Our rookie team (team 3145, the TeraViks) was awarded the Rookie All Star award at the Portland regional. This came with the invitation to go to Atlanta, but I’m wondering how other rookie teams raise that kind of crazy money in a few weeks? Should we just not go? Almost everything is due upfront, and we’ve had a sponsor purchase airline tickets for us already - now we feel compelled to go!
Thanks for help.
You guys are lucky. My team has been around for 13 years and have won the FLR the past three years in a row and we have yet to have enough money to make it to Atlanta. Being a senior I’m kind of disappointed having not been able to go. My advice, if there is any chance you can make the money, do it!
I often refer to the Seattle Regional as “the end of the robotics season… unless we do something silly and win.”
As much as a challenge as it would be, though, to have to come up with that kind of cash on short notice, it is still a goal we aim for every year.
First of all, if you’ve got a sponsor supporting your airfare, you’re probably already ahead of a lot of teams. That is really great.
A lot of the fundraising, though, seems to come if you can get the school and community interested in supporting your success, and letting them know what you need. You need to find a way to get the local media to latch on to your story. We had an FTC team at a neighbouring school a few years ago that was so successful with their fundraising to go to Atlanta that they built up enough momentum to keep the support going well into the following VEX competition season. You might be able to leverage this into new supporters and new sponsorship on a continuing basis for your team.
It is also possible that parents on your team will want to kick in to help with travel costs. We normally charge students a nominal fee to attend a regional (but never leave a kid who can’t pay behind), and have, on occasion, had parents step forward with very generous donations, knowing that their support would help not just their son or daughter, but the whole team.
But media coverage is key. Contact everyone… from your city council, to chamber of commerce to… well… everyone. Make some noise about your win… and your opportunity.
And you might find some new supporters almost as awesome as your sponsor who’s chipping in for the flights!
Our rookie year we did a carwash that raised over $1,000… the key is advertising! Tell EVERYONE you know, call the newspapers, news stations, radio stations etc. Play up the story!! “Local Robotics Team WINS their way to Championships and needs YOUR help to send students there!” Tug at heartstrings a little!
We also charged our students and mentors some travel cost (mentors were optional, but I think everyone kicked in $50).
PTA’s and Student Council’s and sometimes even Board of Educations can have some extra funds kicking around that if you show how much you need the money, they often can help out. Every little bit adds up fast! 10 fundraisers/sponsors at $500 gives you all that you need!
You are VERY fortunate that you sponsor paid for the plane tickets, travel is usually more expensive for most teams than the registration.
Here is the thing, there is a lot of truth to the statement “Where there is a will there is a way”. If you really WANT to go, you WILL find a way to raise the $$.
We also pre-sell the carwash tickets, so we have the money even if the buyer does not show up.
To use a phrase , you “beg, borrow and steal” (not literally) to get what you need. This year, we unexpectedly won NJ, students must pay around $400 if they want to come to Atlanta, so that’s another way.
Every year that we’ve gone to the Championship we’ve had the students pay their own way. The cost of this fluctuates year to year depending on Airfare, but I know this year I think each kid is paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $700, which includes Airfare, Hotel Room, and Team Dinner one night. Some “Adults” like myself, (I’m only an Adult by age.), are paying a bit more than that because we have different travel arrangement etc.
Some years, we’ll have a fundraiser in the few weeks before the Championship where any money a Student makes goes towards their Atlanta payments, I know in 2008 or 2009 a friend of mine managed to sell enough cheesecakes to pay for his entire trip…
I know this solution may not work for all teams in all areas due to the cost, but it’s the way we’ve always done it. Instead of fund raising up to $20k to pay for the entire team to go, you may only have to raise $6k-$7k to pay for entry fees and shipping.
Last year we made it to nationals at the last week of competitions (before championships). We managed to get money from different sources, and team 33 was very generous in offering us about 8 seats On their bus down to Atlanta (we only had 5 students and one mentor).
My suggestion for you: the major concern is probably the time in which you must pay… Perhaps ask the school to pay upfront the money and give them a fundraising calendar detailing about how much money you will make per fundraising event and when you plan to pay off the debt. That covers the event fee. Perhaps rooming and food is left to students then, or any extra money the team has can be used toward that as well…
We’re good friends with the team across the bridge, 1296. They had originally intended to let 4 of our students and 2 mentors go with them to Atlanta, in order to learn and be apart of it (Very generous on their part). Now that we’ve made it, we had those 4 paid for weeks ago so no matter what we’re going with 4. Probably more, as we do come from a wealthier school, and parents are a bit more willing to pay. But yes, it is very daunting to raise that much so quickly.