Attn. Corporate Sponsored Teams:


Those teams that have corporate sponsors, how did you get them? It would be helpful if you posted the procedures you took also to get your corporate sponsor(s). My team has had a corporate sponsor before, but the company changed management and they no longer sponsor us. Now, we have reverted to many local sponsors, and I was thinking about trying to get another corporate sponsor. Thanks. :wink:

i wish i could help, but actually, our sponsor came to our school with the money and spoke with our administrator…yeah, i know, not much help.

You could try putting together a presentation of sorts and go to a local plant/office…

I know with a lot of the corporate sponsored teams were not the team approaching the corporation, but rather as Kevin said, the corporation approached the team. I feel your pain, we’re trying to get a corporation too. Good luck!

Delphi’s World Headquaters were in Kokomo, IN in 1992, so they asked the high school if they would like to participate, and they said yes, and the TechnoKats were born.:stuck_out_tongue:


Sponsorship is sometimes extremely difficult to obtain. Regardless of whether the team is a rookie or more established, lacking personal “connections” with a corporation might result in receiving limited funding. However, Cybersonics Technology 103 has developed steps in establishing a yearly budget that strays from digging too far in member’s pockets.

  1. **Make Your Team Known **

Send out monthly newsletters within the community, create a website, and/or host a fundraising event(s).

  1. **Become Involved **

Engage in community service efforts by collecting can foods or clothing for those in need. Show the community that you care and that you are willing to give back.

  1. Market Your Team

*For Corporate: * Create a Professional Packet highlighting who your team is, what FIRST is, goals for the future, past achievements (including community efforts), and where you are traveling to this season. Personalize these documents with the name of the corporation and a budget of the previous year. Place these documents in a folder and mail it to the intended corporation. After a few days make a follow-up call to insure that the documents were received and ask if they have any questions. Prepare a presentation where you illustrate the importance of FIRST and the works that you have completed. Mention to the corporation that you would be more than willing to travel to their facility to give the presentation.

For Businesses: Create a basic, yet attractive flyer with a picture of your team and small text areas that include who you are and why you are in need of funding. Also include your goals for the future and how with their donation you will be able to have a successful season. After creating this flyer, print or copy enough to disperse among team members. Require each member to obtain at least 2 local businesses to sponsor your team (even in the most rural locations this is possible). Also Make sure to Poll Members to see if they know anyone (corporate, business, or otherwise) who could contribute to the team.

  1. Host Fundraisers

Plan fundraisers that can increase your teams funding, examples: Basket Bingo, Spaghetti Dinner, Magic Show, etc. Travel to local supermarkets to see if food items can be donated or to other stores to request door prizes that can be raffled. Set a goal for the number of tickets each member is required to sell (divide how many people you are able to accommodate and divide it by team members, ex. 200/20 = 10 tickets each need to sell). Always decrease the accommodation amount when making this calculation if you are selling tickets at the door.

  1. **Involve Parents **

Involve parents in aiding with fundraising events by contributing refreshments that can be used for the event. Make these free to increase attendance. Create a small presentation for parents of new members to inform them about the program and to also motivate them to help.

Accomplishing the above steps will increase funding yearly. However, all of these steps may not be able to be completed in a single season. As you become more established they should be expanded on yearly. I hope this helps, if you have any questions please contact me.


Encourage someone from your team to join NEMO (Non-engineering Mentor Organization) - - they may get more ideas by polling the membership… Download the NEMO white paper “Creating a Killer Team Packet” which contains ideas for creating a professional looking information packet to present to potential sponsors. Also look at “25 Ways a Sponsor Can Help” which explains non-monetary ways that sponsors help FIRST teams.

Identify likely corproate sponsors in your community through your local chamber of commerce or via online or print resources - “top 50 businesses in X City” for example. Look for technology-related companies as these will be more likely to want to help out. Poll your membership to see if anyone is related to these organizations in any way (as an employee, etc.). Check to see if they support community activities and find out who the person in charge of those decisions is. Make an appointment with that person and sugest a technical person also be brought in. Choose your most articulate student and an adult to represent the team (while they may wish to hear the story from the student, they might also want reassurance that management of their funds will be overseen by an adult). Practice like you would for a Chairman’s Award interview or job interview. Make it short and to the point. Talk about success stories - competition-wise and from a human nature side (all five seniors from last year’s class went on to pursue higher education or something like that). Explain what benefits the company will have by supporting the team (As a Gold Level Sponsor, your company’s name will be on our robot, announced at each of our competitions, and on our t-shirts). Allow time for them to ask questions. Don’t use FIRST jargon that an outsider won’t understand. Leave them with a way to contact you, and follow up with a thank you and a follow-up call a week or so later. Invite them to a local competition if there is one in your area so they can come and see it, and call about a month ahead to remind them of the date and specifics, especially if they did not sign on to be a sponsor this year.

Identify likely corproate sponsors in your community through your local chamber of commerce or via online or print resources - “top 50 businesses in X City”
I’ll save you some time - it’s Las Vegas!!!

No seriously, it seems to me that your team may be missing out on a unique opportunity. Engineering help should be easy to find – we love it! On the other hand, finding the kind of financial help a team needs is not easy. And, finding engineers with enough influence to get their companies involved is hardest of all, especially in places like Vegas where industry and manufacturing are not a large part of the local economy.

In the Detroit area we have the auto industry, but Vegas has casinos. Do you realize that the casinos have large staffs dedicated to public relations and promotions? They wouldn’t blink an eye at the kind of money we’re talking. What they care about is name recognition – setting them apart from the rest of the strip.

I’d lay odds :wink: that that one of them would be more that willing to put their name on the sides of your robot. Technology smeck-nology! Go where the money is!!

But is worthwhile to pursue. True, the engineer can’t make the decision to fund the team. But the engineer has contacts inside the company, and can find out who you should be talking to and what forms need to be submitted. If the engineer is committed to the team, he or she can explain the benefits of sponsorship to management, and may be willing to spearhead the whole process. We got a $6000 sponsorship that way.

Another path to pursue is contacting your state FIRST organization/partner. They may have contacts to suggest to your team.

Are you looking for one big sponsor or several minor ones? MOE was fortunate enough to have DuPont approach us initially about starting a team (actually, they wanted to convert an Explorer’s Post to a FIRST team - long story). But we are constantly approaching many places for lesser amounts, $500-$2000 range, which can add up. The most successful way is through parents. Ask them if they work for a company who would be willing to donate, or if they can give you a name of a person at that company. We usually send a packet and follow up with a phone call. Other local companies we have gotten from word of mouth or through directories. This is less successful but can still generate some money.

We’ve had more success getting sponsorship for individual events, such as the Duel on the DE and our 5K fundraiser. Some companies prefer donating for a specific event rather than sponsoring a team. For our 5K, which raised $2000 BTW, we promised to put the companies names on the runner t-shirts, which we promoted as a great way for them to advertise to a larger audience and for a long period of time.

Good luck - fundraising is very difficult!

Jean Hoppert is your Senior Mentor and may have some ideas. She is a former corporation executive and an engineer.
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Just to add to the Vegas thing. I do believe that jack has a point and I believe that the hardest part is going to be getting through to the right person to talk to. You also might have difficulty because of the under 21 issue; ie. Why would a casino want to give money to people who can’t go to their casino’s, but that will be more of how you answer the question then the actual problem. In addition each casino especially big strip ones have full engineering staffs. Believe it or not there are engineers who design and build things for the casinos, so you might be able to get them also.

Although if I was in Vegas i would defiantly look these guys up. They are the ones who are trying to build a space hotel.

Corporations large and small are more generous if they can write it off.

Incorporate as a non-profit 501©3

If the relationship with the school is such that that cannot happen, start a boosters club and incorporate that. The booster club can pay the bills.

Definitely try to get your team considered a non-profit group so that sponsors can write the donation off. I think it’s alot harder to find the “large” corporate donations you might be looking for without this.

Assemble some kind of sponsorship packet or brochure to present to corporations (I definitely recommend looking at the NEMO White Paper for this, our team just finished one based off of this and everyone who has seen it has been impressed). Then just try to talk to any (or every) corporation you can. You tend to get better results when there is someone connected to your team that is an employee or part of the corporation (parent, mentor, friend of a member’s family, etc.), and local ones will probably be more willing to do it, but there’s really no harm in trying anyone (unless you’re afraid of the word “no”).

I would definitely recommend talking to casinos about this. I don’t know what they can donate for money, but one of our member’s family has a friend who works at a casino in Vegas, and they talked to him about what we do and whatnot. It will depend upon when the Las Vegas Regional is next year, but the friend is pretty sure he can get us 4 or 5 free rooms for the duration of the Regional if we go to Las Vegas next year. I’m guessing with all the members, mentors, and teachers on your team, there’s probably someone who knows a person in the casino business.

Carol Perrotto and Bill Enslen of FRC 365 MOE presented “501(c)(3) Nonprofit Status - What Is It, Do We Need It, and How Do We Get It?” at the 2006 FIRST Conference this year. Their presentation can be found here (and also linked from the NEMO website).