PDA

View Full Version : How did your team get sponsors like GM, Ford, Pepsi, etc


Cory
12-09-2002, 10:37 PM
I was just wondering how teams with the huge corporations funding them started getting sponsorship from them. Did you simply approach them in a letter/phone call, were you approached by them, or did you get sponsorship by other means. Also do you feel that massive amounts of pressure are put on your team in that you must perform well because of the big name sponsor. Also, if you would like to list the benefits and disadvantages that you have found to having a massive sponsor that would be great.

Redhead Jokes
12-09-2002, 11:02 PM
Originally posted by Cory
I was just wondering how teams with the huge corporations funding them started getting sponsorship from them. Did you simply approach them in a letter/phone call, were you approached by them, or did you get sponsorship by other means. Also do you feel that massive amounts of pressure are put on your team in that you must perform well because of the big name sponsor. Also, if you would like to list the benefits and disadvantages that you have found to having a massive sponsor that would be great.

Our engineer got TRW to be our major sponsor - $20,000 a year. However they've been sold to Northrup Grumman, the deal's not quite closed yet, and TRW gave us $5000 for regional as a last minute save measure, but it doesn't look good that we'll be getting more from TRW or that Northrup will continue to fund us. BTW, TRW had a rule that we weren't allowed other "partners" so our dilemma before they were even sold was that our team is about tripled, our expenses doing the same, and TRW didn't want partners.

We had a community meeting at Raytheon. Employees there said they had lots of money to give. We expected it. They said no. I couldn't find that original Raytheon engineer that said they had lots of money.

Months later my husband and I are sitting at the football game. The guy in front of us and us start talking. He thought he recognized us. He said he'd take care of funding. He told us Raytheon just gave our school's ROTC $50,000. We haven't heard back, but hear they're working it out.

Meanwhile a team's parent works at Boeing. I ALWAYS ask students' where they parents work, explaining we're looking for connections. We applied. Boeing said no.

Raytheon did take my daughter and I to Women's Governor's Conference. There we met LA Society of Women Engineers' president. She did an article on our team. She learned Boeing turned us down. She said that division was out of money, go try at these other 2 locations. We will.

Meanwhile our team has regular open to the public hours that are published in 2 local papers and on the southbaycalendar.org . We regularly get visitors. We had an El Segundo 10yo electronics' whiz visit. He never came back. I had put them on our email distribution list cuz he'd left with mom showing interest, but didn't list him as a team member cuz he hadn't come back. (we have a 10yo programming whiz member already).

To my surprise just recently the mom emails us that they're still interested, her son's been in soccer, he's coming for the six weeks, and btw they have a very good friend who's a big financial whig in Boeing who asked that she forward all emails about our team, and he can't believe Boeing turned us down. He's going to see what he can do.

Our open house attracted a manufacturing engineer who is now working at a machine shop who's willing to supply materials and tools.

We still don't have funding. We attended Chatsworth finance workshop and are following their lead. We're making 1000 packets similar to theirs, and requiring each student to approach (and show proof) 10 sponsors, seeking at least $100 ea sponsor, or $1000 total of their efforts. The school is printing the color pages for us. A sponsor provided all the paper, I'm seeking this week the district paper supply house for donations of manila envelopes and "return" envelopes. Chatsworth doesn't snail mail, and doesn't put postage on the "return" envelopes to save on money. Another sponsor is printing all the black and white copies.

We've planned it out - worst scenario people pay their own way to Phoenix or Houston. Personally, that's a hardship on us, and impossible for others. If we win a judged award, don't have funding, and must get to Houston, our family will be renting the cheapest room and it'll be 4 to a room.

So we have lots of possibilities, just no results right now.

I can't say we feel pressure to perform because of the sponsor. Luckily we have performed well in the past and have many current things to show how well we're doing now. However the pressure is more about the pride we're taking in our team and the changes we've made to improve all aspects of our team. I'm also experiencing more and more that it is the process, not the winning, that is life changing, life learning, and most rewarding.

Our 2001 championship was wonderful. We had a terrible year 2002 - robot and teamwise. Put those two together - they motivated us to great things this year. I don't think we'll be able to "go back" to extremely dysfunctional family after this year. My husband and I joined fully this year, and plan to be there for at least the next four years for my freshman daughter, and are having too much fun. We'll be around. Our other constant mentor finally has a lot more input than he did last year, and he and us have learned to trust and respect each other, and we have an easy working relationship these days - the result of our process this year. Sounds like he'll be around even after his twins graduate this year. As long as we 3 constants are there, I think our team will be more consistently doing well.

Matt Reiland
12-10-2002, 03:26 PM
Well coming from one of the big sponsers (GM) our division wanted to get into it after seeing other GM divisons into it (Huskies, Truck Town, Milford.....) Now there are even more GM teams, if there is a plant in your area, assembly, powertrain, stamping that isn't involved play the card showing how other similar plants are involved and they should be too.

As for expectations, I do expect allot from our team, it is probably for some of the wrong reasons but no engineer wants to have the team that they support be the lowest of the pack especially when all of the VIP's from the divisions show up at the nationals to talk with each other. I enjoy first allot but nothing upsets me more than our students (and some engineers) always trying to do something half a** instead of doing it right. I know a bunch of team members that get upset and always say the engineers are doing too much work but most of the time we want the job done right.

AdamT
12-10-2002, 04:38 PM
Many of the teams that you see with large corporate sponsors, the company started the team along with the local high school or there is a parent employee....

We are not so lucky, so we are poor....

Clark Gilbert
12-10-2002, 04:46 PM
We were started by Delco (a divison of GM, now DELPHI) back in 1992 when the FIRST program was created, and for some reason i can't of the person who found out about FIRST or if the organization contacted Delco (DELPHI) to possibly start a team. I know this isnt much help, but i though i would share our story. Hopefully someone can expand a little. (help me Baker!)

:D

Andy Baker
12-10-2002, 05:12 PM
Originally posted by Clark Gilbert
(help me Baker!):D

I think that it went this way:

Dean and Woodie were looking for companies to donate parts for the competition. They came to GM and asked for small motors... GM provided the seat motors (2 for each team... by far the most powerful motor that year).

I assume that during the communications to get these motors, Dean and Woodie challenged GM to compete. At the time, Delco Electronics (headquartered in Kokomo) was a subsidiary of GM and had a robotics development department, providing automated equipment for in-house use. This department was asked to participate because of this specialty. At the same time, Delco was beginning a educational partnership with Kokomo High School and the Public Affairs department at Delco asked KHS to join in on the competition.

This was the beginning of GM sponshorship and Delphi sponsorship of FIRST teams. I THINK (not sure here) that the older GM and Delphi teams came along later due to the inter-workings of GM and Delphi employees. The newer GM and Delphi teams have been started by others soliciting their help, as Matt mentioned above.

Andy B.

Paul Copioli
12-10-2002, 05:54 PM
Team 217 was started by the local Van Dyke transmission plant. The local plant funded us entirely our first year, but corporate Ford now sponsors us too. We get most of our support (financial, materials, machine shop labor) from the local plant. We also require ALL traveling students to find $1,000 each woth of sponsors. They "hit the streets" in the Fall and usually find more than that from local businesses. My suggestion: go to the places you frequently patronize and give them your fundraising brochure.

Hailfire
12-10-2002, 05:59 PM
For us, we just started our team, became a Ford FIRST team, and became sponsored by Ford. Our team is still looking for more ways to get sponsors and fundraisers though. Unfortunately, our principal wants to host one BIG fundraiser and split the money amongst all of the clubs. I find this stupid though. He says that otherwise, there will be too much "competition" amongst the clubs. Oh well.

Jeff Waegelin
12-10-2002, 08:51 PM
Well, our sponsorship story is rather long and convoluted. Our first year, 1998, we had no major corporate sponsorship. Most of the money was raised by the team, and a little (I think) came from EDS. We only made it to Nationals through the gracious assistance of a few local teams. The next year, EDS picked us up with a major sponsorship. Unfortunately, in 2000, EDS cut us back to about $5K. We were able to get a Visteon sponsorship, since the captain's dad worked for Visteon. Since they wanted to be the sole sponsor, we thanked EDS and told them good-bye. Visteon gave us a good amount for two years, but for 2002 and 2003, they have not been able to give as much. We made out okay last year, but this year, we also got a sponsorship from GM. This came from a parent who also happens to be Director of Manufacturing Research. As part of a different division, he had worked with team #226 in previous years, and when his daughter joined our team, he brought his new group in to sponsor us. So, that concludes the concise sponsorship history of the FEDS. It goes to show that while you don't need a personal connection to establish a sponsor, it certainly helps. Ask your parents' companies; when there's a personal connection, there's often a better chance for sponsorship.

sanddrag
12-10-2002, 09:16 PM
This is a topic I've been very interested in for quite a while. Our team has no sponsors :( so I can't really share a story with you. However, for those of you who reply to this thread, it would help if you could be really specific and detailed in exactly how you obtained the sponsorship. If you have any materials you'd like to share, feel free to send me a PM.

Redhead Jokes
12-10-2002, 10:47 PM
Originally posted by sanddrag
it would help if you could be really specific and detailed in exactly how you obtained the sponsorship. If you have any materials you'd like to share, feel free to send me a PM.

I can send you our fundraising letter. Do you mind an attachment?

RUHS President got motivated at Chatsworth Wendy's fundraising class, and has motivated our students to put together 1000 fundraising packets. Today 2 students said their dad's companies would sponsor us, AIS, and either Mattel or the dad's own aerospace parts store. Don't know yet how much money. One student said he had his list of people to ask money for and he expects no problem getting money.

kpugh
12-11-2002, 09:02 AM
Could you possibly send me that fundraising letter also?
Thanks.

Brandon Martus
12-11-2002, 09:12 AM
Originally posted by Redhead Jokes
I can send you our fundraising letter. Do you mind an attachment?

You could throw that in the White Papers, if you want. I bet a bunch of people could benefit from it.

Redhead Jokes
12-11-2002, 02:25 PM
Originally posted by Brandon Martus
You could throw that in the White Papers, if you want. I bet a bunch of people could benefit from it.

It's waiting your approval. Now I know how to upload a white paper, I've got a few more to post.

BTW, I just discovered the US First Volunteer Handbook (http://www.usfirst.org/robotics/volbook/) that has a few more attachments we're going to add to our letter.

SlamminSammy
12-11-2002, 04:53 PM
If you just need more money, try a grant. Just be sure you're a registered non-profit organization and remember it's rarely a permanent solution.

The Foundation Center (http://www.fdncenter.org/) is an excellent resource for grant finding/writing/info.

Also, at http://fdncenter.org/fc_stats/pdf/10_top50_tg/2000 there is a directory of the top 50 foundations/corporations by total giving. This is a very good spot to look for potential corporate sponsors too. Corporate funding is usually easier to get than private funding. (This link is separate from the main link because I don't know if it is accessible from the main site)

Cory
12-11-2002, 09:54 PM
If you could send me the letter also, that would be excellent

Brandon Martus
12-11-2002, 10:43 PM
Its in the white papers now, i believe.

[link (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/papers.php?s=)]