must supply an email). I will reply with a mailing address. Or if you are an SAA, MARAC, or MAC member, you can look up my address in their member directories.
  • Pay via PayPal–click on the “Donate” button at top right of the sidebar.
  • Pay via credit card–send me an email, and I’ll send you an invoice using PayPal.

Give as much as you feel you can. Every little bit helps. Don’t feel like whatever you can afford to give isn’t enough. But if you’re fortunate enough to be in a comfortable position, please give generously.

Special early-bird incentive: A generous donor will give an additional $5 for every donation received or post-marked during the first week of the campaign. So act no later than June 9 and your donation can have an extra benefit!

This year, people making donations of $20 or more can enter a raffle to win a new copy of a archives-related book. See follow-up post for details.

How to put your name in the hat for scholarship

If you need help funding your SAA Annual Meeting registration, please send a message to info [@] providing your name, and whether you will be registering for the conference as a student or regular SAA member (note, you must be an SAA member to be eligible). All requests must be received by midnight on Tuesday, June 30. I will draw names out of a hat and notify the lucky people no later than Monday, July 6. This will allow you to register by the early-bird deadline of July 15. Once you forward me the confirmation of your registration, I will send you a reimbursement via check or PayPal.

So, all you need to do to apply is email me with the information listed above.That’s it. It’s on the honor system. Don’t ask unless you need, but if you need, go ahead and ask. This isn’t just for students and new archivists, it’s for everybody who needs a little help.

EDIT: Sorry, I thought I’d included this but it got dropped when I was revising the post. If you have received a scholarship in the past you are not eligible to receive another one. We want to spread the opportunities around. 

Which is why I’m asking you now to give, if you can. And why I’ll keep asking until July 1. Please share this through your own networks, as I will do shamelessly. And if you need some help, throw your name into the virtual hat!


Crunching numbers on the Spontaneous Scholarships & where you can find me at #saa14

I’m horrible with numbers, and yet I’m fascinated by them. Now that we’ve been running the Spontaneous Scholarships for a few years, I thought it was a good time to look back over the results and see if there were any interesting statistics. (Also it was an excellent form of procrastination on a day when I something else to do!)

  • Out of the 98 people who received Spontaneous Scholarships between 2011-13, 75 are still SAA members. That seems like a decent retention rate, I think. Of the 23 who have dropped, 13 were students, 10 were regular members. 13 received scholarships in 2011. 5 in 2012. 5 in 2013. And, of course, that is not to say that those 23 people are no longer active in the profession–they’re just not paying dues to SAA.
  • Over the past four years of the program (2011-2014) there have been donations from 225 people. Of those, 23 people have made donations in each of the four years. An additional 31 people have made donations in 3 out of the 4 years. So just a little under 25% of the donors have given more than half of the time.
  • Of those 225 donors, 30 were people who have received scholarships. One person donated two years before she got a scholarship. Seven people made donations in the same year they received assistance (and most of them have continued to give). We have now given out scholarships to 148 people, but 50 of those people only received help this past year. As you might expect, the pattern is for people to begin donating in the years after they receive a scholarship, so this bodes well for donations in 2015, I hope.

Those seem like good results, I think, in addition to the intangible ones expressed by both donors and recipients.

If you a donor, scholarship recipient (past or current), contributor to one of the case study books, or just someone who wants to say hi, if you’re at the SAA annual meeting you will probably be able to find me hanging around the Rowman & Littlefield booth in the exhibit hall during the breaks or at the tweetup. And of course I’ll be accepting the Spotlight Award at the awards ceremony in recognition for the scholarship program. This is my first SAA meeting since I rotated off my 3-year term on Council, and I’m looking forward to a more relaxed conference experience! Hope to see many of you there.



Wow, you people are generous: The Spontaneous Scholarships 2014 numbers

It was a very good year.

Thanks to 120 people, 28 students and 23 regular members will be attending the SAA annual meeting in a happier state of mind. Your donations of $11,210 are funding the registrations of 51 people. Over the previous three years scholarships have been given out to 98 people–so in this one year we’re more than half way toward doubling that number. You have been very generous–and some of you (you know who you are) have been crazy generous.

This year was exceptional also for the high percentage of people we were able to fund. We were able to give money to 28 out of the 42 students who asked, and to an astonishing 23 out of the 37 regular member applicants. So 67% of the people who asked for money were able to receive it. I’m particularly pleased about the number of scholarships for regular members we were able to give this year, considering that at $319 a pop they’re much more expensive than the students ($139).

I also want to recognize two anonymous donors who got into the spirit of the campaign by offering matching donations. The first offered to match all donations made by SAA’s SNAP Roundtable members, up to $1,000. SNAP members met and exceeded that pledge, giving a total of $1926. Another person offered to donate $1 for every donation. I know these two matching pledges encouraged many people to donate something, even if they couldn’t afford much, knowing that it would be doubled (+ $1). Anyone who wants to consider doing something similar next year, let me know!

So over the past four years, together we’ve raised over $31,700 and helped 149 colleagues. For that, all donors, over all the four years, deserve thanks. But clearly this year was phenomenal.  If you’ve donated, I’ve already thanked you, so I hope some of people who’ve benefited from your kindness will thank you themselves in the comments below. If you got a scholarship this year, or any year, please take a minute and share your appreciation and how much this assistance means to you. I’m lucky enough to see all the happy messages people send when I let them know they’ve been picked. Please share some of that with the supportive and lovely people who send in the money!


Scholarship update: Money still coming in, people being notified

A quick update: The first round of names were picked from the hat and the winners notified on Monday. If your name was pulled, an email was sent to you on Monday morning. A few people have not responded yet to accept the scholarships and as the message says, there’s a deadline for getting back to me. We’ll also be pulling more names out tonight (since we have more donations) and I’ll notify another batch of people, and again, you need to get back to me and accept the offer. So basically, if you applied for a scholarship, please make sure you’re checking your email this week.

Feel free to keep donating via the Paypal link on the site for the next few days, and I’ll post a final update with all the numbers once we’re done giving away the donations.

But please, if someone you know applied for a scholarship let them know to keep an eye on his or her email account!


It’s now the SAA-Award Winning Spontaneous Scholarship program (plus update on stats)

With about ten days to go in this year’s campaign, we have some great news to share. I am delighted to announce that SAA has honored me with this year’s Spotlight Award for the Spontaneous Scholarships. This award recognizes “the contributions of individuals who work for the good of the profession and archives collections—work that does not typically receive public recognition.” Regular readers will have no doubt about how the scholarships benefit the profession, but if you’d like to read the SAA statement accompanying the award, it’s available here. (You may also browse the full list of award recipients here. It’s worth spending some time learning about the work of these great people and organizations.)

My deepest thanks to those responsible for nominating me, and, of course, there are no scholarships without the donors, so heartfelt thanks to all of you who have made this program continue to be successful over the years.

And speaking of donors … we now have 76 of them. So the generous donor who volunteered to contribute $1  for every contributor will have to dig a bit deeper. Can we push him/her to a $100 donation?I think we can. We’ve already succeeded in meeting the pledge to match all donations by SNAP Roundtable members, up to $1,000, so thanks to all the members of SNAP who have made donations, big and small.

This morning’s tally of donations stands at $6,360. We now have 33 student applicants and 27 people who will be registering at the full SAA member rate, which means we currently have enough to fund 48.2% of the applicant pool. That’s certainly very good, but as you might expect there is usually a last minute rush of names being thrown into the virtual hat, so I cannot feel complacent. With things wrapping up on June 27, there’s still a lot of time for people to donate and apply. If you need information about how to do either, here’s the original announcement post. (You’ll also notice the Donate button at the upper left hand side. Convenient, isn’t it?)

As always, please help spread the word to those who might be able to contribute or who could use a little help. Give if you can, ask if you need!






Two weeks to go for Spontaneous Scholarships: here’s where we’re at

With just a little over two weeks to go for the Spontaneous Scholarships, we have raised about $5,100, with ~$700 in so far from SNAP Roundtable members eligible for the matching pledge. That money has come from 54 individual donors, which means a matching donation of at least $54 so far from the other matching pledge. So that’s all very good. At around this time last year I was concerned because we were so far behind the previous year’s rate of donations. We’ve had several large donations already this year, which warms the cockles of my heart, but all donations are good donations. If you want the cockles of your heart warmed, maybe you want to read the post I put up a few days ago, with messages from donors.

But what’s the status of the hat? We have the names of 29 student registrants and 24 at the regular member rate. So we’d need $11,687 to fund everyone we currently have. Of course, the plan isn’t to fund everyone who asks, but I’d like to get closer to at least 50% if we can. (As you might expect, the number of names in the hat rises every year. At this time last year we had 22 students and 19 regulars.) 

I’m hoping to see enough donations from SNAP members over the next few weeks so we make that pledge to match up to $1,000, and I’m also hoping we can get closer to funding about half the people who have asked for help. Bear in mind that we usually get a last minute rush of applicants near the deadline after I remind people that the end is near. So if you haven’t donated yet, I hope you will do so. I’m hesitant to post with such positive news for fear it will make people think we’re all set, but in the interests of transparency, this is where we’re at right now. We’re in pretty good shape, but we always need more. As always, give if you can, ask if you need!