COVID-19 Era fundraising ideas?

Hi, rookie team here! We are currently working on creating a fundraising timeline for our initial team application. Is there anything pandemic-specific that has been shown to be successful for anyone? Given that not all of the traditional fundraising/gathering-type activities are available at the moment, what else can we do?


Apply for grants. Depending on your situation, you may be well positioned. I can put you in touch with our business team that research grants. They may have ones that work for you.


Try doing a chipotle fundraiser or see if any other business wants to do a deal where on a certain night they give you 20% from all the sales that mention your name last year we did two of these fundraisers and both of them raised a bit over $100


We’ve been doing a lot of things online, like virtual conferences with admission fees or our annual silent auction.

For a rookie team I suggest asking for donations from families and friends, whether you sell some cool school/robotics themed items, or gift cards to some local businesses or something. If your mentor’s workplaces offer matching hours for volunteering, you should look into that. Along with grants if you can, etc. etc.

Money shouldn’t be a huge thing to worry about this year because I doubt we will have any in person competitions to travel to, let alone being able to meet in person to build a robot.

Regardless, for future years, my tips for fundraising in general, the more personal you make it, the more likely they are to say yes. Emails can be ignored easily, calls are better if you’re actively talking to them, but talking to them face-to-face is the most effective in my experience. There’s a small social pressure and sense of guilt with actively talking to them because it’s a lot harder to say no. When it’s safe, write a cover letter for each store, go around your local mall and talk to the manager about receiving discounted items/food or a monetary donation. If they do say no, thank them for their time and remember to stay gracious and professional!

I hope this helps! DM me if u need any help!


Perhaps you can set up something like a “gift registry” of items your team needs that people can purchase and have delivered to the team i.e. they can buy your team a RoboRio, a motor controller, a couple of motors or some gusset plates.

It also takes more effort to find who to call then make the call. That should send a positive message about how you value the person you contact.


We’ve put our 3D printers to good use to create PPE as a fundraiser, in addition to giving away a lot to healthcare facilities. Funds are used to replenish material.


Sorry to sound both pessimistic and optimistic at the same time but since it looks like the “second wave” of COVID is upon us, you(we) might be put into another lockdown. If that happens there might be a chance that aluminum can returns could be suspended at the grocery stores. If the lockdown goes on for weeks in order to try to keep the hospital bed usage below max, people will end up storing up bags and bags of used cans.

This gives your team, and any other team that is in an area that pays for can returns, the opportunity to collect those cans. There was one organization in my area that brought in $30K USD in can donations, that’s 300,000 cans. You just need a space to store the hundreds of thousands of cans.

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During the first lockdown with no bottle returns, 5675 ventured out one afternoon and collected over 30,000 returnables with 3 crews in 3 neighborhoods. The challenge was returning them when the limit was $25 per person per day. After several trips we did finish and raised just under $3,200 for the team.

Overall the $ / manhour ratio was very low, but we did raise money when nothing else was going on. We had sent fliers out and used group chats to spread the word. All the returnables were picked up at the curb.

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