Ford Sponsorship required data excessive

OK, I apologize for the way that my response was worded. I can see that it was not taken in the way I intended it to be taken, and it was poorly written.

Let me do my due diligence, to ensure that I am answering fully and correctly. I know that we ask for student data. The original post claimed that we were asking for invasive amounts of data. I will validate exactly what data we collect, and then I will respond more fully.

Again, in general, Ford’s goal is to promote STEM and to connect and stay connected to students for the future. The decision on what data is/was gathered was made sometime ago, but my first step will be to make sure I have all the details before I respond further.

Thank you all for reminding me that posting publicly is a dangerous prospect. I will be much more careful in the future.


I’ve now done more due diligence. Honestly, I thought the original post was an exaggeration. It was not. I will bring this topic up and see about reevaluating what data we request.

Please note, I’m a volunteer within Ford.

Perhaps we can start a positive thread about how corporate sponsors can both support teams and tie that sponsorship back to value to the company in the form or potential future employees, etc. What’s the best way to accomplish this while having it connected back to the philanthropic investment. Perhaps with some positive ideas, you can help me help Ford find improved ways to accomplish both of our goals.


Disclaimer: We are not, nor ever been sponsored by Ford. We would love to have them as a sponsor though. :slight_smile:

Providing this information over the internet for under 13 year old is problematic. Which is why First does not do it directly. (For under 13s the parents register). My school has strict rules about providing personally identifiable information about students. I am not sure if I could provide the requested information in this context. I would love for Ford to provide opportunities for my students.

I would love Ford to provide me with a GT-40 Preferably baby blue. Used (late 60s) would be fine.

PS Thanks for providing sponsorship to First.

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Thank you for doing some digging. And I look forward to seeing what changes.

“Bringing value back to the company” is a loaded phrase - do you mean monetary value? In that case simply think of sponsorships as targeted advertisements.

I don’t think you were concerned about that meaning though, more likely I believe you are trying to use FIRST as a recruitment tool. The thing is though, the point of this program is to be a partnership between industry and academia. Kids working alongside engineers. Teams need engineers, they need space, they need tools. They need to work hand in hand with professionals so they can see TSIMFD. Writing a check may work as an advertisement. But if you want to get the best and brightest from these teams you’re going to need to be in the trenches with them finding who you want. When they are applying for scholarships or schools your engineers should be there helping them, writing the letters of recommendation for them, pointing out “hey my employer has a scholarship you can apply for”. When they are looking for internships they should seek out your volunteers and ask and your volunteer should be empowered to recommend them for it.

Yeah, maybe you can write a check and seeing your logo on a bot gets some people to apply… but if you want to really choose who you recruit having someone who is a trusted mentor and helped shape the kids into exactly what you want? That’s a LOT more impactful for both parties.

I’m not saying all Ford does is write a check, I’ve seen Ford mentors over the years, they are great. But a statement a JCP person said to me back in 2011 has stuck with me over the years, “how does a check for $5000 really help, you need more than money”


This is a tough culture to establish at any company, but it also boils down to the team’s specific culture. The onus is on the whole organization to emphasize these kinds of deep relationships with mentors and sponsors. Some teams forget this as well, so do sponsors, and definitely FIRST does too.

Thank you for the feedback. One of our requirements for sponsorship is that a Ford employee be an active mentor. And we actively try to match teams with mentors. Your suggestion is not an easy one to implement but I will take it in the spirit you meant it. Sincerely appreciate the insight.

I know, it was aspirational. I admit I can’t get my employer to meet those lofty goals (at least they cover my time at events).

I REALLY wish FIRST published some sort of “How to Sponsor Good” guide but I sometimes think they really think the issue for teams is always cash. I’ve referenced the GuamFIRST rookie “application” a few times as a very rough outline of what teams should have, maybe it could help push to provide things more useful than cash.

Do retired Ford employees count?

To address the data collection, target senior student and graduates from the previous year. The younger students typically don’t have enough of an idea of what they want to do after high-school. (At least not on our team.) So collecting their information won’t necessarily help you in your goal to acquire future employees.

Ask that teams provide a list of emails for their interested seniors and recent alum with a clear and concise description of what their emails will be used for. What should the emails be used for? Sending an invitation to opt in to a FIRST alumni communication program of some kind. From there you can collect information on a more personal basis with the carrot being that they are kept up to date on potential positions at the company. (Co-op positions while in school and entry level positions once graduated.) Or whatever other incentives you deem appropriate.

Folks are often quite happy to provide some of their information if they are a benefactor. And when it comes to collecting personal information, leaving it in the hands of the individual is important. Of course, part of this comes down to building a culture on those teams where putting in for this is held in a similar regard to putting in for things like grants and scholarships. Otherwise it’s just junk mail and you probably won’t get the results you are looking for.

Also, when collecting personal information. It’s often better to collect only what you actually need. Entities like to collect waaaaay more data than is reasonable and that’s a huge turn off for most.

If you’re just looking for numbers for your philanthropic stats, keeping it high level is enough to “wow” the people that matter without being creepy. (Number of teams, Students, Mentors, Competitions, etc…) Without getting too political, if profiling people is required to justify outreach efforts you might have to take a good hard look internally at the people making those decisions because it’s likely their heart’s not in the right place.

There’s a lot of different ways to go about changing this system for the better. This is just quick off the top of my head suggestions and so they won’t be totally correct.



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Thank you! Is wonderful to see this has been recognized and effort will be taken to adjust accordingly. This is wonderful (and unusual) to see from such a large company with very little to lose if it was just ignored. It’s good to know there is a willingness to reevaluate.

sarcasm and… welcome to Chief Delphi. Things can get a little crazy around here. *

It’s good to come back in a clarify when things are taken a way you didn’t intend.

This is one of the best things Ford does. I can say we got our Ford engineer through the programs they provide. We didn’t know him. He didn’t know us. (He doesn’t even have any kids of his own.) But he is one of the best things that has happened to our team. Every other mentor on our team WAS or IS a parent of a student. They are knowledgeable and skillful in their fields, but none are mechanical engineers. His involvement has been wonderful. All because Ford. For that alone we are grateful.


Stay away from plywood and you’re good. (Until next #summercd


We do not have a Ford employee as a mentor but would love to find one if possible!

I understand why Ford wants contact information from students interested in STEAM activities and careers. We have a couple grants from organizations that look into our corporate structure, 501c3 status etc. They have detailed requirements for advertising, EOY reports etc so I do not think you are asking for crazy amounts of data. But fair warning there are some school districts that have strict rules about the dissemination of detailed student data, including ours. Perhaps ask them for parent/student contact data on a simple form that includes the parents signature. That is just as easy as getting other docs from parents (code of conduct, travel permissions, medical waivers , etc). I don’t see it as an onerous amount of work. We’d love to do it for a $5K sponsorship!

Thank you for your response. To be fully transparent, most teams return year after year, and our budget rarely increases, but we do take applications where teams request a mentor, and Ford does our best to recruit and match mentors with teams. Granted, most of our mentors will come from locations where Ford has a presence, Metro Detroit being the largest population. However, we do have some employees who mentor in locations like California, Chicago, Kentucky, etc.

Of course, we can’t be sure which employees will newly volunteer, nor what geographic areas the volunteers are willing to support.

Update: The FORD FIRST Board has decided to change our student data gathering requirements. We will be asking for the bare minimum that allows us to invite students to apply for our scholarship programs and to stay in touch for internship opportunities in the future. Thank you to this forum for helping us to shape our interactions with students and ensure that we are purposeful in our approach and communications.


Care to expand on what exactly that is? Color me cynical but that sounds like marketing spin speak for “we’re going to keep doing exactly what we’re doing but got caught with our pants down so need to pretend we’re making things better”.

Name, email address, team affliation


Yay, I’m happy my cynicism was unfounded.


BTW, I’m just an IT guy at Ford, so I don’t know how to do marketing spin speak. :slight_smile:


Any idea when the ford sponsorship will be announced?