If you need any help with trying to get sponsors, our team has a sponsorship presentation that has gotten us a lot of sponsors. I can e-mail it to you, or help you out if you’d like. We are the only team in our city, yet I don’t belive we have any sponsors from our city, we go to places where family members of the team members work (they always feel more obligated to sponsors, plus they see first hand the thrills we get from FIRST). Anyway, if you want any help, just send me an e-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org
and if anyone needs any help, send me an e-mail, we aren’t doing so well with grants, but sponsorship wise is pretty good.
I submitted one to subway and got approved, Microsoft, Working on apple, hp, Dell, Acer, Sony, Toshiba, Asus, Target, Best Buy. Places yet to try Hardware Stores. Also have contacted applebees and ruby tuesday to do a representation and get some of the nights profit. Bagging at local grocery stores will work as well for a nice amount depending on if you choose the right time.
A word of caution on large company sponsored grant. Some of those grants are part of a partnership between the company and FIRST Robotics. I recommend researching info on the grant by doing a search on google to find out when was the grant officially announced, when was the first year the grant was awarded and what is the duration of the partnership.
Also some grants has a certain period of application, and also a given period of award, I recommend finding this information and have a mentor leading the effort who can pull all the team information necessary and keep track on grant application from year to year.
Unfortunately in smaller towns this is not always practical. Our situation is very similar to the OP. A smaller city without even any large department stores, or a shopping mall nearby, only a couple of large employers. The largest employer in town made it clear they are not interested in funding a First team any more, and the next two employers down the list are non-profits that are unable help sponsor a team. The nearest other cities are quite far, and I can tell you from experience it is really difficult to get any interest in sponsorship from companies that are 25 to 50 miles away. Many even have policies that restrict applications for such support to a specific geographic distance.
Robotics is an expensive endeavor. Once you get down to the point where you are relying on contributions from mom and pop operations it is really difficult to get enough support to run a team. You can do all the car washes, light bulb sales, and restaurant fund raiser’s you want, but at some point you need some serious funding, and grants may be the best option in some situations.
A recommendation for teams in small cities, it to keep their old robot and invest on a second cRIO. Having a functioning robot, you can raise money buy having stakeholders to own the old robot…
TIP: Teams should not only get engagement from the students on involvement but also financially. As an example for a team with $12,000 budget we recommend them to sell shares at $20 with a total of 600 shares available. Anyone owning 50 shares can have the robot for their use for one month after the competition. So for $1000 a student can own the robot for one month of the year for the life of the robot, until the robot is “sold off”, when the robot is sold off the stakeholders get the proceeds per their percentage of ownership. At $1000, many professional organizations will be happy to sponsor and them have the students come demonstrate the robot at their membership events. http://vimeo.com/33093562/
We’ve received the DOW Promise Grant for 16k. We applied for 25k. We have applications in with the Shaw Group (10k and No Decision), Exxon-Moble (10k and Denied), Shell (10k and No Decision), Entergy (1k Microgrant, No Decision), Albermarle (5k will be given to highest Baton Rouge Team in Bayou Regional).
Thats all I can remember right now and my kids wanna go play outside. I’ll post more later.