Corporate Sponsors

We are currently trying to obtain some corporate sponsors as our NASA/JPL sponsorship has run out. I saw some team on these forums who had 15K from Verizon.

I am very interested in learning just how you all go about getting these companies to fork over the cash. I want to know every step of the way. I mean every letter, e-mail, phone call, personal visit. Just tell me everything you did to get your big sponsors.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

/me wants to go to 2 regionals

Our team has Visteon as our sponsor. We have them because one of the dads works for Visteon’s accounting (or another group that handels $$$. I can’ think of the name). So, i would recomend looking for friends w/ parents who work for a major compeny, i can help a lot than just approching a compeny on your own. Sorry, i don’t have detals, but hope this helps.

You would be suprised at how much money is out there an many companies, especially bigger ones. Look around your area and make sure you have a presentation ready to give. I know each year when I present to the people at GM that I work with, dropping a few names of other companies that participate does wonders (many, many people say wow that’s pretty impressive I’m glad our group is a part of that) You say hey look who also part of this: GM, Ford, Chrysler, NASA, MIT, Delphi, Visteon… the list just keeps going its impressive. Tell the company what kind of exposure they can expect from sponsoring you. CLipping out interviews from newspapers goes along the same lines where you show them how it looks on paper on the front page of a local newspaper with the team and the sponser and how great FIRST is. In my opinion this is what it takes to impress a sponser. If you want I could send you one of my powerpoint presentations that I give to our own staff each year as a starting point.

Yeah, that team was us. Verizon was very, very nice to us and we love them dearly for the support they’ve been giving us since we were rookies. The grant they gave us lasted 3 years (company policy). One of our major selling points was that we’re a multijurisdictional school system (we’re a magnet school for the surrounding 5,6,7 counties or so).

Many of our sponsors come with personal contacts from the team, which usually work better than letters and fliers. Ask your team members where their parents work, and if their company would like to be a robotics sponsor. Maybe your team mentor has some connections, or your parents work for a big machine shop nearby.

I’d tell any companies I approached the scope of the competition (20,000 kids, 650 teams, Brazil UK Canada US, 47 states, etc.) and remind them of the kind of corporations we work with, like Matt said. Also, inform them of everything you do. Going to 10 or 15 demoes in the off-season and taking their banners with you whereever you go definitely looks good - it’s nice, personal advertising. Most teams have huge banners from their major sponsors (you couldn’t see the upper railings at the VCU Siegel Center there were so many), and tell them that if they provide you with one you’ll be happy to take it to your pits, all your demoes, wear it is a cape, etc…

our main corporate sponsor was Credit Suisse First Boston Bank. our other little sponsors were Richmond County Savings Bank, Staten Island Savings Bank, Harborside Managment Corp., Con Edison and Keyspan Energy.

I agree with 422 in most teams alot of the team members are employed with big name companies. And usualy those big name companies are looking to get their name out to the world. When we go up to the companies we tell them basically what they would be sponsoring,
For instance

e.g. My name is Mike I am the Team Captain of a High School Robotics Team in which particpates in a yearly Robotics Competition known as FIRST. are something to the affect. then I would give a run down of what FIRST is and then explain the money situation / our goal and why we chose to particiapate in this highly educational sporting event.

It had been awhile since I last talked to the president of a company so what I would say is a bit rusty. But in basic terms that what I typed above is what I used. Alot of comapnies become interested in the ROBOT part. not so much as the FIRST part. they want to know how it works / controlled and then the involvement of the students / parents / teachers. These companies don’t want there money to be wasted. So to better explain the ropes to them show them a brief video of a competition that you went to and explain it as the tape roles on.
your role after getting their sponsorship is to present their name anyway you can whereever you go. Big Bold letters if you have to. Invite them to attend a team competition also. Manily invite them to the nationals since it is a BIG WORLD WIDE event. And most of all the big name Sponsors representatives are there.

Companies big and small want to see what the end product is going to be. Use the FIRST promo video it really tells the story well. Present them with your budget, this is what they do and they want to see how their money is spent. Prepare a few students to tell of the impact it has had on them ( don’t have it canned but real experiences)
We have an Appreciation dinner every year for our sponsors (big and small) and invite potential sponsors. At this we do demos have the kidsand mentors talk, present our budget and see what happens. We usually garner at least one new sponsor and helps our PR a lot.
Attend every civic club meeting you can rotary, lions, ambucs, etc. whatever these are the people in your community who have the contacts.
Also show that you are willing and have worked to provide a lot of your own funds, not just selling things but some manual labor.
We also emphasize community service, what do we give back to the community for the support it gives us.
Try to include them where ever you can

Just some of the things we do

Hey guys!

I just wanted to thank you for some great advice. I am the new PR (public relations) leader for my team and I’ve already started getting involved.

I’d like to add though the press is a great source to get your team known and out there. I just wrote 3 of our local news’ a few days ago. Last year one of the stations said they would love to do a periodic check up during the season.

Just wanted to give a little input for you all as it can always be helpful if you present your team that shows your on the TV every once in a while. Especially if you mention your sponsors while your on it!


Our main sponsor was Cornell University because the college student who started our team a couple of years ago here goes there. After Cornell, BorgWarner is our second biggest contributor, although this year, the local ASM chapter may also be helping out. In my personal opinion, however, the most noticeably helpful sponsor was Papa John’s and their never ending supply of pizza… but now that one of our guys has gone to college, no one on the team works there anymore :frowning:

*Originally posted by Matt Reiland *
**You would be suprised at how much money is out there an many companies, especially bigger ones. **

Actually, I am surprised at the LACK of money out there. It seems like everyone we tried to get to help us finacially doesn’t want to.

:sigh: :sigh: :sigh: :sigh:

/me wants to compete in 2 regionals.

We need a bare minimum of 8.5 freaking thousand more dollars!!!

gahhhh…I really don’t get this. Some teams have tons of money and some teams have to do some extreme fundraising to get money to register for one regional. Why don’t all you rich teams out there sacrifice some things and get your sponsors to give more teams out there a chance to participate? This would be awesome material for chairman’s. Not “I mentored a team” or “I taught them how to get their own sponsors”, but “We gave this other team a chance to compete”. I know there are teams out there with a budget of $250,000+. We survive fine on a budget of one fifth that.

$250,000 is obsurd. Even $50,000 dollars is ridiculous. We currently have under $3000.

Share the wealth please.

Note: please refer to the first post in this thread and try to help with its purpose.

We keep running into the problem of needing to file as a non-profit organization at a national level (Something about 503©(3) or 509(a)). Anybody know how easy this is?

Top 5 local sponsors that require non-profit status:

  1. General Mills-Pillsbury
  2. Xcel Energy
  3. Target Corp.
  4. Northwest Arlines
  5. U.S. Bank (US Bancorp)
    5.5 BestBuy

You can probably use your schools tax ID number.


You might also get your parents group together and have them forma a non-profit booster club to support the team. It would cost a few hundred dollars for the paperwork but it may pay off with sponsorship support for the team. They would act as the funding donor based on funds from your sponsors.


Ok the community we operate out of is only 25,000 but have several smaller businesses here and have success funding with these. Try to target some of the smaller companies where you live. Sometimes you’ll find better communjity support from those, it may only be 100 at a time but it can add up. Make sure your team is out there visibly trying to raise money and be able to show potetial sponsors your efforts. In other words be willing to work for at least a good share of what you get. This time of year leaf raking jobs are out there and if you do it as a team and get some PR about it, it gets you out in front of the community. See about in-kind donations, services or goods instead of money, we get a lot of this and it is incredibly helpful building the bot. Go to the local news papers and get them on your side, the education editor can help tremendously.
the paper gives you credibility and exposure, can help to loosen the purse strings.
#1 thing to do is to make sure you thank your sponsors Big and small. We are getting ready to host our appreciation dinner in Nov. and view this as our key sponsor getter.

gotta go to work hang in there and work hard the money is out there somewhere.