As a member of robotics team 1279 I am looking for advice on finding new sponsors for the next robotics season. Currently our team is heading into the year 2011 without a sponsor. To those who have sponsors, we would like to hear how you found your sponsors. The team wants to know the best way to find a sponsor. Do you just send letters to as many companies as possible and hope for the best? Or do you recommend giving someone from the company a call and going in to present what FIRST is all about?
Would teams please post comments or advice that will help us in our search. That would be very helpful. Thank you for your support and good luck in this years competition!
You aren’t alone. We had trouble even getting just enough money to register for the FIRST competition. But we got a marketing specialist to come in one day and help us. He came up with a lot of ideas for us.
For us, we did send out letters and we also made calls to possible sponsers and in a couple of cases, we went to the company in person and explained what FIRST is. There are many ways to get sponsors. One effective way is to talk to your mentors and ask if they can get their company to sponsor you. Another way is to invite news reporters to one of your meetings; this gets your name out into the community. We did and sponsors came to us.
Mostly, just try to get your team known to the community and then people will be more likely to recognize that you are an actual organization, not just a bunch of students with powertools gone wild. Give your team a “story.” Nike’s story is “There is an athlete inside of everyone.” I think that it worked. To come up with a story, you should identify what your team is doing. What you are doing to help the community and your plans for the future. It worked for us, and we are only a second year team.
Basically just try to put yourself out into the community. Good luck.
It’s all about connections and who you know. All of our sponsors happened because there was a link from our team to their company some how. I suggest you draw up a letter and send it out to potential sponsors with a background on the team and what you do how successful you are. Just explain everything to them and hope for the best. There are a number of different fundraisers you can do. You can also go to the “Mom and Pop” type places around your school asking for small contributions. If you need more help please let me know.
If you can get some interested in going to a competition over the next six weeks, that would really help to convince them.
Also remember that building relationships with business take time, so after you land that sponsor for next year, keep working to add more so you don’t end up in this situation again.
Finally, find yourself a Boeing mentor, then have that mentor apply for the Boeing grant next year. Boeing has been VERY generous with sponsoring teams over the last couple of years, but you have to find a Boeing mentor.
How hard are you willing to work for it? If you are looking for a one shot big bucks deal, its all about targeting and finding someone within the company to be your spokesperson.
If you are willing to work for every dollar, but want a better profit margin than the 20% you get off of candy bars, or even the 50% you get off of hexbugs… try the 100% we get from our Patron Drive. Students go out and ask local businesses and family businesses for donations. We get anywhere from $25 to $1,000 per sponsor, and bring in over $9,000 per year (outside of Harris’s sponsorship). You can find our documentation on it here.
I’m a firm believer in “where there is a will there is a way” so if you are willing to work for it, go the patron drive route!
There are also tons of grants out there that you can write in for… everything from $500 to $5,000. Harder to rely on, but I know the Naples(1551) took 3 years to raise the funds to start up as a rookie… perseverance can be key!