Update on Spontaneous Scholarship Effort–Deadline to give extended & we’ll keep giving until we run out of money

The response to this effort has been great. (See previous post for more information on the Spontaneous Scholarships.) Here’s an update: So far I have about $800 in hand, with more pledged checks definitely coming in by mail this week. We have 16 people who have thrown their names into the hat for a chance at getting their meeting registration paid for. I’ll send a reminder message to the A&A list tomorrow, so it’s possible we may pick up some more applicants, and hopefully some more donations.

I will still only accept requests for funding until midnight this Friday, July 8. Over the weekend I’ll see how much money we have and I’ll start pulling names out of the hat and notify the winners. However, given that we haven’t had much time to promote this, I’ll keep accepting donations and as enough money accrues to fund someone I’ll take the next person off the “waiting list.” I know some people will have to make travel plans soon so hopefully we can get everyone funded pretty soon after the deadline. Because I’d like to get as many people funded as possible.

I specifically didn’t require people to give any kind of explanation or justification of why they needed funding, but some people are giving me more information, often in the course of expressing their appreciation for the effort. Some people are between jobs, some are still looking for their first professional position, and some are just not getting funded by their institution and aren’t able to come up with the funds on their own. Look, I don’t want to get preachy but these are dedicated professionals and if you’re lucky enough to have a little bit of money (or a lot of money) to be able to help them out, kick some in for the fund. You can do so by clicking the “Donate” button at the top right and using PayPal, or if you’d rather send a check, contact me at info[@]archivesnext.com and I’ll give you my mailing address.

Thanks to everyone who has helped promote this effort via their own blogs, Twitter, Facebook and whatever else you’re doing to spread the word, and my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has donated so far. This started out as an effort to help one person, but with your help maybe we can help a lot of people. Thank you.


After this is all over there will definitely be at least one post about what I’ve learned from this experience. Right now it looks like this might be better called the Social Media Scholarship because as far as I can tell the majority of donors are coming from Facebook and Twitter. And many people are giving small amounts–as low as $5, some $10 or $15–and they’re telling me they’re sorry that it can’t be more. The next time some senior member of the profession speaks disparagingly to me about Twitter (and they do), I can point to this and say the people on Twitter came through to help their colleagues. Not that there haven’t been donations from outside the social media world, because there have been, and a few have been large, but for sheer volume of donations, Facebook and Twitter have really come through.

As a preview of that post–some quotes from Twitter:

  • I actually prefer giving to this informal scholarship – it would never occur/appeal to me to donate to SAA directly.
  • It seems more genuine too – less dependent on arbitrary essays or nominations. You need it = we’re here.
  • Finally got around to sending you my donation (Paypal). Thanks for giving us the opportunity to exercise our better nature…
  • I like that it helps people immediately, as opposed to donating to a scholarship endowment.
  • Check’s in the mail. Wish it could have been more. Maybe next time!
  • Tiny amount from me. But if every member gave what I did, dozens would have registration paid for
  • I got paid today, so I’ll be firing off a donation shortly. It’s the little things.
  • Your “Spontaneous Scholarships for SAA Annual Meeting” is a wonderful idea. Reminds me that #archivists are a community. TY!

We now have 20 students and 10 “regular” members requesting funding and about $1500 in hand. If you haven’t yet donated, you can still do so and I said above. I’ll keep distributing money as long as it keep coming in. Thank you.

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5 thoughts on “Update on Spontaneous Scholarship Effort–Deadline to give extended & we’ll keep giving until we run out of money”

  1. I fully support this effort, Kate, and have donated (directly and indirectly) to this valuable cause. In response to the Twitterer who said, “it would never occur/appeal to me to donate to SAA directly,” however, I would like to point out one obvious but critical difference between this campaign and SAA scholarships. The Spontaneous Scholarship fund, in all its dynamic, beautiful spontaneity, is ephemeral: after the funds are awarded, it is done. The endowed SAA scholarships, on the other hand, will go on year after year. When I give to the Pinkett Minority Student Award Fund, only a portion of my gift will help a student this year, but the gift will also help another student the next year and the next and the next.

    I am no cheerleader for SAA. I’ve let my membership lapse more than once and don’t feel many personal benefits from being a member. It strikes me as slow and too concerned with its own internal workings; in other words, it suffers from all the weaknesses of professional associations. However, we wouldn’t have an annual meeting without it, so I reluctantly renewed my membership this year. When I did, I added a small gift to the Pinkett fund. I encourage everyone who supported Kate’s brilliant, spontaneous award fund to also give to one of SAA’s scholarship funds. We need both the nimble little twittering mammals and the old lumbering dinosaurs … at least for now, until the twittering mammals take over.

  2. Thank you, Rob, for reminding everyone that they have other options for giving to support their colleagues through SAA. I was a bit concerned at first that some might see this effort as competing with SAA’s own fundraising efforts but I have heard no complaints about that so far.

    One of the reasons I wanted to capture some of the Twitter conversation is to remind myself that a future topic for a post could be a discussion of the different ways people are motivated to give, and how possibly SAA needs to consider evolving some more nimble and short-term giving options like this one. I do plan to save whatever money is left over from this year’s effort (if there is any) and do another round of this next year. Only with more lead time and better planning. But still with the same spirit.

    So, yes, gentle readers, when it’s time to renew your SAA membership look for the options to give to the various endowments and consider making a contribution. They do good work.

  3. I also think that understanding the motivations for this particular fundraising campaign could help folks think in new ways about future fundraising campaigns for their own archives/special collections. Many people want to help — they just might not be able to help enough to warrant “big development” attention.

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