Largest in-kind donation

All too often, we focus on raising money for our teams - after all, we need to pay for registration, travel, and robot parts, to name some of the biggest costs for teams. But I’m wondering what some of the biggest, non-monetary (ie in-kind) donations teams have gotten. To start us off, my team’s top 3 in-kind donations are:

  • A brand new trailer (bought for us by a single donor, maybe 10 years ago)
  • A Makerbot 2X 3D printer (bought for us by a single, different, donor back in the fall of 2013)
  • And just this week, a significant donation of equipment from Milwaukee Tool

Some smaller donations also come from in-kind donations - for example, we get a good % off at Fastenal for most of our purchases there, and we’ve received some useful parts from suppliers for beta testing/evaluation purposes.

And there are the donations that we don’t even think about - like the continuing use of the build space at the school, which is probably larger than all the others put together.

What have you gotten from sponsors/donors other than cash?

Our main sponsor is a machine shop that gives us space, access to CNC machines, time on the machines, and metal.

Our biggest (5686) in-kind donation this year was a thousand dollars of different plastics. We’ve also received a Makerbot Replicator 2 in the past that gets used occasionally.

We get our build space for free which has included a few upgrades over the years.

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The ones I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Our build space is very generously donated by a local community college

  • Fabrication services for high quality metal parts from a local RV repair company

  • A bunch of 2x1 aluminum extrusion

We have an annual $3,000 in-kind donation of materials from a sponsor.
We’ve got an X-carve purchased for us from a sponsor last year.
Our practice facility is generously donated to us by a sponsor renovating an old elementary school into their corporate headquarters.

Edit: We get all our hardware needs donated by a midwest hardware supplier.

Those are the large ones off the top of my head. We have other smaller ones every year as well.

For 3946 during the time I was with them:

  • #1 has to be the build space and similar from the school
  • The trailer was purchased and outfitted with a grant from Ingersoll Rand Foundation.
  • Lewis Trailer (local company) sold us the trailer at cost and donated some accessories like lights and tie downs.
  • Our NASA engineering mentors machined several parts for us in the early years, before they shut down the Stennis machine shop. Also, field drawings, rule books, and such printed.
  • Home Depot has given us carpet, field element lumber, and other stuff including a lot of $25 gift certificates (it helps that one of the NTMs is an HD manager).
  • Occasional free printing of flyers from our local Office Depot.
  • Metal “scraps” from Bayou Metals, most over 3’ long.
  • A few “gift cards” from local hardware stores.
  • We’ve had food and water donations by various local businesses and franchises.
  • Totes! A bit smaller than the KoP ones, but just as rugged, donated when moving to the current location by a local warehouse.
  • Bunches of tools and parts and food and snacks other stuff from parents and mentors who don’t turn in all their receipts.

I’m sure there’s more!

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4 pallets of miscellaneous air cylinders, mostly in sizes way too big to be frequently useful in FRC. It had to be well over $15,000 in written off inventory.

  • At my old team, we had a machine shop and a waterjet shop that manufactured parts for us (for the first six or so years, until we got a CNC router), and on a handful of occasions hired some of our students for either part-time or summer jobs.
  • We were also sponsored by a printing company that made our sponsor banners, team buttons, and stickers either for free or a huge discount.
  • If I remember correctly, one of our sponsors donated 5 or 6 CAD laptops the year after I graduated. I think maybe they were “lent” to us each year for the next handful of years, and we had to return them each summer?
  • And way back when I was a student, we were sponsored by Panera and they would give us MASSIVE bags of day-old bread and pastries twice a month. More bread than our team of ~30 students could eat, which was really saying something!

I don’t think know of any ongoing in-kind gifts my current team receives, besides use of the school workspaces and the SolidWorks licenses every team gets. The school is pretty generous with its space though - in addition to the main classroom which they’ve let us remodel pretty extensively (think shifting walls around and having more power circuits installed), we also get to use the wood shop, set up the dance room for testing/drive practice during meetings, and leave our half-field set up in the auditorium for the last week or so of build season. There could be in-kind gifts I just don’t know about though, I’m not as involved in the business side as I used to be.

The old auto shop at the school, and near-exclusive use of a district truck (with a liftgate) for local transport, from the school.
And from one of our other sponsors, a Bridgeport, an inspection table, and a lathe. Build quality went up almost immediately.

Team 4253 in Taiwan had a parent buy the team a brand new Waterjet IIRC. Not sure if you would call that an in-kind donation. :slight_smile:

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