Unique Team Fundraising Ideas

Our team has taken a wide approach to fundraising. I think it would be great to find different and unique strategies that teams have taken to raise money for their teams. I love to for people to share what they do besides the typical corporate sponsors.

Our team has done recently:

Prize Calendar: We get prizes donated by local businesses and have a prize on each day and we sell tickets to people who get a chance to win each day of the months drawing. This will usually net us around $2,500, it is a 100% profit because all of the prizes are donated.

Host an FLL Event: Maybe not to unique but we host and run concessions at the event this will usually net us $1,500. The initial cost is the largest investment is tables and the concession equipment. We have found it beneficial to work with teams around us that also hold events and we share resources.

Concessions: We hold concession events for plays, sports games etc. This will usually net us $500-$800 per night.

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We just did a bake sale and silent auction…did fairly well with it. This is a good go to for those that don’t have access to concessions.

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It’s been a long time since we did this (10+ years ago), but we sold freeze pops at the farmers market. We were mainly there for outreach and got our booth for free however.

An idea that popped in my head for teams with a cnc router, laser cutter or 3D printer was to make unique Christmas ornaments and coasters related to our city or school, like the City logo or a steam shovel.

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We’ve hosted Smash Bros. Tournaments in the past. You get money from admission, raffle baskets, and concessions.
We’ve also done Super Bowl Boxes, Applebees Flapjack Fundraisers, bake sales, and car washes.

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Our team has hosted a badminton tournament in our school and was wildly successful. I’d say sports tournaments would get a lot of kids in a school to sign up for.

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Our CTE center would host “Pankow Con” (overnight lockin) with smash, guitar hero, CS Tourney (source Lan server), board game rooms, mtg tourney, etc. and split proceeds with whatever clubs participated in helping run it.

The Chinese language club, SkillsUSA and BPA also would participate with FIRST students to run it all. I was a student back then but we easily had 200 participants at $25 a ticket. The cost for food and drinks (included in ticket price to start) was a bit high but we had donated prizes for the tournaments so it paid the team over $1,000 when it was all said and done. Plus… Ya know… Giant game party

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Tournaments sound like a wonderful idea, my team needs to have something like that. One cool idea I saw elsewhere on CD is building furniture in your workshop and having an auction for each piece. I feel like you could get a pretty high profit from that if you made each piece of furniture super high quality.

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CNC Flatpak designs can be laser cut or routed by teams that have the equipment and are “easy” to put together compared to traditional furniture.

Our school’s construction tech class does Dog Houses, Cornhole Boards and I think Sheds as projects for sale to give the students something to do. But doing it as a fundraising effort is something I never thought about before.

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Coding Camps are another good fundraiser. 10 students for a a five-day Day Camp usually has low investment and high return. If you have access to LEGO EVO3 or SPIKE PRIME, these can be the platform for the coding. If not the micro:bit (https://microbit.org) is another great platform for a coding camp.

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What did you auction off? we are considering something like that : )

Most were donation items. Some new…some old.

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If you do baskets you can kind of just come up with various themes and ask for stuff to fit those themes or even better, go to local businesses like maybe movie theaters, restaurants, local grocery stores, etc and ask them to donate items for a business themed basket. They would get their name all over the prize and it’s good advertising.

The profit of whatever the basket pulls in is full profit for your team and the business gets cheap advertising while also helping the team! Much cheaper than a full sponsorship by a large margin but still helpful in the long run!

This could work for individual large items as well if a business has 1 big ticket item they want to donate instead

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this would be really cool! what would the upfront cost be like? I could see it being cool if we did some interesting paint or stain (maybe multicolored stain like that unicorn spit brand makes)

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If you’re talking just material’s cost it really depends on the type of furniture being made and the material used.

If you are just making basic wooded furniture like in the picture then really it’s the cost of 1 sheet plus a large enough CNC machine. Of course being able to cut an entire 4x8 sheet isn’t usual, many cncs are 4x4 or smaller so you might have to cut your starting pieces down. There’s also places that you can have cut your materials for you if you don’t have a CNC but their cost will vary.

Your price of material varies but that table can be made from anything ranging from plywood on up. At Home Depot you’re only gonna get sheets of plywood in varying quality from $30-$60 for a 4x8 sheet. Other types of wood would be from a real lumber lard and that price always fluctuates. Then your paint cost obviously varies too. But relatively inexpensive compared to most furniture so a decent margin for the team.

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Have not done this for robotics however I’ve done this for other organizations. We’ve had a local car dealer donate a car, it’s a tax write off for them, and we Make the drawing an event with a dinner with other door prizes and a wine pull. We did a reverse drawing for the car so it was More exciting and everyone stayed till the end and spend more money. We sold only a thousand tickets at $100 a piece so the odds were one in a thousand of winning the car. Of course they had been higher end cars Mercedes, BMW and Land Rover. That had been the only fundraiser for those organizations that year. It did take a lot of planning and work and making sure people knew what licenses to get for the raffle but they were always fun events. Good luck on your endeavors.

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Depending on the state and your type of organization something like this may not be legal.

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An ornament sale is 3201’s biggest community fundraiser. We pick a new festive design each year, incorporate the school’s branding, and churn them out on the router (often with donated aluminum sheet and offcuts). Finished by sandblasting or polishing/brushing with a die grinder. We’ve also played with resin and glitter inlays, but it adds a lot of work.

We take them to a local craft show, but get most of the sales through online orders (promoted via social media and word of mouth) and let community members pick them up.



1296 has done this. But as @snoman said, the feasibility wildly varies with state (or other) law. Talk to a lawyer!

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What are Super Bowl Boxes?

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Basically people buy squares on a 10x10 grid, and then once they’re all sold, they are randomly numbered 0-9. At the end of each quarter of the Super Bowl, whatever the last digits of the score is, that box wins a percent of the pot. If you sell boxes for $10 each, you’d have $1000 total, you would set aside $500 for the prize pot. Attached are excerpts from our team’s WIP business handbook that we give our business students.
SuperBowlBoxInstructions.pdf (357.1 KB)
SuperBowlBoxTemplate - Football Boxes.pdf (14.0 KB)
Note that if you are fundraising for a 501c3, I believe it would have to be run by an individual (i.e. parent, teacher) for the benefit of the nonprofit, rather than being run by the nonprofit itself (at least that was how it was explained to me).

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True, but it’s legal in the people’s Republic of Jersey so I figured be legal anywhere. :rofl:

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