Hey everyone! Our team (5347) wasn’t able to compete this year because of a lack of funding from our school. We’re a small team from the Boston area, and are wondering if we can get some help/recommendations for grants and sponsorships so we can compete next year. Any help is appreciated!
Try to reach out as much as possible. See an engineering expo nearby? Ask to participate in it and show off your robot. Usually at those kinds of events there’s bound to be some kids with engineer parents. Get talking with some, tell them about FIRST, give them your/your team’s contact info. You never know who you might meet.
Make connections. Someone on your team have a parent that’s an engineer? Have that parent go to the company about a sponsorship. That is how we got Pepsi, Aetna, and Paysett as sponsors.
Do simple fundraising things throughout the year. I don’t know how technology-oriented your schools is, but try to do something like “$5 to get your name engraved on the robot” or something. Some kid would definitely go for that.
PM me if you have any more questions or want to know more specifically about what my team does
Thank you! The engineering expo thing is a great idea. Do they often let people have booths/demos for free?
Usually, yes. We participate in the World Makerfaire at NYC. That gets a lot of traffic. We also demoed at a local engineering banquet. We contacted them and asked if they would be interested in having us, and they said yes. There were a lot of fancy engineers there, and my coach was able to give his card to a couple people in hopes of getting a sponsor.
When we were an FRC team, we spent 75% of our time fundraising. It was hard and we were stretching every penny. Here are my best ideas. check your local regulations (gambling for non-profits) about using these.
Black Friday 50/50 drawing. We set an upper limit on the number of tickets we would sell and we drew 3 winning tickets with each getting 1/3 of the prize pot. $5 per ticket with a max of 1000 tickets. If the team sold all 1000, the team would get $2500 and the winners would each get $833 and the odds of winning are better than a scratch off. The investment to put this together is minimal (less than $100 to print the tickets). We would draw the tickets the Friday before black Friday so that winners would get the prize money to go black Friday shopping. Planning effort is low. Work to sell tickets is high. Reward for investment is very high.
Golf tournament. Depending on the location, the team may have to put up a deposit or guarantee a minimum number of players. But in soliciting sponsors, you will pick up players too. potential revenues can be anywhere from $3000 to $7000 depending on how you organize it. Planning effort is high. Lead time is high due to course availability. Reward for investment (risk of breaking even with the deposit) can be about even.
LAN party at the school - kids bring in their own game systems. School uses projectors on the walls. Our local HS did it to support one of their booster groups and at a $5 cover charge with additional $2 for game tournament participation (I forget which game they used). I chaperoned the event and I’ve never seen 400 kids crammed into a cafeteria having a good time and the only issue I had to deal with was a spilled drink and one student standing on a table. Everyone was so behaved even with all the game competition and win/loss emotions running high. Concession stand brought in another $500 profit. Risk - school staff on hand. Reward - $1500 - $2000 for one night. Investment - moderate time for planning and promoting.
While the subject is open - look at your business plan. Balance your revenues - grants, sponsorships, fundraising - so that the loss or failure of one of these doesn’t put you on the sidelines.
Keep doing outreach and elevate the presence of the team even if it doesn’t bring in money right then. People will remember you when you come back for sponsorship.
FRC 5938 / FTC 12880
I can probably point you in the direction of our outreach team. It’s not my area of expertise, but we essentially revamped our whole setup this year and managed to pick up 2 Entrepreneurship Awards, so I figure they have a fairly good idea of what they’re doing.
That would be awesome!
One thing I would do is reach out to your local chamber of commerce for a list of local companies. Our team has done that this year and it has really helped us a lot. You should also reach out to local restaurants to do fundraisers. Feel free to PM me if you would like some more information on what my team has been doing the past couple years.
I sent a PM with someone you can reach out to.
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