New Team

So here is the thing, after some thinking and reasons I will not say, I have decided to leave my current team, and start one up. I know that it’s early to be saying this sense Worlds hasn’t even come. Heck, week 6 hasn’t even started. But if there is one thing I have learned from being apart of FIRST it is that you have to start early if you want things done right.

Due to this I have a request to ask of the kind people of Chief Delphi and the teams that you belong to. (Yes, I am buttering you up. :stuck_out_tongue: ) I have never done much with fundraising on the team I am leaving. The mentors did it all, and the students gave one or two presentations. Better yet, all we did was build and design the robot. So here is a list of things that I will be need to learn about. (Please feel free to add)

What is the best way to approach a possible sponsor?
What do they want to hear, what will help them make the choice to sponsor us?
Would dressing up in a suit, or a team shirt be better for giving a presentation?
Does having a robot there with you help?
How many people would be good to have with you?
(I am pretty sure there are white papers on some of this stuff. I will be doing a search right after this)

What is the best way to find a location?
Does it need to be central to everyone on the team, or should we get the location and then recruit around it?

Team Communication(outside of meetings):
What is the best way to communicate with team members and mentors outside of the meetings?

What are some good places to go?
Does having a robot there help with this as well?
Again I ask; suit, or team shirt?
Again the question of, how many people?

Please feel free to add to anything on this list.

Starts searching

Starting a team is a rather massive undertaking, as you’ve just outlined. I’ll say it’s impossible for a student to do alone, but I’m sure that’s not true. If you’ve thought this through for awhile and you think this is your best option over working with your current team, joining a different nearby team, or starting a VRC team, good for you. If you’re not positive, I’d love to discuss any issues you’re having via PM or AIM if you need any advice.

another year another post about leaving the current team and starting another one.

3129 uses an email list (a Yahoo group) for communication outside of meetings, which has worked very well for us.

Sounds like you frown on the idea of starting more FIRST teams?

A yahoo group… Hmm… I’ll have to check that out. :smiley:

I would recommend going to the nearest high-school and spread the news there. Find some more students and some teachers that would be interested in starting a team as well. It will make starting a team easier for you, and it will be an easy to build up a team.

Team Communication:
-Email is probably the most efficient way of communication. A Facebook group wouldn’t help either, but that would depend on how many students you recruit have Facebooks and/or how many check them often.

-As I stated before, a high-school would be the best place to raise awareness.
-A robot would be very helpful. It gives students a taste of what they will be doing if they join a FIRST team. I positive that it will get students, maybe even teachers, excited.
-Team shirt. It will show that you have experience with a team before, and you know how the entire program operates. It may make the adults feel more comfortable because you have experience with a team, you know how a FIRST team is supposed to function, etc.
-I would say about 30-45 students. You want a lot of students so work can be done faster and more students will be interested in FIRST, but you don’t want that many because it will be difficult to maintain all of the students and expensive to bring all of the kids to a competition.

PM me if you have any other questions or concerns. I will be glad to answer them, or attempt to.

No never, just this happens every season. Something happens, one member or members dont like it so they try to make a new team. Nothing bad about it, but it’s a huge task.

Okay, two people have stated that this will be a very hard task. (Make that three.) So I feel I have left one thing out. I do have my father who will be helping me out, along with two college students who are on 2395.

A huge task it will be. But if you have gone through whats I have seen this season, I’m pretty sure you yourself would have either joined another team, of quit completely. No offense.

none taken, I dont know the whole story. But sometimes these topics come up because of petty stuff. But in no way im saying yours is for petty reasons. But if possible try talking to the head team mentor or mentors. To get things sorted out.

Our team meets in our coaches basement, but you can always go around to vacant buildings that have recently gone out of business and approach the owner about using the space. If your old team is from your school, look at other schools, or go for other school groups like homeschoolers as FIRST is a great outlet. While recruiting, make sure you ask team members how involved they will be so you can see how many full time students you have. Will be bad come week 4 and find only 5 kids can show up or have too many kids depending on the size of your space. 20 kids is ideal, especially if you take the off-season to do training and such.

Our team uses a WIKI domain that allows us to send out mass emails as well as put information online like robot criteria, sub team status, tutorials, stuff like that.

Good luck!

To bad I don’t have a basement… I like the idea of vacant buildings, but I’m worried that if they find someone to rent it to, they would kick us out in the middle of build season.

I would rather have 5 kids that work hard, than 20 that do nothing. :smiley:

A WIKI huh? Could you explain more as to what that is by any chance?

This should help you out.

I see what you mean, but those 5 students get burned out fast. So 20 might be big for a first year team, but 15 is more reasonable, and that is a mix of committed and part time students. Biggest thing is letting them know, you don’t work, don’t show up.

I would look around at sites, normally it will take time for spaces to be re-rented out. I believe that team 330 shares an old grocery store with someone else. But finding a vacant space shouldn’t be extremely hard depending on whether or not you are in suburbs, small city, or extreme rural. This is all if you can’t get space in a school.

It’s owned by the church that runs our school. We share the building with the youth ministry and the warehouse with other groups that need it while we aren’t building.

Never underestimate the endurance a a well dedicated student. (Or overly addicticed… Not sure… :yikes:) I have been one of the hardest workers on the team all year. I’m just about to start a CAD on an idea I had… :smiley: But yes, I do see your point.

Sharing a building with a church… I love the idea. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of churches around that have a location we could use. Hmm. Never hurts to ask. Worst they can say is “No”.

Haha, endurance before or after they pass out? :stuck_out_tongue: I’m kidding I know how it feels, and yet there were students far more dedicated then me and I still don’t know how they did it. And yes, “the worst they can do is say ‘no’” is a great attitude! :smiley:

Guess I should explain our layout a little more…

The church itself is a separate building. The church owns the grocery store, and uses it for the youth ministry. 330 builds in the store’s warehouse space, which is shared with other ministries that need it. As such, we lock our robots in a large freezer when we aren’t working.

Can’t hurt to ask, but you want to pick who you ask wisely.

Typically it’s after. :stuck_out_tongue: Kidding. But yes, there is always someone more capable, or in this case dedicated. Sometimes you just have to search.

I had the feeling. And I do know that there are many vacant buildings and warehouses in the Oklahoma City area.

You have a good point when you say to pick who we ask wisely… Best thing I can think of is only ask those would you would follow through on.

I get the feeling that I’ll probably be writing a lot of paper work over this…

I would suggest approaching a sponsor through mail, or a PR representative. Our main sponsor is Motorola, and we created a presentation, and one of the team parents just passed it onto a PR rep.

They want to hear that they’re making a difference. They want to hear that their money is going towards good use for the team and that the company will get good exposure. Last year, I talked to a Motorola Rep. and he was just so ecstatic to hear how we did things, and how we about robotics. Don’t give them BS, if they’re truly interested, you’ll pull them in right away.

Team T-shirts are helpful, but look nice. Don’t come in with torn up jeans and a dirty shirt. If you have a capturing presentation, then a robot might not be necessary, but it always helps your case if you can show your sponsors that you’ve done something.

And we generally bring roughly 5-6 students to presentations. Any larger than that, and you get people who are disruptive and bored.

I would say base yourself out of a nice school. Generally the students live around it, and people often show up. I’ve found that major sponsors are often content with donating some shop space for teams to work out of. It really depends on your goals and what you want.

Plus, you can get funding from the school/county.

Email List/Forums. You want to be conservative with the emails on the email list, because if you send out too many, people tend to gauge all of their importance the same and then some truly important emails get overlooked. That’s why a forum is used for general discussion.

I answered this question in that base yourself out of a nice school. Recruiting is as easy as hanging banners and whatnot. If you choose not to base yourself out of a school, then recruiting can involve posters in various places like schools, libraries, etc. My team is based in a school, so we’ve never done recruiting like this.

You want to show fun. You want your recruitment showcase to spew with fun. So wear team t-shirts, once again, take 5-6 students, and have a fun robot. I find that having a shooting robot, like this year’s robot or even last year’s robot, really helps attract attention.

I don’t have to tell you how hard it is, so many people have already done it. Just don’t get overwhelmed. I found out that running/managing something can be a lot more involved than simply “doing” something.

It’s long, but it helps.

You asked how to approach a company for funds, what would they like to hear?

My recommendation is to pick two or three companies in the area - one large (nationally known), and one or two smaller ones. Ask if you can speak to their PR department or corporate giving department, and make it clear that you are NOT asking them for money. Instead, ask them those questions about approaching other companies.

It’s not a sneaky way to get funding; it’s an excellent way to get professional advice on a topic you need to learn about. Most company people will be happy to share their expertise.

One of our early sponsors had to drop out for financial reasons; we invited their corporate giving officer to meet with five students, to get advice on approaching other companies. We made it clear we weren’t looking for funding, but advice. They were tickled pink to help, their advice was VERY valuable to us, and that company has remained peripherally involved with us four more years.

It takes some ‘guts’ to ask, but do it anyway.