possible, realistic fundraiser ideas

Hello, I am a member of team 3397 the Robolions, I am making this thread because I need advice for my team. We recently have been looking into ways to fund raise and make money for our team (we want to attend a second regional from 2016 and on into the future). We have thought about doing a movie and charging admission or holding some type of outreach event with an admission fee but again, this is hard for us because we aren’t a large team. We do a concession stand at our local FLL qualifier but it doesn’t raise as much money as we would like:( . Any ideas for fundraising? (that we may actually be able to do:) ).

Byfar the best fundraising tool teams have is the ability to get corporate sponsorships. Contact local companies and ask if you can present for them or do a demonstration and show them what you do. Any money, materials, tools they can offer is much appreciated, and if they feel their money is being put to good use, they may increase their sponsorship over time.

We sell TJ’s pizzas as well as sell bottled water and soda at the local flee market during the summer.

FRC Team 1501 T.H.R.U.S.T. has a Robot Catalog.
It’s hard to just ask for money with no return. The catalog allow sponsors to buy parts for our robot.
Our catalog has everything from $5.00 AM battery plugs to $5000.00 for a regional/CMP.
We even rent out a pair of students for $10.00 an hour.
We also offer computer help.
If you e-mail me, I can send you sample pages.

Wayne- that’s an awesome and very creative idea! Is the catalog posted on your website? We tried something similar with a list like that, but I never thought to make it into a catalog. Very cool!

PS: We played against 1501 here in Pittsburgh last season. Ya’ll had an amazing run into the Regional finals. I hope 2015 was successful for you.

+1 In addition, establishing a relationship with your corporate (or government) sponsors can also provide additional opportunities for outreach, mentor recruitment, and even scholarship or professional opportunities for your team members. Make a “robot demo” a perk of sponsorship. Fulfilling that perk in an enthusiastic yet professional fashion can open additional doors.

I haven’t done this with my team but for my eagle project I did a carwash and, in 5 hours and made $1000. I had to turn away people too because the venue I was at had an event afterwards. I did another one the next weekend and only made half of that because of a different and smaller venue and bad weather, but people kept asking if it was a weekly event because we were doing a better job than the carwash business in town. Doing weekly carwashes would be a great/practical fundraiser for an FRC team. It just takes putting in the effort and a good venue.
P.s. You can get almost all of the supplies donated from local businesses and car part stores. That’s what I did and only had to buy 2 small brushes.

For what it is worth, this has never once worked for us. The “ask if you can present” part is always where it falls flat. Now a company that you already have an “in” with might be a different situation. I hear people suggest this a lot, so I’m sure it must work, but I think there is something hidden in the execution of it that isn’t often mentioned.

As far as specific fundraisers we usual run two fundraisers (in the traditional sense) a year. We sell Otis Spunkmeyer cookies using the “give your students order forms and have them hawk the products” method that many schools and clubs do. The company sends you everything you need for the fundraiser (order forms, flyers, information, etc.) and you just collect money and then distribute the cookies. We raised around $1,300 over 4 weeks. The real benefit of this is that the work is distributed among students and doesn’t require a huge investment by mentors or a small group or organizing students.

We also did a fundraiser through Innisbrook. That one raised more money but required a bit more work on our behalf. Same setup as the Spunkmeyer one however.

This is a great place to start if teams are looking for sustainable, longer lasting partnerships over time.
Often times, when people ask for ideas, they want the immediate next season solution, and fall into the trap of looking for the nickel/dime opportunities.

While simple fundraisers are OK, they burn people out over time. I’d rather focus my time and efforts to ideas that have potential to grow and become something more meaningful for students. Some of ours took 10 years or more to pan out, but in the end, we are sitting much prettier as a result.

We have another form of sponsorship in addition to money and hardware, internships for our alumni.

One thing we did this year and are going to continue to do is held a gaming night at our school. We charged for admission and ran a few tournaments with a entry cost as well as sold food. We ended up making ~800 in one night at a relatively small school and see this easily growing to ~1200 dollars for future events, possibly even doing two of these a year.

I actually really like this idea, do you mostly do it in the offseason?

Good way for people to see exactly what you get with their money in a way.

How well does it work for you, in general?

Demoing and presenting for large contributors is a great way of strengthening your relationship with them. Powerpoints and letters often aren’t enough to get a sponsorship, but throwing a yoga ball around in a business’ office or auditorium works pretty well. Robot demos will give a boost to any outreach event- our bake sale/demo has evolved into a week 0 scrimmage/bake sale, and the benefits have been enormous.

Bake sales and other small fundraisers are an awesome way to get your name out in the community, but you’ll find that selling muffins isn’t going to get you to a second regional. It’s simple math: $5000 regional registration plus $1500 in travel costs divided by $1 per muffin comes out to 6500 muffins. That’s a lot of muffins. If you plan on growing your program on a large scale, your fundraising methods have to be on that scale as well. Talk to parents, see if they work for any companies that are looking for community relations opportunities. Find grants. Find businesses that sponsor other FIRST teams. Find businesses that don’t sponsor FIRST teams but do similar STEM-related sponsorships. Ask if you could arrange a demo, and bring your coolest robot that’s still safe to show off. It’ll pay off, whether that payout be in money, mentorship, or other resources.

You know, I think I might need to give a lesson in subforum usage. I’ll make it short: There are a lot of forums other than General, and many have subforums. For example, there’s the Competition group of forums, including Team Organization, which has this subforum called “Fundraising”.

Start with the first thread, and take notes. (I personally like #12/100.)

We made a decent amount of money selling cans of soda at our offseason FRC and our FLL competitions we host. We asked students to donate 12 or 24 cans of soda, and we sold them to people who came. Also, local businesses will usually be happy to provide discounted food for you to sell.

Realistic Fundraising Idea

This thread inspired me to finally get around to starting another thread which I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

We run a Science Day Camp and we also host the Katy FLL Qualifier. Both of these are pretty good student fundraisers for the team which are used to offset costs for Championships.

It works pretty well.
I’ve heard people getting $300 - $400.
It’s mostly done during build season.
Right now we use it to rasie money for students for events to help with rooms and food.