How has the recession affected your team?

What has happened to your teams due to the recession? Has anyone lost sponsors (we lost GE)? What have you been doing to cope with it?

Our team leader just got laid off as well as the woman who was in charge of running the FIRST robotics program for Xerox.

I’m sure hundreds of teams are affected to some degree one way or another, besides just positions and funding.
The entrepreneurship award should be a lot “bigger” than it has been in year’s past, to emphasize the importance of sustainability, considering this global:rolleyes: recession.

The Robettes lost a huge grant from an anonomous donor through the school. Although we were dissapointed about this loss there is nothing we can do but apply for more grants and send out more and more sponsor letters!!
good luck to all teams
Alicia Albrecht
Electrical Subteam
The Robettes 2177

Surprisingly enough, we’ve been doing pretty well. We never had a large sponsor or group of sponsors to begin with so we don’t have much to lose. We lost some of the funding from our school because they felt it would be spent better elsewhere but it wasn’t a big deal. Fund Raising’s been a bit difficult because people don’t want to spend as much as they normally would but, the big thing is to remind them they’re not buying something - They’re Supporting your team and getting something in return.

We lost a potential corporate sponsor; they already sponsor another team in our state (I’m not sure on anything more specific than the state, geographically). Last year we did not do a whole lot of fund-raising – we were a bit overwhelmed with the first year experience as it was, and our team was rather small – but we have received a few sponsors this year. The recession definitely lost us some potential aid, but we’re still pushing for an engineer if they can spare one.

I wish luck to all the other teams experiencing hardships, and to all the teams that don’t exist yet.

Well, with the new control system being so expensive, we are having to put a larger crunch than usual. The FTC budget has been cut, but I believe that we just received Cognex’s support so we are alright there. The FRC team is having to make major cutbacks. One of which includes doing stickers this year instead of pins. But I think we will have more fun with stickers.

We have lost support funding wise and mentors are also feeling a crunch as they have more difficulty getting off for events and are expected to work more hours.

our team has had some problems getting the money to run the program this year but we r holding up ok

The state of North Dakota has chosen to not participate in this recession, so we really haven’t noticed. Every tank of fuel on my pickup is $50 cheaper now too. Since we draw people from 40 miles away thats a big deal.

It’s tough going!
We are a rookie team from Kingston ON Canada, the nearest FRC team is 2 hours away. Very few people/ corporations in our community have ever hear of FIRST Robotics. With the “good will” money drying up fast, we are finding it hard to get potential local major-sponsors to commit to any sort of support. We are now changing tactics and focusing on finding a lot of smaller sponsors instead of a few major corporate ones.
Wish us luck and hopefully we’ll see you in Atlanta.


I agree with the canadian team, more smaller donations still works. We are doing more with less. It causes proplem solving instead of buying better parts.
We gain by losing:D

for the past 3 years all our money has come from donations from parents and friends of the girls on the team. this year we somehow managed to get sponsored by Aetna, Comcast, Lockheed Martin, Society of Women Engineers, United Phospohorus, Inc., and a local college. it seems like the recession helped us!!!

Our money isn’t substantially down, though it has dropped some.

I have to admit, seeing people post pictures of 16 wheels and 8 crab drive modules makes me insanely jealous. We have enough to get to our competitions, but we count every penny we spend. We have discussions over whether buying an extra 4 wheels is worth it to outfit our 07 robot, etc.

We’re lucky enough this year to have access to a machine shop. However, they’re tight on budget too and we have to be careful to only ask them to do our most critical stuff.

Last year we bought some supershifters and that was our huge purchase. We still talk about how expensive they were :ahh:

BJT is right…North Dakota has decided to stay out of the recession. We are doing just fine…sure is nice for our state to have over $1 billion surplus!

Almost killed us this year, it might do it next year. Maybe FIRST can lower the price by not requiring teams to buy a new control system next year and drop the price 2k?

That would sure be nice!

Like what happened to us is that people said that they would sponser us,but later on said they can’t.

We lost our biggest sponsor and almost lost our 2nd biggest sponsor, but MARS is going to come out a lot stronger, and hopefully with more little sponsors.

At the end of 2008, FIRST was holding more than $14 million in cash and cash equivalent quick assets. This was an increase of about $4.5 million from 2007. Perhaps they could spend down $5 million in each of the next two years to reduce costs to FRC, FTC and FLL teams. In 2008, FIRST collected more than $14.4 million in program registration fees. If they had spent down their cash by $5 million, they could cut registration fees by a third. That would help everyone, and not wipe out FIRST’s cash reserves. This can’t go on forever, however, since corporate giving to FIRST will inevitably decline at the same time giving drops to the teams.

This won’t even touch the insane amount of money local organizing committees need to raise to fund FRC tournaments. With many of our major tournament sponsors losing money and laying off employees, it seems clear (to me, anyway) that either FIRST needs to start diverting team registration fees to the tournaments, or they are going to lose a lot of FRC events.

I predict big growth in the Vex Robotics Competition and FTC next year as former FRC teams look for cost-effective ways to offer STEM programs for high school students. My Vex program costs us $150 per student, per year, and FTC costs us about $250. When I did FRC, we spent $500 per student – and we were a “budget” team. The “high end” FRC teams spend $1,000 per student and more. The medium-sized robot programs are where the growth is going to be for the next two years at least.

I’m not suggesting that we all stop raising money for our teams and events. Far from it. Even though our club does “little robots” instead of FRC, we still need to raise about $6,000 (we have 45 students) for next year – so we are looking at the same issues as everyone else. Risk management is a normal business practice that includes planning for bad scenarios as well as good ones. Remember, I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together.