FIRST Competition Entry Fee Increases for 2005

FIRST’s most recent Email Blast reveals they have decided to increase the base team entrance fee to $6000 and the Championship fee to $5000. Additional regional fees remain the same at $4000. They have also taken several steps to help cushion the financial blow these increases will have on everyone (see the link above for details). They haven’t raised rates since 2000, so I think it’s justified for them to ask for more money, especially if it leads to an improvement in the quality of the overall FIRST experience. Hopefully, they will use the money to address many of the issues and problems expressed by FIRST’ers on these forums.

Our mentor checked his email and emitted a most amusing yelp!

But we’re all feeling the pressure, considering we only eked by this year :ahh:

We’re going to need $11,000 :ahh: :ahh: :ahh:

im not a mentor, but i did the same… our team lost our NASA grant this year, since next year is our 4th year… If we dont find $6000 pretty soon, we may not even be able to compete in our innagural home regional next year… It’s really though to find willing sponsors here in Las Vegas… good luck to all teams fronting the new price for competition!

Time to get out and fundraise some more. Our team had some problems this year with making costs due to late funding, hopefully we will be able to secure enought money. I was planning on spending a bit more money this year to go to a second regional and hopefully the Championships, hopefully $2000 wont be too big of an impact. :ahh:

Honestly, this increase is way overdue. Especially with how last year’s financials worked out.

But fear not. $2000 extra is only 2 $1000 donations, 4 $500, 8 $250, 20 $100, 40 $50, or 80 $20 donations. With 13 weeks from now until September, you have 6.5 weeks to get both $1000 donations, 3.25 weeks for the $500 ones, and 1.625 weeks for the $250 donations.

If you can build an entire robot in 6 weeks from start to finish, a $1000 donation should be no sweat. So, hop to it! :smiley:

PS. $2000 = 40,000 returned cans. I suggest hitting up some companies. :slight_smile:

Hmm… maybe a road trip to NH to get their unused returnables is in order…
I think I may already be taking a side trip up to NH during Battlecry, maybe I’ll rent a U-Haul and rummage everybody’s recycle bins up there.:stuck_out_tongue:

There is no $0.05 deposit in NH, so getting these unused cans and bottles from residents will be rather simple… :cool:

  1. it’s illegal
  2. MI has 10 cents.

i am not saying that i like the increase in cost but after reading their e-mail i think that it will help in the long run. I would also like to commend FIRST for telling this information so far in advance that it gives teams more of and oppertunity to rase the additional funds if needed. The question i do have is how much the cost of the wrap dinner and hotels will go down because of this. FIRST sounded like they were straining with 90 a person maybe they will drop it to 85…i doubt we will see a sugnifigant decrees but on the same note $5 over a team with 50 people can go a long way…

What’s illegal?? Was that in reference to my post about going “canning”?

Yes it is illegal to move cans from one state to another to gain a profit from the return of the recycle rate. Also our team does bottle and can drives a few times a year and make a large profit from it. i would suggest you to contact distributers around your area and skip the middle man (the grocery store) for returning the bottles and cans and you will make a larger profit.

May be easy for some teams, but this strikes me as quite and problem for ours. Some teams have the resources that 2000 isn’t much, but teams like us have a difficult time raising 6000+ just to cover both our entry fee, and the costs to build the robot. Now we’ll have to end up looking for a lot more money that really isn’t that available. I’m very interested in why they actually increased the fee. Do they every have a cost breakdown of the entry fee?

–I realize they tried to explain it in the e-mail, but do they ever have a dollar for dollar cost breakdown?

Look here for the breakdown of last year’s annual report. FIRST isn’t Amazon…it can’t run at a loss forever. Especially since it’s a non-profit: donations are easier to pull off for a NP with good financials, since it shows that the organization is responsible and is using the money well.

As for fundraising troubles, PM me and I’d be happy to give you a hand :slight_smile:

If you thought I was meaning that bitter or harsh to you…don’t. I just used your post because I thought the just 2 thousand dollar donations was funny.

If you look hard enough, you will find the money. For months my team moaned that there was no money to be had, that everyone had nothing to give, etc, etc.

Fact of the matter is, when our team actually tried to raise money, we did. In a period of 3 weeks to 1 month, we raised over 13,000 dollars.

There is money out there. Sure, it isn’t as much as say 4-5 years ago before the recession of our economy, but it is there. It’s all a matter of how hard you look.

I do not care where you live. I do not care how many people you have on your team, if the parents are rich, or poor. None of that matters. If you try, and I mean actually try, not make halfhearted attempts to raise money, I guarentee you can find the extra money needed.

To get back on topic, I think this is a good thing. The value of everything we get in the KOP, plus a regional event is worth far more than $5,000. Paying another $1000 isn’t fun, but as Jessica said, FIRST cannot always run on a loss. Even though it may not seem like it, the extra $1000 fee is benefitting everyone in the end.

$0.02 Cory

Though I am no longer on a FIRST team and help as many as I can as a mentor, I do feel for the teams that do struggle with funding.

First off A team that has 2 second place wins and 2 first place wins consecutively has a very hard time in finding sponsorship. the said team also has a hard time finding sponsorship even though they are widely known in that specific area.

Second off for the teams that can find sponsorship yet do fair next to poorly at a competition is unfair. ( not to knock the teams that do in fact try but get hit with a bad luck )

This all comes down to how much a company is willing to put in. Not how much a team can raise. Yes economy stinks right about now and there really isn’t anything we can do. FIRST maybe a non-profit organization but they too need some sort of funding to pay rent and other items. Question is, is it right to get that extra cash from the teams or try looking for more sponosors to get in on this. Getting sponsorship for a team is difficult, If sponsors found out they had to put more into a successful / not so successful team they could in fact turn the team down and dropping the amount of teams participating.

I’m all for an increase but 2000$ is alot esp when its hard to just find 500$. If first upped the price an additional $500 bux it would be much more reasonable to find and pay. $2000 / $1000 is a bit much! An average team goes through about $20000 a year.

15 grand goes to registration, 1 regional and a championship (if ure not part of any of their new Tier divisions or other special invites) $5000+ goes to travel / hotel and meal accomodations. all together equals a hefty bill. not to mention the equipment and supplies they need for the robot.

Gas is up to almost 2.50 $ in NY and will probably shoot on up further. Taxi Fares have shot on up to nearly the same rate ($2.50 base fare). MTA (NYCTA, TBTA, SIRTOA, MaBSTOA, LIRR, MNR, etc…) Fares have increased in each of its smaller divisions. One city to have many difficulties in finding sponsorship is NYC. Many companies would sponsor but these companies are hard to reach.

CeBit Convention happened over the past 5 days. Big Name companies were there NEC IOMEGA etc… NYC FIRST! had a mock layout with 5 - 6 teams participating playing the 2004 game. Over 10000 people were there at most maybe 300 people stopped and had a quick glance and at most half of those came over asked the teams questions on various topics. Im sure these teams asked for a sponsorship opp. Another question would be will the companies that stopped by and watched the matches and asked questions what are the chances of them sponsoring one of the 6 that were there???

FIRST could have raised the price in different ways why was initial registration one of those ways?

Anyone who thinks i’m looking at this the wrong way plz show me the happy ending cuz its not that clear to me =o(

Pro for Price Raising CON for the Timing in which FIRST did this.

Registration $6000
Nationals $5000
Regionals $4000
Off Season Event Registration and Traveling at least $1400
Robot Building Materials and Extra Accessories + Tools At Least $1500 +
Traveling to said Regional / National at least $3000 estimated each more or less!

Add it up and its almost $20000 if not over.

I am afraid this is one of those cases where there is no perfect solution.

FIRST cost a lot of money to run, we all understand that. Robots takes a lot of money to build, we all surely must feel that pain by now. In order to host a 3 day competition for 36-70 teams each weekend, you need a lot of money. In order to bring 20-50 kids to a robotics competition for 3 days, you need a lot of money.

Many people have commented their concern of how expensive FIRST is for many years now. Some of them might not have done FIRST at all, some of them has done FIRST but moved on and form their own organization or teams, some decide to remain in FIRST and support its cause. It is not a new problem. There is no right or wrong in this. It is a phenomenon we have to deal with if we want something in return: the education and inspiration of our future.

Is it worth all the trouble? The sleepless nights? The endless headache? Is it worth the energy to find enough resources to keep this going? That’s probably the same questions many before our time have asked when they found a noble cause they are willing to chase after. In the modern time when its harder and harder to feel a sense of purpose, we are lucky to have a community to care about, and ideas to uphold. Is this worth it, you might ask to yourself… For me, I can’t tell for sure, but I feel it’s a right direction for me. Certainly it feel more right than any other directions I’ve seen.

What we shouldn’t do is ask why this is happening to me. What we should do is ask how we can fix this problem, because giving up is not acceptable for those of us who care enough. In my experience, when everyone contribute a little more than they are expected, you can get amazing results from a group of individuals. Maybe that’s something we should do.

If we can think out of the box and get just a little more money for the teams, it will help. If we can come up with a way to build a cheaper goal for the field, it will help. If we can volunteer just a little more time to help FIRST run competitions, it will help.

After all, all we can do is a little more than 100%, and hope for the best, right? :wink:

FIRST is still a bargain.

I agree that this will be a major concern to many teams. Of all the functions on a team, fund raising is the hardest and the one that is perceived as the least glamorous.

But it is no less important than any other function.
From my perspective (former parent only and now a mentor), The FIRST experience is about being self-sufficient. A robot team is a company and a company needs to make (raise) enough money to be a success. That is a fact of life for a company.

FIRST is a life lesson on steroids.

As an employee of that company (team) you have roles. The success of each of the roles contributes to the success of the company. If one role isn’t successful, then the company fails at achieving their goals. Each of the roles is as important as the next. Design can fail, manufacturing can fail and fundraising can fail. All roles need to be successful for the company (team) to succeed. It’s all about making everything work together.

I apologize if this sounds like a rant. It’s not. I have seen this both work and fail. It is such a wonderful thing when it works and a heart breaker when it doesn’t.

I feel bad for the teams that try their best to raise enough money and cannot raise what they need. This will make it harder for them.

But, I really feel bad for the teams that have the deep pockets and don’t need to have their members raise money. It’s all part of the experience and they miss out on that part.

I’m still agast at hearing about teams’ confidence in raising $20k. This past year we sent proposals to over 150 companies in our area with only 2 sponsorships in return for a total of $200. Idealy we would have students / parents doing follow-ups with many of these companies, but I have yet to have any parent volunteer to do this. Even our PTA, err Boosters organization, is just a handful of parents that try to get $$ for our athletics teams and our Band. They did what they could to get us $250. All of the parents on our team work (no stay at home moms/dads to help us) during the week and they do what they can for us on the weekend (bringing food, running to hardware store, make sure students wear their safety glasses, etc…). Luckily our saving grace has been the continued support of our local Rotary ($1k) and the addition of our only large corporate sponser, Goodrich, which contributed $2k. Other than that our district has bailed us out by chipping in $5k. The rest of the $$ came from selling pizzas afterschool and the students holding a LAN party. So we absolutely struggled to raise $10k (for 2 comps + materials), and left students to pay any expenses and sometimes materials. Will we be able to raise $1k - $2k more next year - I don’t know? But we will try? Yep… As the sole adult on the team that organizes the fundraising - I’m just starting to worry about getting burned out. I guess I just lack that entrepeneurship attitude - maybe I should have watched more of Trump’s reality show. The extra $1k - $2k will be hard on us, but we we’ll try.

Charge $5 dollars for 2 minutes of driving the robot. You’ll all set!

In 2002 and 2003, there were 4 teams in the Las Vegas area. But this year, 2004, two of the teams folded because of the lack of money. This next year, our team which survived, hopes to restart these teams, but now, im not too sure we will be able to. In addition we would like to start other new teams in the Las Vegas area. I’m not sure we will be successful, becuase we are going to have a hard time finding enough money for ourselves to compete. I’m not completely against this price increase, but for a team like ours to continue competing, this increase will definetly have us scrambling to find money. Last Saturday we raised almost $900 at a Yard Sale for our team. That made me feel like we were going to be in a good position for next year. Not anymore… Is there a thread or forum for fundrasing ideas on CD?