My team and I are trying to expand our number of sponsors, which is only 2, and looking for ideas on who would be willing to give us any money/materials/machining capabilities (We are limited to companies that promote Catholic Values since we go to a private school). Right now, we believe we can contact a company of major energy drinks. Any more ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

There are plenty of secular grants you can apply for. I know we applied for a grant from NASA this year, and plan on writing for a grant from a power company this offseason.

I would approach your school about lightening yup on this restriction if it means your program can succeed. You aren’t running Model UN or a men’s quartet. You are trying to grow a costly, but very rewarding program that has obvious positive effects on people within and outside of your organization.

Besides, if the company is willing to support a private, religious school, they indirectly support those values… right?

haha well the trouble is that they have to go through our diocese before they can get it approved. and besides, the diocese doesnt really approved of the program in the first place so they dont like us to begin with

Don’t forget about in-kind donations, they can be just as valuable as cash. I’ve seen Chipotle donate 40 burritos to a team, that fed them on a Saturday build session, and is close $300 to buy them straight up. Don’t avoid anyone because they don’t make robots. One thing that stuck with me from my first trip to Nationals in 2001 was a team that had a giant list of donors on the back of the shirt, there must have been 25-30 companies listed. Off course, the one that stuck the most was Linda’s Lingerie Shop. Absolutely nothing to do with robotics, but the store supported the community and helped with a little cash to send the team to Disney.

You can find help in many places you wouldn’t expect it, you just have to ask.


As a mentor for a Catholic team I might be able to help. You can try to find support from your local parish. Get your team’s name out in a newsletter. We found a sponsor through a fundraising commitee for Servite High School. You got ask around and network. You never know, the person you are sitting behind in Church could own a machine shop. Which also happen for to another mentor on my team.

I think my team has shown our work to representatives of our Diocese. We do have their support and the support of our local Priory. In fact, every year we are honored to have our robot blessed at the conclusion of the build season.

I think you might find you have many more friends than you think. All you have to do is show some kindness and invite them to witness your teams endeavors. Also have patience, all our sponsorships are audited too. This is a standard practice to ensure sponsors are appropriate for a high school team.

If you have any questions, go ahead and ask me. I can send you our business plan which details our presentations to sponsors. It also shows how we budget our team and how we would use our sponsors resources to better the team.

Why doesn’t the diocese approve of the program? Have you spoken with them? Showed them the positive impact that an FRC team has on people? Does your team do any community outreach programs? Have you offered to hold a demonstration for the diocese? How about arranging a tour of your facilities?

Any of these things could sway their minds. My team is also from a Catholic high school and the Archdiocese has absolutely no reservations about our team, or any of the other 3 or 4 teams in the Archdiocese.

I think limiting yourself in that fashion is going to limit your sponsors.

Our former local Catholic high school team was sponsored by an Israeli company for 15+ years.

Also, I’m curious how an energy drink company can purport to promote Catholic values.

I second the idea of getting the diocese more familiar with your team, and what you are doing. The idea of gracious professionalism has a lot in common with Christian values, and the attitude of FIRST is something that few other sports come close to promoting.

But, keep in mind that a team doesn’t have to have a school backing it. For a lot of teams this can help, because it gives them better recruiting, sponsorship, facilities, etc. but if your school is hindering these things, you can certainly (if the whole team is ok with the idea) move off campus.

Our team consists primarily of home school kids (and a few scattered rural public schools), we get support from Lake Michigan College (they support a number of teams in the area) in the form of facilities, machines, some money, and huge help in networking with area businesses.

Your school is supposed to be a supporter for your team, but if your school is holding your team back, there’s nothing wrong with politely finding a different support network.

Ask your students if any of their parents work for Honeywell. I am a mentor for 1730 and Honeywell will give the team $500 after I put in 50 hours of time each year. If there is none, contact your local Honeywell business and see if they are willing to provide mentors or possibly be a sponsor. They are very happy to get students involved with math and science. Our company supports over 25 teams with around 35 to 40 mentors. Some of them mentor several teams. We also have several that volunteer time at the Kansas City regional. Good luck, God will guide you well.

The company doesnt necessarily need to promote Catholic values, they just can’t be openly against them.

So…companies like Apple, Google, Starbucks, Microsoft, IBM, Boeing, and such?

I’m not sure about NASA. They provide benefits to same-sex partners which could be seen as openly opposing “Catholic values.”

I would definitely take up Mark’s offer. 3309 recently won the entrepreneurship award at LA this year. It looks like they are on solid footing as that award has been dominated by 687 for the past ~4 years.

(full disclosure… proud alumni… even though I mentor another team!)

While many teams, mine included, have a handful of larger sponsors the previously mentioned laundry list of smaller sponsors is not to be disregarded.

Local restaurants will often do spirit nights where X percentage of sales go to your organization.

Don’t fixate on monetary donations, goods and/or services can be more useful for building community presence. Anything from the local grocery or wholesale club helping feed your team during the build season to a company that can donate machine time or resources you don’t normally have.

For machining at least, it is good to get sponsors based on your current machining capabilities. For example, do you have a mill, lathe, or drill press? If so, maybe you should get a 2D sponsor. If you don’t have any of these, than maybe it is time to look for a sheet metal shop, machine shop, or a company willing to donate a drill press, mill, and/or lathe, and then design your robot around those sponsors’ capability.