Need Fundraising Ideas for Build Season & Competition Luxuries

I was a student on a team in 2006 and am going on my 4th year of coaching a team. I’m having a real problem with engineering team not trying to raise money for the team. I came up with this system to encourage everyone to find local businesses to partner with. I am working on an incentive program to motivate my students to raise money. I was hoping for some incentive ideas. What build season and competitions luxuries would you love to earn. Below I have listed the list our team has come up with. This is a living document and can keep changing through the season and years. Student do not keep any money. It is credit to their luxuries level.

  • Ways to earn money

  • if a contact leads to a patnership

  • keep 100% if no marketing team was necessary to close the sale

  • keep 50% of money for finder’s fee

  • the other 50% goes to the marketing team who closed the sale

  • Fundraising

  • selling merch

  • working concession stands


  • 100$

  • Pick the music for a build night

  • 1 free hour nap durring build season

  • 1 build season meal from coach

  • $250

  • Dessert at all competition dinners

  • 1 free team merch

  • earn the right for off campus campus meals durring build season

  • $500

  • End of year paintball fee paid

  • $750

  • 8 Hours of build season time forgivness

  • $1,000 First 5 people choose Hotel roommates

  • $2,500 FRC logo Merch at Comp

  • First 3 Choose Competition restaurant

  • $5,000 First 3 get their own hotel room

  • $10,000

  • Human Player Priority

  • Birthday Kisses from Robot

  • Naming Rights of the robot

Certainly one way to skin a cat. And if those rewards work for team unity, why not?

Past teams I’ve been on applied some of sponsorship that came in as a credit towards travel costs.

Covering travel costs was how this discussion started. We were going go make the students responsible for $500 each to travel. They could pay that or earn it down with fundraising and getting partnerships. The problem is we are a title 1 school and I felt that would break the team.

This was a fun alternative to that idea.

I’ve seen a team set aside 50% of all funds raised by a student into an individual “travel fund” account for that student. If someone is dedicated enough to fundraising, they can travel for free the whole year. If that student elects not to travel though, the don’t get the money back. It just goes into the team’s general fund.

The main thing that stands out to me here is that I would not make drive team positions at all contingent on fundraising. I know it’s the human player, but in most games this position really matters, and boxing out some candidates while creating entitlement in others is probably not the best idea.


I think driver selection should have some root in team participation, but preventing someone from being considered for a position simply because they did not raise enough money doesn’t sit very well with me.

I love all of the other incentives, especially the nap, all food incentives, and the 8 hours of forgiveness. Easy to implement things that students can shoot for that provide a general benefit to the team sound like a win-win.

I totally agree that this raising of funds should not guarantee someone a spot on the drive team. However, I am trying to instill the idea that all groups are essential to the success of our team.

My argument is as follows; When we look at staffing our drive team we look at the most dedicated and mature members of the team. If someone can raise $10,000 to the team that shows the dedication to the team and the maturity to meet goals. Our build season budget is $10,000. $4,000 for the robot and $6,000 for failed prototypes and spare parts, broken tools, ect…

We can’t have a drive team without a robot. We can’t have a robot without $10,000. Therefore, if you raise $10,000 you have directly contributed to the existence of the drive team and should be given a high priority to be apart of what you created, just like anyone who spent 100%+ in the shop or created systems for the robot.

I am looking for more of these fun Extra ideas. I was on team 135 and loved every second of it. I want to make those same luxuries from my year earned things for my students. I’m thinking about putting a coffee pot in the shop and setting a goal to be able to use it. or setting a goal for allowing soda or things like that.

Drive the robot for a day would be awesome.

Yes, I know the drive team needs their practice, but it can’t hurt too much… provided the entire team doesn’t earn it :).

We did something similar as the reward for a challenge (mentors vs. students, mentors built a field, students built a practice bot). Practice bot was done before the field, but just barely.

I love that idea! We could pull that off for sure.

I’m not sure how to phrase this, but I don’t feel like most of your students would respect these “rewards”. You probably know them better than I do though.

Still a more future focused approach may be to meet with parents and other mentors and have a frank conversation about leveraging their connections or businesses.

I think you phrased it perfectly. I know these are a little gimmicky and cheesy, but our team took an hour of class to hash these out together. We even had to open the floor up to debate on the “Human Player Priority” and the “Naming Rights” We had students from both sides bring arguments to the floor. They even called for a vote on the “Naming Rights” which was very close 13 to 14.

I have students treating this like a mini-economy. Keeping track of their totals and trying to get to the higher levels first.

I will say, that “very frank” discussion needs to happen between my team, their parents, and our mentors about “leveraging” our connections in our community. I have a parent and mentor meeting scheduled for the end of October or beginning of November for build season expectations and to open the lab up for STIMS registration. I will DEFINITELY add this to the conversion.

Well it sounds like you are having really healthy discussions about it, and that you are on the right track. Glad to hear most everyone is on board with the process!

Yeah, we’ll see how long people stay on board with it. I’m expecting about 75% will completely buy in.

One issue we are running into is that we do little presentations on FIRST and team history and all that, but I don’t think all of them are really absorbing the information (build oriented kids know about build, but don’t remember info about outreach and such). So how do you ensure that team members have enough knowledge about the team to effectively talk with sponsors about it?

from the other side of the parish: We’ve pretty much accepted that not every team member is going to be able to effectively talk with sponsors and outreach targets. We do provide a bit uf support to those who are close, and ensure that at least one such student (and usually two or three) is with each group doing outreach/sponsor interaction. We don’t formally track this, but do it on a case-by-case basis. I’d estimate that most years we have about 1/3 who can speak fairly eloquently (or at least passionately and not poorly), 1/2 who are too reserved normally but who can be prodded into productive statements, and 1/6 who are too shy/tongue-tied to be effective in this. (Though occasionally one of them surprises us!)

Edit: we do make a point several times a year that these activities are not just “a good thing to do”, but are necessary to keep the team going and certainly to filling the mission of FIRST. The more we talk about this, and the more we positively encourage those who do talk (even if critically), the more students we fond move up the “sponsor/outreach” ladder.

OBTW, and not just for this: Always praise in public! It not only builds up those who have done well, it encourages those who haven’t done much so far.