Finding sponsorship

I thought there might be a thread already discussing this topic - guess not. I’m writing this because, as of now, 573 is in the beginning stages of talking to different businesses about sponsorship for next year.

How did your team approach your sponsors and convince them to sponsor you?

our team finds it usefull to take the robot and show it off a bit at the company instead of just a vid or presentation. We have seen that when we just show a vid or talk about it the people we are presenting it to dont seem very excited, but as soon as we drive the bot in the room everyone sits up and wants to check out the bot and end up more intrested in sponsoring us.

Our local area is home to the aerospace industry (Mojave Desert/Edwards AFB) so we were able to find great sponsorships in the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and this year we also got a sponsorship from Northrop Grumman. We also got lucky because we were mentored by a 5-year team who had long-standing relationship with NASA, so they already knew about the program in the local aspect. The person who founded our team also worked at Lockheed, and she was able to talk to management as well as fellow engineers and that got us very good sponsorships.

Looking into next year, we plan to visit local businesses for more money, as well as drive the robots around to generate some interest. We will be at the local fair this summer, and that will provide a good sales-pitch center.

I have found that just going and presenting is usually not enough to get major amounts of funding. all of the sponsors that have given usa few thousand dollars have been from contacts that my team has known, people from work or church or even naighbors that have had contacts in big buissness have panned out well.
Presenting to a buissness is deffinitely a good thing to do though. Make sure that in the prsentation you tell them exactly why giving money to your team would not only be a good charity thing but also be profitable advertising. Show them how much students learn from the program, and how good it is. And also as was said before, keep talking to a minimum and show off the robot a lot. There are mostly engineers in the room so you want it to be interesting to them.

This isn’t really about how to approach businesses but rather which businesses to approach:

Go to your local Chamber of Commerce and ask for the listing of all businesses in the area. They should be organized by service, so you could quickly find a machine shop to hit up, a hardware store, a bank, and so on.


s.p.a.m goes out and shows our various bots in action to companies-- yes we do have pratt & whittney giving us some of the green stuff but it isn’t enough–we have been losing sponsorship from them–we like to make sure our sister team swampthing gets money from them too-- so we have to go into our local community–we created a sponsorship form–different levels and all-- we don’t expect much from our local community with the econonmy and all and a lot of business are family owned-- we do asked for donation from the doctor offices-- that seems to always work out about a hundred from one of them–and u get alot then u get obviously more of the dough-- i also ask my relatives if they would sponser my team–it’s like one of the best presents u can ask for–helps get us to competition so i’m happy w/ that

if u’r school system can’t give u money like i know ours doesnt’ just do get there support of course-- and a lot of time companies do have things where if their employee gives money they’ll match the money and sometimes even double the match–

good luck to all teams finding sponsorship-- i know it’s really tuff at times

enjoy u’r summer cd community and HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!


On 60, we approach both large and small businesses for sponsorship. We have a manual in the White Papers section of this forum. It goes into great detail about our small and large business plans. We’ve made huge amounts of money using it, and if you do read it and have any questions, feel free to PM me. I’d be more than happy to help.

Well, first what we do is decide if they are close enough to meet in person to discuss sponsorship. If they are, we type up a business letter, bring them a flier about our team, and make sure to wear our team t-shirts ( :wink: ). When we go to talk to them, we make sure to have the team president and one other person go with them. We talk to them about our team and what FIRST is, what we need or would like from them, and if they would like to help us in any way.
We don’t really approach any businesses that aren’t close enough to us, because it’s better to meet with them in person than send them a letter. I believe they like to meet with us in order to get a better idea of who they are dealing with and a more thorough explanation of FIRST and the team if they have questions about it.
Good luck to anyone looking for sponsorship! :slight_smile:
–d0ri :cool:

Before the season begins, students are required to compile a list of local businesses. When the season starts, each student is given the address of a local business (or two).

We are given a packet of information on how to approach the business. We also get a few flyers and promotional materials. Every student is in charge of going to that business and attempting to get sponsorship.

The system almost works… sometimes students never go to the businesses :rolleyes:

Best of luck!

one thing to keep in mind…businesses are reluctant to give money away. that’s the point of a business…to make money. they’ll give money away for three main reasons

1.) in the end it will benefit them (eng. companies that sponsor FIRST teams use this a lot because they are broadening their employment pool and hitting up students at the ground level or extra advertising like with a chain—perfect example…when the BCS first started 1 in 10 americans (made up numbers) could tell you what NOKIA did…however…NOKIA sponsored the Sugar Bowl and got advertisement rights for it. now 9 of 10 can tell you what they do and about 4 of 10 (region dependent) can show you their NOKIA phone)

2.) personal contacts (family owned businesses and the like)

3.) they’re picking up ‘good vibrations’ from the team/person asking for money (on this one, being friendly and not just coming out and asking for money is good. build relationships…that’s what brings in the cheese)

in all…just remember to be friendly, be respectful, be professional, and be gracious

p.s. a sad puppy-dog look helps sometimes too :slight_smile:

suggestions form someone who helps decide where to send the money for Rolls-Royce…

  1. Explain the total program and focus on more than just building a robot. Talk about learning teamwork, learning to solve problems, learning to speak in front of a group, etc. Have a flyer that you can leave with them.

  2. Don’t dwell on travel and the great places you get to go. Many companies have restricted travel funds for their employees and would not get real excited about giving you a bunch of money just to go to Florida.

  3. Find out what the company does and try to make a link to your program. Show them how their business or industry can benefit from being involved. Find a champion within the company and get them excited about the program. Someone on the inside can really help make things happen.

  4. Be prepared and if the company cannot offer money, maybe they can offer some other support. Know what they do and how it could help your team. Maybe they have scrap materials that your team would love to have. Maybe they have a PR person who would be willing to edit your Chairman’s entry. Sometimes, this low level support can grow into something big.

  5. Follow-Up. Send thank-you notes. Send a team picture. Acknowledge their support and make them feel like without them, your team would not be successful.

  6. Stay away from companies that are already sponsoring another local team, unless the local team tells you it is OK in advance. You do not want a reputation of stealing away sponsors.

  7. Be winners. And I am not refering to competition winners. Be positive in your community. Try to get local press. Do car washes and demos at schools and get seen. Companies like to be associated with positive programs.

  8. On the flip side - be sure your team stays out of trouble. The last thing a sponsor wants is to be linked to a team that makes negative headlines.

  9. Ask if there is something the team can do to help them. Do they have a company picnic that you could help serve food? Can you do a demo at some event they are involved in? Make it a win / win.

ok, so lets say you find a sponsor and they’re willing to sponsor your team. What do you give back for their graciousness?
We have different levels of sponsorships, but the things we offer to our sponsors doesn’t look appealing.
for example, right now, we define Gold Sponsorship as $1000 or more. And we only give our sponsors a plaque and put their name and logo on our website.
we use to add the sponsor’s logo on the back of our tshirts, but due to costs, we cant do it this year. any suggestions would be appreciated. ty

How about a banner that you bring to competition with all the sponsors? At the end of the season you could give them a frame with one side being a picture of the banner and the other being a letter thanking them and explaining where the banner went, how many people saw it, etc. This gives them some concrete visualization of where their money is going and that you appreciate every penny.