My team is applying for grants from local corporations and one thing that has us a bit trepidatius is how much to actually request from those corporations.
Most companies don’t ask you for a specific amount but some we have found have legitimate applications in which they request an amount. So far we have requested $5,000 from one company (entry fee) and $3,000 from another (Non-competition costs) and $1,00 from another (?).
What is a good metric to use? I assume we should take into account the size of the company and their willingness to give back to the community, but beyond that we are unsure. Are some amounts too high, or too low, to ask from a company for a second year team?
How do you guys judge how much to ask for?
So this was always a tough thing for me when filling out grant applications. Often they at least give you a range of grant amounts that are available, that at leasts gives you something to work with.
I posed this question to someone who writes grants as a large part of his living, and his advice for me was “swing for the fences”. They’re more likely to like your application and then just give you a little less then you asked for then deny you because you asked too much.
Though if you’re budgeting what you’d use the grant money for and actually run out of things to spend it on, adjusting it down is reasonable.
It’s all kind of wibbly-wobbly, but that’s the advice I’ve been given. Good luck!
The best thing you can do it set realistic targets and let them know what their money is going towards. We’ve found very good reception from local businesses when we’ve approached them for money for a team trailer, or for specific pieces of new equipment the team needed, or for the costs associated with building the robot (sometimes it can help - usually if you make it to a round 2 in the process - if you can show them a nice, clean team budget and a bill of materials from a previous year’s robot. It shows that you’re not only serious about what you’re doing, but that their money won’t be wasted).
I guess what we are trying to do is to request different (but still large) amounts from the companies. Hopefully that will give us an idea of the sweet spot for the future. The plan is that if we get exactly what we ask for, we might increase the asking amount by a thousand or so next year.
So far we haven’t encountered any that have certain grant amounts up for offer, so we have been suggesting out own.
I have absolutely no experience in this area. I propose the following so that more knowledgeable people can agree or disagree:
The struggle you’re having is similar to what many face when interviewing for a job. When pressed with the task of trying to select the “just-right” dollar value, you’re essentially negotiating against yourself. Have you considered trying not to be the first to suggest a specific dollar value?
Consider laying out your expected budget with match, reach, and safety goals. In your request, ask your potential sponsor to become a “major corporate partner” of your team, or a member of your “strategic alliance”. Give them a chance to come up with their own understanding of what that means.
That certainly makes sense in that kind of situation. Unfortunately on many grant applications there is a form with a blank labeled “Amount Requested”.
In this case I think you have to put in some kind of dollar amount. If you are having a less structured interaction with a company then yes, showing them your budget and plans and letting them choose is a solid approach.
I would actually go so far as to say that even then suggesting an amount for them to give can be beneficial. Something as benign as “with a donation of only $1,000 your company can help our team _____”. In a less structured environment, giving the company structure can be helpful.