Money, Money, Money

A few questions

1. How much money does your team usually spend on a robot??
this includes tools you break or need new ones of, replacement parts, metal, practice robots, field, bolts, rivets, etc. etc.
NOT including shipping, competition entry fees, flying to comps

2. How much money does your team get from sponsors??

3. How much money do your team members donate to your team??

4. How many different services do you get from sponsors??

EDIT: Just FYI I am asking this question out of curiosity and to know if we are a relative highh cost team

EDIT2:If this is out of what you’re comfortable to talk about, sorry. Keep in mind you don’t have to reply just because you read this

I don’t wanna seem like a killjoy…but I don’t believe this is an appropriated thread for CD.

Why is that?

Agreed, our team has some guidelines(-/+) about what team members can talk about outside of the meetings, and how much money the team brings in is really a black-coded area.

If you take a look and do some searching you can find a few older threads where some teams have shared the info they were comfortable with sharing.

Not sure what you want/need this for, but that may get you what you’re looking for without rehashing a sensitive topic.

well sorry for going outside the boundaries, I just wanted to know if we spent a lot relative to other teams

Without going into specifics, I can say that the answer to all four questions for all the teams I’ve been on is ‘highly variable’. It changes from year to year with very little predictability.

Beyond that I couldn’t give any numbers, either because I don’t feel comfortable doing so or I just plain don’t know. Suffice to say that finances are always at the forefront of a teams worries even when the team seems ‘established’ and well off.

-Andy A.

I don’t think this is an inappropriate question. But I don’t think you’re going to get many valid answers. Most team members have only a vague idea of how much comes in, from where, and how much goes out, for what. Heck, most team members would be hard-pressed to name all their sponsors, unless it’s a team with just one or two.

Those who do have the real numbers may likely decide that information is private. What would be the reaction if you found out that ZYX Corp gave another team $2000 when they told you the best they could do was $500? What does it matter that Team Gotbux says they spent $3499 on their fancy-box, and Team Needbux used all kit parts except for $69.47 spent at their local hardware store?

The answer you’ll get from me is, I don’t know, and I don’t really want to know. The NEMs are there for a reason.

One thing to keep in mind with questions like these and with our responses is that money is very important to the success of the team. Each penny counts for those with less. For those with more, maybe not so much but each has a boundary, a budget.

There are some teams that can and will feel comfortable sharing their information. There are many who won’t.

We have teams that span the history of FIRST, teams in their middle years, teams that are rookies - all with different resources and budgets.

One way to address this would be to give percentages of the budget in the areas that can be discussed.

Let’s not be quite so hasty to judge - indeed, there are some past threads that have discussed this or different aspects of this.

I’m searching for some threads. I’ll add them as I find them and if I think they can provide helpful info. They won’t necessarily be specific to this thread but will discuss money/budgets - and they have some good info.

These are 3 that touch on areas you are asking about. If you do searches for : sponsor donations or sponsor support, things like that - it will lead you to threads. Also, in the threads you will see references to white papers as resources.

In the FIRST website, there is a section on corporate sponsors and their impact/how they can get involved.

One of your questions has asked about different services our teams are provided from our sponsors. I thought this information was great for showing some clear examples of how the building of partnerships between the teams and their sponsors can develop.

I disagree with that, and don’t see the harm in sharing some generalized financials for estimating purposes, or for comparison.
That said…

  1. Depends, but usually about half of the allowed 3 grand or $1500 on the robot accounted for in the BOM go into the robot as parts. As far as tools, we use the machine shop at the HS we build at (which we have gotten a lot of (used, and some new) machines* donated to by sponsors, or contacts through industry through our 10 years, most donations at very minimal, or zero cost to us or our school)
    *Millers, Lathes, Bandsaws, Plasma cutter, CAD Stations… etc.)

  2. Up to and including 5 grand from any given sponsor. We are very proud of the fact that we are a multi-sponsor team, and also fundraise (both students & adult members at times) to pay for our operating costs.
    Being a 501©3 non-profit organization attracts bigger sponsors, and gives them a tax break for sponsorship.
    Look up 501©3 here on CD for more info about that.

  3. All team members fundraise throughout the year, and are given personal goals to be determined by the costs of things throughout the season to cover their travel and competition costs.
    Whatever any member has not been able to fundraise or raise in other ways they are responsible for if they want to travel with us.

  4. We have sponsors give us money of course, and then also donations for Pasta & Pancake fundraisers we have throughout the year. We also have some sponsors help us by fabricating custom parts. (Cutting out metal parts on CNC, etc…) As well as the machinery donations from both sponsors, and community contacts.

I’m actually quite surprised you haven’t asked what a team’s yearly budget was.

I’m not sure what it is nowadays, but I know when I first joined the team it was somewhere in the range of above 25 grand (which isn’t too hard to imagine if your team competes in 2 regionals (6 grand + 5 grand), The Championship Event (6 grand), and build a robot as well (3 grand limit) plus all the travel expenses associated with at least 25 students participating my first year.

I know teams who get by on a lot less, and I know teams who have probably 100 grand per year to play around with.
I would say this year, we are midrange of those numbers.
(No single member gets paid on our team for their time involved since it’s completely volunteer based, so we can’t even add that cost in which would make it go up even more in some cases.)
Probably somewhere in the 30k-40k range.

Teams can exist at any level of funding, & it’s what you do with that funding that makes the difference.

Great topic of discussion!

  1. We spend somewhere around $2000 on the robot.

  2. We get a lot of our money from sponsors. Thank you sponsors!

  3. Arizona has a neat tax credit program that lets anyone donate a few hundred dollars to a school each year, and it is credited to their state tax bill, so it really doesn’t cost the person anything. This is how we get much of our money. Thank you Arizona taxpayers!

  4. We mostly don’t receive services from sponsors.

In my opinion your statement is completely 100% false.

Considering the FIRST yearbooks of old used to publish what the income of each team was, this seems like a pretty realistic question.

As for our answer, I do not have specifics, so I don’t want to give you false information, I will try to find out.

As just mentioned, this is a perfectly reasonable question for Chief Delphi. By asking a question on Chief Delphi, you are not forcing teams to answer it. During more than one Chairman’s interview, I have been asked about how sponsors contribute to a team, and I’ve seen more than one technical award given for creative and innovative ways to solve problems with low-budget parts. These are valid concerns in the world of FIRST. Teams that are intrigued have every right to ask, and teams that are willing to share have every right to share.
As for my team(s), I’m not quite sure about 1712, but we try to produce very low-cost robots. 116 has a larger budget, but I will allow current members to share it if they wish.

I do not think that your questions are out of line at all. We were a rookie team last year asking the same questions. Many teams share this info on their web pages. That’s a good place to start your search. FIRST also has some good info for your reading pleaure.

Question 1:
About $1500 for last year and this year.

Question 2: Being new last year, we were bear bones. We had support from one major business sponsor (Thanks GE) and NASA. If it wasn’t for the school district, the high school and some parents, we never would have made it to nationals. They bailed us out when we needed financial support. This year we took a different approach. We developed a budget and included all the things we wanted to do. This included 2 regionals and nationals. It’s easy to find out that these costs are $15,000 without travel expenses. After including travel, tooling, clothing, food and misc. costs, we came up with the challenge of wanting to raise $25,000.

We now have three major (platinum)sponsors that help out the most ($5,000+) and 4 Gold sponsors that help out between $1,000 and $5,000. We also have about 4 silver sponsors that have donated below $1,000.

Question 3: They help subsidize costs for team clothing. And for the first time, we will charge $50 per person for anyone attending a regional outside of our area.

Question 4: It varies. Most like to donate money and they ask for updates. Others have donated material, facility use, discounts, and most importantly ENGINEERING MENTORS.

I have to say that it is a good question for CD. Athough I do not have specifics for your questions, our team tends to raise about $75,000 per season. This is to ensure that each of our team members get to go to all of the regionals, also this assures us paying for our mentors to go. We are a team of 23 students and about 10 mentors and it costs us a lot of money to go to 2 regional and nationals.

I can’t speak for this year, but last years numbers should be good for 1369:

  1. $2000-2500

2-3) We normally go to two competitions (three last year) and normally because of our $$ situation the students have to pay about $100-150. It is difficult to say unfortunately because several of our sponsors have been parents themselves so there is a fine line on who is a teammate and who is a sponsor. Anywhere from $8000 to maximum one year was over $20,000

  1. Tons, this is really where #1 fluctuates…we normally nickeled and dime that figured down depending on who was giving what that year. We have had: waterjet cutting, CNC/manual machining, laser cutting…depends on the year

Unfortunately for the low budget team that doesn’t not have great finances every year is a brand new situation (kinda adds to the challenge). For some reason though the better we perform on the field the more money that pops up, and fast. I wish the two weren’t linked, but that seems to be the case.

Personally I would think teams would like to be transparent about their accounting especially if they are some sort of registered organization at the state or federal level.

Thank you for this thread.

I am a mentor and inherited the running / setup of the team. I’ve been running finances for them and trying to bridge the gaps are hard. We’ll have some goals based upon the information I see here.

Our team budget this year was 11k for everything- food, robot, transportation, 1 regional, NO nationals, the KOP, and all PR material. I’m down to my last 400$ right now… and I still need to pay for another set of bearings :wink:

edit: err, I’m amending my post to include a few other factoids: Metal prices are up 30%; we’ve had to reuse last years scrap pieces and cut them. We gutted a robot from a number of years ago for parts- all included in the BOM- to get us where we are now while we search out cheaper suppliers. This year the Parents have stepped in to help defer the costs of food, saving the team about 500$ worth of expenses.

I provide this information in hops that it helps a new team, and also in hope that, if there’s an easier/better way of doing something I’ll be told about it.

Sean’s on the money about 1712’s robot expenses. We do our best to find the simplest, low cost solution we can. Last year our machine was a row one hanger only and we could park one robot - total BOM cost above the KOP was $1,695.71. We spent in the neighborhood of $700 more on prototypes and spares, bringing our 2007 robot cost total to around $2,200. If you factor in what we spent on tools and field components in 07, add another $700-$800, briniging the total FRC 1712 2007 expenses for “robot creation and game play” to $3,000 at the most.

It’ll be awhile before I can fully figure out what we spent in 08, but it is significantly more. Mainly because we decided to hurdle a 40-inch ball (it takes a few iterations to get a roller claw this size “right”) and because our fundraising and sponsorship numbers are far better than last year. Our 08 BOM will be done in a few days, so I will share that then, but our additional prototyping/spares costs are likely double of what they were last year and our tools/field component total is more like $1,200 this year. So, including field component and tools, My early 2008 estimate is about $4,800-$5,000.

As for the other questions:

  1. We have one sponsor that provides some limited machine shop work
  2. In 2008 our “sponsors” donated anywhere from safety glasses, to club t-shirts, to a few hundred dollars, with one sponsor at $1000 and two sponsors somewhat higher than that.
  3. Team members typically pitch in for thier own food during build and events and pay about 50% of their travel expenses.

While money is certainly a factor, the more I do this the more I understand that people and time are far bigger constraints than anything. If my team budget were to take a huge hit for any reason and the school district were to say to me “you need to make it work with the kit” then that’s what we’d do.