Sponsorship 101

Sponsorship Tips

*This is a collection of Ideas and experiences posted by Members of Chiefdelphi over the years on the topic of sponsorship. Most of the useless extraneous material has been removed and actual suggestion and explanations on different sponsorship strategies have been extracted from their original threads. all text in **Bold **are individual sponsorship tips and done for convenience and easy scanning. if there is any confusion on context or require more information click on the name of the post and you will be lead to the original thread. This research has been done to share the knowledge of Chiefdelphi to other FIRSTers not on Chiefdelphi, with that in mind Click on **Print *](http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/printthread.php?t=68051)to print this thread or go to the go to the Thread tools on the right and proceed to “Show Printable Version” Print and share with your team. If you have tips that are in Chiefdelphi please quote them here or if you have your own suggestions write them below.

[quote=Gui Cavalcanti;90970]*3 **Yeah, that team was us. Verizon was very, very nice to us and we love them dearly for the support they’ve been giving us since we were rookies. The grant they gave us lasted 3 years (company policy). One of our major selling points was that we’re a multijurisdictional school system (we’re a magnet school for the surrounding 5,6,7 counties or so).

Many of our sponsors come with personal contacts from the team, which usually work better than letters and fliers. Ask your team members where their parents work, and if their company would like to be a robotics sponsor. Maybe your team mentor has some connections, or your parents work for a big machine shop nearby.

**I’d tell any companies I approached the scope of the competition (20,000 kids, 650 teams, Brazil UK Canada US, 47 states, etc.) **and remind them of the kind of corporations we work with, like Matt said. Also, inform them of everything you do. Going to 10 or 15 demoes in the off-season and taking their banners with you whereever you go definitely looks good - it’s nice, personal advertising. Most teams have huge banners from their major sponsors (you couldn’t see the upper railings at the VCU Siegel Center there were so many), and tell them that if they provide you with one you’ll be happy to take it to your pits, all your demoes, wear it is a cape, etc…[/quote]

[quote=mtaman02;90980]*4 **our main corporate sponsor was Credit Suisse First Boston Bank. our other little sponsors were Richmond County Savings Bank, Staten Island Savings Bank, Harborside Managment Corp., Con Edison and Keyspan Energy.

I agree with 422 in most teams alot of the team members are employed with big name companies. And usualy those big name companies are looking to get their name out to the world. When we go up to the companies we tell them basically what they would be sponsoring, For instance:

e.g. My name is Mike I am the Team Captain of a High School Robotics Team in which particpates in a yearly Robotics Competition known as FIRST. are something to the affect. then I would give a run down of what FIRST is and then explain the money situation / our goal and why we chose to particiapate in this highly educational sporting event.

It had been awhile since I last talked to the president of a company so what I would say is a bit rusty. But in basic terms that what I typed above is what I used. Alot of comapnies become interested in the ROBOT part. not so much as the FIRST part. they want to know how it works / controlled and then the involvement of the students / parents / teachers. These companies don’t want there money to be wasted. So to better explain the ropes to them show them a brief video of a competition that you went to and explain it as the tape roles on.
your role after getting their sponsorship is to present their name anyway you can whereever you go. Big Bold letters if you have to. Invite them to attend a team competition also. Manily invite them to the nationals since it is a BIG WORLD WIDE event. And most of all the big name Sponsors representatives are there.[/quote]

[quote=DaveyPotter144;92774]*5 **Hey guys!

I just wanted to thank you for some great advice. I am the new PR (public relations) leader for my team and I’ve already started getting involved.

I’d like to add though the press is a great source to get your team known and out there. I just wrote 3 of our local news’ a few days ago. Last year one of the stations said they would love to do a periodic check up during the season.

Just wanted to give a little input for you all as it can always be helpful if you present your team that shows your on the TV every once in a while. Especially if you mention your sponsors while your on it!

[quote=UCGL_Guy;95706]*7 **Ok the community we operate out of is only 25,000 but have several smaller businesses here and have success funding with these. Try to target some of the smaller companies where you live. Sometimes you’ll find better community support from those, it may only be 100 at a time but it can add up. Make sure your team is out there visibly trying to raise money and be able to show potential sponsors your efforts. In other words be willing to work for at least a good share of what you get. This time of year leaf raking jobs are out there and if you do it as a team and get some PR about it, it gets you out in front of the community. See about in-kind donations, services or goods instead of money, we get a lot of this and it is incredibly helpful building the bot. Go to the local news papers and get them on your side, the education editor can help tremendously.
the paper gives you credibility and exposure, can help to loosen the purse strings.
#1 thing to do is to make sure you thank your sponsors Big and small. We are getting ready to host our appreciation dinner in Nov. and view this as our key sponsor getter.

gotta go to work hang in there and work hard the money is out there somewhere.[/quote]

[quote=JohnBoucher;289522]8* Hi,
It’s early here, so this might not be much of an answer.
I believe that you have a huge advantage being a all-girls team. Play it up. Use it. There is no harm in that.
I would approach your Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club, and make pitches to them. Given you proximity to LA, those organizations should be very busy, and someone there might be able to help or have a suggestion as to whom to talk to.
A quick Google brings up the Morovia Corp. Their US headquarters are in your city. Make a direct appeal to them. Local company helps all girl CA team.

Good Luck

[quote=RoboMom;289549]*9 **This is the hard part of FIRST.
Some suggestions: **contact “the Society of Women Engineers” **(I think it is www.swe.org, but check) You have a huge selling point in being an all girls team.
Start asking all your parents and mentors for a contact among their friends and co-workers. Be prepared to write a professional letter stating exactly what you want. Be prepared to give a presentation on why they should sponsor you. Mention all the scholarships thru FIRST.
I have more advice but lets see what other suggestions you get.
Hang in there.[/quote]

[quote=Arefin Bari;289572]*10 **Since you were not able to find other threads about sponsorship… i am gonna say the same thing in this post that i said in the others…

The city you live in… find all the businesses (like office-depot, home-depot, best buy, circuit city and others)… dont call them… but send them a letter… do a robot demo with a blow away presentation to them… tell them what is FIRST about… if you need help… there are a lot of cd users who would be willing to help you… you can ask me… ask Amanda Morrison… she will be able to help you out… she has more experience… Dori is always willing to help everyone out… also Kristen Kelso who is at UNH, has great advice… she helped me out a bunch of times… we would hate to lose a team… Good luck… [/quote]

[quote=petek;289709]12 The businesses that your team parents work for may be good prospects for sponsorship, but take it one step further: look at the companies they do business with, too*. Science and technology related businesses are natural targets, but don’t limit yourself.

The team parents need to help get you the contacts. Once you’ve got someone to talk to, you need to explain what FIRST is about and what the students on your team are learning from participation. Prepare a budget for the team for the year to show where the money will go.

As RoboMom mentioned, professional organizations are easy to approach for sponsorship, but think outside the engineering box. Team 103 has established a very good relationship with the Society for Biomolecular Screening, whose membership is mainly biologists and biochemists (who use laboratory automation every day).[/quote]

[quote=Kid Cummings;289727]*13 **Again, another non-robotic area are Politicians. I was told that they also have funds that they can give out.
They might not have a lot (or they could) to give but every little bit will help.

If you plan to send out any letters requesting sponsorship remember; 1. Give them a deadline. 2. Followup with a phone call if you don’t hear from them. 3. Let them know they can also contribute certain items that could help your team (i.e. tools and materials) 4. If you go after sponsors that are in the area of food they can help by feeding your team.

Even if you are out somewhere and you spot a potential sponsor ask them. Cold contact isn’t always the best but it can never hurt. Just make sure you can answer any question they might come up with.

Hope this helps.[/quote]

[quote=Rich Kressly;289732]*14 **Don’t forget about small/medium sized donations as well. They really add up. I think playing to the all girls theme is a great idea too. Send all team members/parents out with a flyer. Team 103 does a great job with this form/flyer:

Good Luck[/quote]

[quote=Steve S.;510876]*17 **i wish i could help, but actually, our sponsor came to our school with the money and spoke with our administrator…yeah, i know, not much help.

You could try putting together a presentation of sorts and go to a local plant/office…[/quote]

[quote=coreyk;510888]*19 **Hello,

Sponsorship is sometimes extremely difficult to obtain. Regardless of whether the team is a rookie or more established, lacking personal “connections” with a corporation might result in receiving limited funding. However, Cybersonics Technology 103 has developed steps in establishing a yearly budget that strays from digging too far in member’s pockets.

  1. Make Your Team Known

Send out monthly newsletters within the community, create a website, and/or host a fundraising event(s).

  1. Become Involved

Engage in community service efforts by collecting can foods or clothing for those in need. Show the community that you care and that you are willing to give back.

  1. Market Your Team

For Corporate: Create a Professional Packet highlighting who your team is, what FIRST is, goals for the future, past achievements (including community efforts), and where you are traveling to this season. Personalize these documents with the name of the corporation and a budget of the previous year. Place these documents in a folder and mail it to the intended corporation. After a few days make a follow-up call to insure that the documents were received and ask if they have any questions. Prepare a presentation where you illustrate the importance of FIRST and the works that you have completed. Mention to the corporation that you would be more than willing to travel to their facility to give the presentation.

For Businesses: Create a basic, yet attractive flyer with a picture of your team and small text areas that include who you are and why you are in need of funding. Also include your goals for the future and how with their donation you will be able to have a successful season. After creating this flyer, print or copy enough to disperse among team members. Require each member to obtain at least 2 local businesses to sponsor your team (even in the most rural locations this is possible). Also Make sure to Poll Members to see if they know anyone (corporate, business, or otherwise) who could contribute to the team.

  1. Host Fundraisers

Plan fundraisers that can increase your teams funding, examples: Basket Bingo, Spaghetti Dinner, Magic Show, etc. Travel to local supermarkets to see if food items can be donated or to other stores to request door prizes that can be raffled. Set a goal for the number of tickets each member is required to sell (divide how many people you are able to accommodate and divide it by team members, ex. 200/20 = 10 tickets each need to sell). Always decrease the accommodation amount when making this calculation if you are selling tickets at the door.

  1. Involve Parents

Involve parents in aiding with fundraising events by contributing refreshments that can be used for the event. Make these free to increase attendance. Create a small presentation for parents of new members to inform them about the program and to also motivate them to help.

Accomplishing the above steps will increase funding yearly. However, all of these steps may not be able to be completed in a single season. As you become more established they should be expanded on yearly. I hope this helps, if you have any questions please contact me.


[quote=KathieK;510929]20 Encourage someone from your team to join NEMO (Non-engineering Mentor Organization) - www.firstnemo.org -* they may get more ideas by polling the membership… Download the NEMO white paper “Creating a Killer Team Packet” which contains ideas for creating a professional looking information packet to present to potential sponsors. Also look at “25 Ways a Sponsor Can Help” which explains non-monetary ways that sponsors help FIRST teams.

Identify likely corporate sponsors in your community through your local chamber of commerce or via online or print resources - “top 50 businesses in X City” for example. Look for technology-related companies as these will be more likely to want to help out. Poll your membership to see if anyone is related to these organizations in any way (as an employee, etc.). Check to see if they support community activities and find out who the person in charge of those decisions is. Make an appointment with that person and suggest a technical person also be brought in. Choose your most articulate student and an adult to represent the team (while they may wish to hear the story from the student, they might also want reassurance that management of their funds will be overseen by an adult). Practice like you would for a Chairman’s Award interview or job interview. Make it short and to the point. Talk about success stories - competition-wise and from a human nature side (all five seniors from last year’s class went on to pursue higher education or something like that). **Explain what benefits the company will have by supporting the team **(As a Gold Level Sponsor, your company’s name will be on our robot, announced at each of our competitions, and on our t-shirts). Allow time for them to ask questions. Don’t use FIRST jargon that an outsider won’t understand. Leave them with a way to contact you, and follow up with a thank you and a follow-up call a week or so later. Invite them to a local competition if there is one in your area so they can come and see it, and call about a month ahead to remind them of the date and specifics, especially if they did not sign on to be a sponsor this year.[/quote]

[quote=Jack Jones;510932]*21 **I’ll save you some time - it’s Las Vegas!!!

No seriously, it seems to me that your team may be missing out on a unique opportunity. Engineering help should be easy to find – we love it! On the other hand, finding the kind of financial help a team needs is not easy. And, finding engineers with enough influence to get their companies involved is hardest of all, especially in places like Vegas where industry and manufacturing are not a large part of the local economy.

In the Detroit area we have the auto industry, but Vegas has casinos. Do you realize that the casinos have large staffs dedicated to public relations and promotions? They wouldn’t blink an eye at the kind of money we’re talking. What they care about is name recognition – setting them apart from the rest of the strip.

I’d lay odds that that one of them would be more that willing to put their name on the sides of your robot. Technology smeck-nology! Go where the money is!![/quote]

[quote=Carol;510944]*22 **Are you looking for one big sponsor or several minor ones? MOE was fortunate enough to have DuPont approach us initially about starting a team (actually, they wanted to convert an Explorer’s Post to a FIRST team - long story). But we are constantly approaching many places for lesser amounts, $500-$2000 range, which can add up. The most successful way is through parents. Ask them if they work for a company who would be willing to donate, or if they can give you a name of a person at that company. We usually send a packet and follow up with a phone call. Other local companies we have gotten from word of mouth or through directories. This is less successful but can still generate some money.

We’ve had more success getting sponsorship for individual events, such as the Duel on the DE and our 5K fundraiser. Some companies prefer donating for a specific event rather than sponsoring a team. For our 5K, which raised $2000 BTW, we promised to put the companies names on the runner t-shirts, which we promoted as a great way for them to advertise to a larger audience and for a long period of time.

Good luck - fundraising is very difficult![/quote]

[quote=GaryVoshol;510935]*23 **But is worthwhile to pursue. True, the engineer can’t make the decision to fund the team. But the engineer has contacts inside the company, and can find out who you should be talking to and what forms need to be submitted. If the engineer is committed to the team, he or she can explain the benefits of sponsorship to management, and may be willing to spearhead the whole process. We got a $6000 sponsorship that way.

Another path to pursue is contacting your state FIRST organization/partner. They may have contacts to suggest to your team.[/quote]

[quote=Greg Needel;510949]*24 **Just to add to the Vegas thing. I do believe that jack has a point and I believe that the hardest part is going to be getting through to the right person to talk to. You also might have difficulty because of the under 21 issue; ie. Why would a casino want to give money to people who can’t go to their casino’s, but that will be more of how you answer the question then the actual problem. In addition each casino especially big strip ones have full engineering staffs. Believe it or not there are engineers who design and build things for the casinos, so you might be able to get them also.

Although if I was in Vegas i would defiantly look these guys up. They are the ones who are trying to build a space hotel. http://www.lasvegasmercury.com/2004/MERC-Jul-08-Thu-2004/24250261.html[/quote]

[quote=Donut;510966]25* Definitely try to get your team considered a non-profit group so that sponsors can write the donation off. I think it’s alot harder to find the “large” corporate donations you might be looking for without this.

Assemble some kind of sponsorship packet or brochure to present to corporations (I definitely recommend looking at the NEMO White Paper for this, our team just finished one based off of this and everyone who has seen it has been impressed). Then just try to talk to any (or every) corporation you can. You tend to get better results when there is someone connected to your team that is an employee or part of the corporation (parent, mentor, friend of a member’s family, etc.), and local ones will probably be more willing to do it, but there’s really no harm in trying anyone (unless you’re afraid of the word “no”).

I would definitely recommend talking to casinos about this. I don’t know what they can donate for money, but one of our member’s family has a friend who works at a casino in Vegas, and they talked to him about what we do and whatnot. It will depend upon when the Las Vegas Regional is next year, but the friend is pretty sure he can get us 4 or 5 free rooms for the duration of the Regional if we go to Las Vegas next year. I’m guessing with all the members, mentors, and teachers on your team, there’s probably someone who knows a person in the casino business.[/quote]

[quote=KathieK;521878]27* You can have a two-person team, however, it’s recommended that the team be 4-10 student-aged members with at least one adult-aged mentor. having 4-10 youth on the team will allow for more brainstorming, a shared workload, will alllow teamwork opportunities to flourish, etc. An adult mentor is needed to take responsibility for the team while traveling and at events, and to pay the bills, may be able to offer suggestions for building the robot or team organization, etc.

Your team does not have to be affiliated with a school or organization, however, when it comes to fundraising and procuring sponsors you may have better luck if you can show an affiliation with an established entity.

A mentor is often a teacher, an engineer or someone acting in another professional capacity (ie computer programmer), someone’s parent, a college student. They should be interested in working with teens, able to devote time to work with you on this project, able to take time off from work if necessary in order to travel to competition(s) with you. The team needs to make it clear what the role and responsibilities of its members are - who will be making team decisions, who will be managing the budget, who will be designing the robot and building it. These are critical areas to define early in the season. They may change from year to year. There is a forum in CD for Team Organization which you may wish to look at.

When we refer to sponsors, it is usually a company which contributes financially to the team’s budget, or contributes with “in-kind” donations (material to build a field or printing t-shirts or brochures) or provides support by allowing employees (perhaps engineers) to work with the team. You can approach local companies or ask parents if their employers offer volunteer grants, etc. You can find some white papers that might be of interest to you in the Resources section of the NEMO (Non-Engineering Mentor Organization) website, including Creating a Killer Team Packet to use when making a presentation to a potential corporate sponsor.

In addition to having corporate sponsors, many teams will also do fundraisers to earn additional funds to offset expenses. These can range from holding pasta dinners to car washes to standing outside grocery stores asking for donations. Chief Delphi has a section devoted to fundraising ideas so you might find something there of help.

The FAQ section of the FIRST Vex Challenge website gives some estimated expenses for a team as well as answering other questions you may have. Last year’s competition manual is still available in case you’d like to see what the game looked like but will be replaced with this year’s challenge on September 13.[/quote]

[quote=nonother;521938]*28 **Receiving financial donations for a FVC team will absolutely be easier if you are affiliated with a high school. Before affiliating our team with the high school we sought out the viability of receiving funds as an independent 501©3. We called several companies and asked them, but understandably they informed us that they rarely give to organizations without a history; which of course a high school possesses. Since affiliating ourselves with the high school, we created a team packet that has instrumental in us receiving donations.

Here are my tips for creating a team packet (with some parts tailored to the fact your team is new, like ours):
-The first page should be an Executive Summary. First and foremost it needs to clearly state you are asking for a donation. It should briefly include why you are forming the team, what FIRST and FVC are, and an example of your commitment to the team. Mention where more specific information on each topic can be found in your packet (obviously you’ll have to add the specific page numbers later). The idea of this page is that after reading they know everything necessary to donate money to your team. The rest of the packet is supporting information.
-Your team doesn’t have a history, you can’t include any news articles or mention any awards. That’s ok, because of course every team has to start somewhere. Instead talk about the team’s vision; about what the team will become. This isn’t supposed to be lofty. Explain how you honestly think the team will impact the high school.
-This I would say is optional but definetly a good idea. Since you are a small team have each member type up a bulleted resume of their academic, math, and science achievement. The idea behind this is because your team has no history and no track record you can help to alleviate this by showing each team members’ personal record.
-In more detail explain what FIRST and FVC are. Describe either last year’s challenge or this year’s challenge depending on where you write it. Keep in mind the person reading it may not know the first thing about robotics, so don’t make it too technical. Finally tie-in the competition and your team.
-Create a page breaking down all expected costs. This is perhaps the most important page of the entire packet aside from Executive Summary. Virtually every company will expect to know how their money will be spent. Be as explicit as possible. For instance when you say you will need to X dollars for the regional competition, tell them where and when it is if you know the information.
-The donation page. Create a form where a donating corporation can fill out all of their contact information which they will mail back to you along with their check.
-An optional but nice touch is to add a pre-addressed pre-stamped envelope. Several companies have told us they appreciated the gesture.

One week later
-Call all of the people are the companies you contacted. You are calling to check that they got your packet, and to see if they have any questions. The other reason for calling is that in doing so you will remind them of your donation request. Many corporations receive hundreds of requests a month, calling makes a huge difference. If you leave a voicemail make sure to leave a number they can you call you back at. The reality is that you will rarely get a response from leaving a voicemail. So in that case wait a few days and call them back again and hopefully you will be able to get them on the phone. If you don’t get them don’t leave another voicemail.

After receiving a donation
-Send them a thank you. If they donated a large amount have a plaque made for them. (The amount for them to receive a plaque should be decided in advance and you should mention it in your packet.)
-Periodically send them letters throughout your season keeping them apprised of your team’s accomplishments.

Good luck![/quote]

[quote=whytheheckme;606562]29 A nice suit for your presentation. Looks good.*


[quote=Don Wright;606570]30* Gail Alpert is an expert in this area. She always creates a information document like this to use:


It also is more than just getting the money. You have to represent the sponsors well and keep them involved. Gail spends an incredible amount of time working on signs for the robot, banners, press releases, etc… I’m sorry, but you can’t just stick their logo on your robot and expect to get a good response…

We spend a lot of time, weight, and money getting our robot to look good. But it’s easier to show your team exposure to potential sponsors when your robot shows up in pictures on FIRST’s web site and in their annual report.

It takes a LOT of time, and I don’t know how Gail does it. But, she’s the best…[/quote]

[quote=Bongle;606575]*31 **Success seems to be a good way of getting new ones. No one wants their name on the robot that just sits there.

Other than that, if you’re talking truly large companies, they’ll have a charity department. Talk to them. A better way would be to see if you know anyone that knows someone AT that company, and get THEM to talk to the charity department to try and speed things up.

I think Sony has a pretty laid-back software development office in Madieson. You should bug them.

Look through the team lists for common sponsors, like NASA, GM, and Delphi. They sponsor many teams, so sponsoring another is probable.

If you do get an audience with a big company, have the students do the presentation. It’s a tough argument to make that you’re inspiring kids if you can’t get any to do an enthusiastic, well-researched presentation.[/quote]

[quote=OZ_341;406316]33 Our team lost its prime sponsor in 2002. We had 40 kids and almost no money. We have built back up to 5 dedicated sponsors and several grants through a method of carefully targeted contacts. (and selling FIRST…always selling FIRST everywhere we go!!)*

I usually try to send a simple email followed closely by a phone call.

It is better to speak with them personally, but the email gives them a warning that you will be calling. That way it is not such a cold call.

As long as you keep it simple you can also send them a link to your site, brochure or a picture in the email. This also helps them to visualize who you are as an organization before you call.

Just be careful not to overload them in the first few contacts.

Also be sure to ask all of your parents where they work. We have received some nice smaller donations by involving parents places of work. Another great source is smaller community or education grants. Many people spend a large amount of time trying for big name grants when there are smaller grants that are easier to apply for and receive right in your local area.

I hope this helps.

Good luck in your search!![/quote]

[quote=AdamHeard;525702]*34 **Our team is sponsored by Northrop Grumman (formerly TRW) and I am unsure how we originally received it.

but, it is very helpful. They provide engineers, a grant, some machining services and some internships for students as well.

From what I have heard from other teams, if you can get a corporate sponsor, it would greatly benefit your team.[/quote]

[quote=Lil’ Lavery;525703]*35 **116’s primary sponsor is NASA. We receive a very large grant and an engineer . Since we were only the 2nd NASA team waaay back in 1996 (and essentially the NASA pilot team), we went about a different way than most. Now though, you can apply for a NASA grant (http://robotics.nasa.gov/events/first/first_application_07.php) of various types. Note that most of the NASA grants are now meant to be temporary until a team can find other sponsors to help support it, but they are often a great starting place. They are also limited, and competative to get.
When approaching a potential sponsor, treat it like many other outreach events, act professionally, and be organized.[/quote]

[quote=KathieK;525711]*36 **Welcome to Chief Delphi! There is a whole forum section on fundraising and sponsorship that you might find helpful. http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=63

You might also like to download the white paper on “Creating a Killer Team Packet” which is to be used when approaching potential sponsors. It is available on the NEMO (Non-Engineering Mentor Organization) website in the Resources section.

There is a lot of information on Chief Delphi that you will find useful. Please search the forums first to be sure that your topic hasn’t already been covered somewhere else, then try to post in the appropriate forum for best results.

Good luck with your sponsor search![/quote]

[quote=JudyVandy;525743]*37 **Chuck 84 was originally locally sponsored. We’ve recently picked up some Dupont Corporate sponsorship, for which we are very grateful. Since we’re almost 11 years old, it does testify to the fact that it is possible to survive on local funding.

With that said, it’s tough! You have to be very actively seeking funds from your local businesses and recognizing their contributions. We are fortunate in having 3 fairly large manufacturing plants on our area: DuPont, Osram Sylvania, and Craftmaster. In addition there are several smaller operations. Don’t forget things like banks and other such institutions. Another good source of funding are organizations such as Lions, Rotary, and Kawanis.

Plus there are the fund raisers you can run. We’ve done chicken BBQs, yard sales, linen and tool sales (I can give you a vendor for this. It’s been our biggest fund raiser in $$.), pizza tickets, Thanksgiving and Christmas pies, and tag days. Get creative.

No contribution is too small! $$ add up!

Good luck with your efforts. Feel free to e-mail or pm me.[/quote]

[quote=JaneYoung;525749]*38 **Hi and welcome!
I would also like to add that working with any sponsor, including corporate sponsors, is an opportunity to give back. It is a two way street. Our corporate sponsor is National Instruments. NI is very generous in helping our team with financial support as well as mentoring. As a way of giving back, 418 participates in many of NI’s programs. One example is the Lego Mindstorms event.
Working with a corporate sponsor can provide a lot of wonderful opportunities for the teams to share and help develop terrific programs.[/quote]

[quote=sheltie234;525775]*39 **Cyber Blue 234 is sponsored by several coporate sponsors. Our main sponsors are from Allison Transmissions (GM) and Rolls-Royce, but they give more than just financial help. They provide several engineers and facilities for our CDRs (infront of a panel of non-team Rolls-Royce engineers) and demos. Our sponsor from Allison was by applying to General Motors, and they then said we were sponsored by the nearest GM facility, aka Allison Transmission. With Rolls-Royce, **our team mentor went to one of Rolls’ plants and asked if they wanted to be a part of this wonderful and extremely rewarding organization **(of course they said yes).

If you need any more help, please don’t hesitate to ask![/quote]

[quote=Chris Fultz;525846]*40 **Check out two white papers that might help youdevelop your approach -

FIRST Sponsorship = Excellent Corporate Strategy (Link Added) http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/papers/1673


Sponsor Care (Link Added) http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/papers/1677 [/quote]

[quote=RoboMadi;525869]*41 **In order to get a corporate sponsorship, one need to have a connection within a company. I’m not sure about others, but mainly for our team Parents and Mentors have helped a lot in bringing in the corporate sponsors. Most of them work for some really prestigious companies, and have links/connections within to spread the word. The main idea is to get the parents involved as much as you can, because most of them work in a company (small or big).
As 612 is located in the Technology Hub of USA, our mentors, teachers, and parents have connections within the companies or most of them work for one.
Not only that, over the years we’ve been able to get help/mentors from sponsors too. Some of them are Northrup Grumman, SAIC, Raytheon, Mitretek Systems, IEEE, Lockheed Martin, OEC, Fiserv, etc. (I know its shocking that all the rival defence companies are sponsoring a team jointly )[/quote]

[quote=JaneYoung;526025]*42 **Percentages might be hard to nail down. Just in this thread we’ve seen teams who have several sponsors, teams who have one sponsor, teams who are working with grants, teams who have been working successfully and hard for over 10 years, and are just now reaping the benefits of working with a corporate sponsor. The percentage of the pie would be based on a lot factors. I can guess that the percentage could be significant but many teams still have to fundraise and find other sources of income and material donations. Also some sponsors provide the locale for build.

In 418’s case, we have the generosity of our sponsor, as I mentioned, and we also work locally in our community all year. This weekend we are participating in the stadium clean-up at UT. It’s another one of those give back opportunities: we work and make some money and the university here in our city benefits from working with many school teams and groups.[/quote]

[quote=RoboMadi;526041]*43 **You want to talk figures…so lets talk figures…

It varies from year to year. Amount provided by corporate sponsors is directly proportional to how much you can impress them. For our team it was 40K last year. (We have saved from last year, and will be using it this year)

While on the other hand, Individual Cost of every regional/national is directly proportional to how much effort one put in to raise money. There is a specific fee everyone has to pay to attend competitions, but if you work hard on the alternatives (sell coupons help at Fair), that amount can be minimized too (in some cases to 0). Regional : $100 ; National : $150[/quote]

[quote=M. Krass;526340]*44 **If it’s helpful, I can say that 488 spent a bit more than $30,000 last year. That paid for the entry to the Pacific Northwest Regional and Championship Event, travel for the team to each event, dinner for about twenty people three times a week, and materials for our robot and ancillary activities.

We spend a lot of money per student because many wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford even the modest expense of a trip to Portland. Teams from more economically affluent communities can probably rely more on their students to chip in and pay the cost of their travel.

In 2005 and 2006, we did not have a ‘corporate sponsor’ in the traditional sense, but relied almost entirely on donations to the team from employees at Microsoft and Boeing as well as grants. Both Microsoft and Boeing match employee donations to non-profit organizations, but it took awhile for us to amass the money needed to pay back the mentors we borrowed from as the season went along. I would not expect all mentors to be so generous with their bank accounts – we’re just a little crazy.

This season, because of the word spread along by those who’ve donated to us in the past, at least some folks higher up the food chain at area companies have begun to notice our program and how quickly it’s grown. Additionally, we’ve brought DeVry University on board thanks to how closely we worked with them during the season by asking them to send representatives to our team meetings and to Portland so as to engage our students in planning for their college educations.

Sometimes you’ll be fortunate and you can make a cold pitch to someone and get some funding from them, but more often than not, you’ll need to do some legwork for a while to build a relationship with people who can help you to get what you need.[/quote]

[quote=Kyle;406201]*45 **Our approach, is to do it as often as possible.
Call the business and ask for a person who deals with community outreach or something like that.
Make a nice presentation to e-mail, send in the mail or even demonstrate to the contact person at the business.
Any questions you can PM me and I can give you further help.

GOOD LUCK[/quote]

[quote=mgreenley;406230]46 When we go to corporations to fundraise, I think that something valuable to your request would be if the corporation has seen your robot compete. Barring that, arrange for a demonstration day. We also have a short video presentation to accompany our robot.*
After you recieve a donation, remember to continue to invite your sponsors to your events, or to your shop to see the robot. It’s sometimes difficult to catch a sponsors attention, but once you’ve introduced them to the program and your team, they’ll be, hopefully, hooked.
Our team actually produced a DVD/CD, titled “Team In A Box”, that addresses different aspects of any team, including fundraising. To request a copy, please visit my team site. On that note, if anyone feels that they have a unique, innovative or out-of-the-box fundraising strategy for situations such as this, please contact my team or myself (PM me, or visit www.team341.com). We’re always looking to expand the breadth of what we cover in our DVD.
Hope this helped!


[quote=OZ_341;406251]47* I would also say to be sure not to focus too much on the machine or your win loss record. Companies want to know that their money is going to a bigger cause, something farther reaching than simply competition.

Focus on what your program does for the kids and the community. We talk a great deal about how money donated to our team goes beyond the members of the team and out to the community.
In terms of the affect on your direct team members, focus on the inspiration, opportunity and changed lives.

This is what gets a company interested! Like everyone else, they want to know that their money is improving their community.[/quote]

[quote=OZ_341;406297]*49 **Well, I guess we can agree to disagree, but in all the time I have been fundraising, nobody has ever asked me our win-loss record. However, corporations will quite often GRILL me on what the program is doing for the kids involved.

NASCAR is a very different situation.

If you do have a sponsor that is pushing you to win at all costs they are not in the spirit of FIRST. In the past we have parted company with sponsors that did not get this concept. If you sacrifice in the short term in favor of the goals of FIRST, you will attract the right partners and your team will be better off in the long run.[/quote]

[quote=OScubed;723458]*50 **This is a presentation I did for raising money for not-for-profits. This particular presentation is not targeted specifically at FIRST (I did it for a local symphony orchestra) but the ideas are common no matter what kind of NFP you run. I serve on a number of not-for-profit boards.

Feel free to copy and distribute, or drop me a line if you’d like a “FIRST” customized version of it, or have any questions.

The big thing that new NFPs forget when they are raising money is to PUSH THEIR SPONSORS. These guys and gals GAVE you money. Mention them every place you can - whenever you have an interview, show the robot off, in your pits, on the robot itself, on your banners and T-Shirts, on TV etc. Think NASCAR. If you watch a NASCAR race you’ll see the sponsors name on EVERYTHING. It’s INSIDE THE HOOD in case the engine fails and they have a shot of the engine on TV. Give back at least as much as you get, and you’ll get more money and better sponsors next year.

Your goal should be that the SPONSOR’S CUSTOMERS and PERFECT STRANGERS, come up to them and say “hey - I saw you sponsored a FIRST team! Can you tell me more about that?”. I guarantee that if at least one customer comes up to them and says that each year - they’ll sponsor again and again. And guess what - that fits into Woody’s mission to “spread the word” about FIRST because by promoting your sponsors - you’re also promoting yourselves.

Lee Drake[/quote]

[quote=Kristina;90104]*51 **In terms of keeping sponsors, I think its good to keep good relations with them. Here are some of the things are team has done and I’m pretty sure all our sponsors this year are planning on helping out next year.

*Get email addresses and mailing addresses of your company presidents or relations. We send them updates of what are team is up to, accomplishments, and what we need. Usually every few months and then I would send out a weekly update during building season. This allows them to see where their money is going and how much we appreciate it.
*Get your sponsors involved. We invite all our sponsors to the competitions and they love coming to see us compete. We also invited them to our building sessions in the evenings to see our committment outside of the classroom.
*Show your appreciation. We presented each company with a few team tshirts which they all loved. We also invited them to the team dinner and set the last part of it apart for thank yous where we gave them these team collages/plaques saying thanks. Our cake at our dinner even had the names of all the sponsors on it.
*Visit the companies. Yesterday a few teammates and I visited a company to demonstrate the robot to all their workers. We explained the FIRST program, described the game and our achievements this year, and told them how much we learned. They were so impressed to see that would built the whole thing in 6 weeks when their engineering projects take months. We even got a tour and sometimes they would give us food and company products.

These tips have definately taught us a lot of the business world and its not everyday that you see teenagers chatting with presidents of million dollar companies. Through this, a few of my teammates even got internships and jobs at these engineering companies.[/quote]

[quote=UCGL_Guy;91369]*52 **Companies big and small want to see what the end product is going to be. Use the FIRST promo video it really tells the story well. Present them with your budget, this is what they do and they want to see how their money is spent. Prepare a few students to tell of the impact it has had on them ( don’t have it canned but real experiences)
**We have an Appreciation dinner every year for our sponsors **(big and small) and invite potential sponsors. At this we do demos have the kids and mentors talk, present our budget and see what happens. We usually garner at least one new sponsor and helps our PR a lot.
Attend every civic club meeting you can rotary, lions, ambucs, etc. whatever these are the people in your community who have the contacts.
Also show that you are willing and have worked to provide a lot of your own funds, not just selling things but some manual labor.
We also emphasize community service, what do we give back to the community for the support it gives us.
Try to include them where ever you can

Just some of the things we do[/quote]

1 Like

Well, that took some work to compile these quotes. I’m very impressed.

A tip of the hat to you, sir.


cool ironicaly our team is oftenly looking for new sponsers anyone have any idea on how to get big companies like microsoft or sony?

This is a great thread. I’d have to agree that more than half of our sponsors so far this year are due to tips pointed out in this collective thread.
Opening doors just opens more and more doors…that’s for sure. :smiley:

Arizona allows for the team to collect tax credit, so one idea is to call the local tax/accounting services and ask if they can hand out tax credit forms to their clients or whomever. I figure the worst they can say is no, but from my experience they don’t usually have a problem with it.


Seeing as this thread attracts spam like no other, could it be locked?

Something as long as this maybe should be a white paper. It may be that the spamming is related to length of the initial post, and then the mass of material could be better organized in a document that is more straightforward to save/print for later reference.