The fundraising team can be considered the backbone of a FIRST Robotics Club because they act behind the scenes to make sure the team has the money it needs to function smoothly.
Without fundraising, a robotics club is unable to achieve its goals. Participating in a FIRST Robotics Competition costs $6,000. In addition to the registration fees, clubs usually spend at least $1,000 on their robot. Brand new teams might have to purchase $2,000 worth of tools and supplies to even start building. In order to cover these expenses, a club needs to fund raise extensively. We earn our funds through several ways, described below.
The main way that all the teams acquire their money is through corporate sponsorship and grants. There are many companies that are either willing to give out money to local “charities” like yourself or are easy to convince. As a FIRST Robotics club, you have 501(c)3 status, which means that it is recognized as a non-profit organization. To find out more about your status, go to the IRS website. Sponsors are very helpful because they can cover your costs continually, and they generally are almost always bigger donators than parents, students or individuals. When talking to potential sponsors, don’t forget to appear professional and talk to them about the advantages of sponsoring your club. Talk about recognition on your website, t-shirts, robot, crate, and logos in different places throughout your “pit area” during the competition itself.
Grants are a great way to earn money for your robotics team, because there are many organizations which are dedicated to granting money to student clubs dedicated to technology education, and they generally provide a relatively large amount of money. Grant applications should be written professionally, and with much care. Make sure that if the organization you are writing to has specified certain content for you to address, that you are making sure to focus on that content!
It’s a good idea to create a database or Word document of pre-written information about your team, because many Grant application requirements will ask for similar information, such as “What is the purpose of your group/club/organization?” and “How does your club promote education/involvement/SOMETHING in your society?”
Many parents are very interested in having their children participate in a FIRST robotics club because they easily recognize the advantages of participating in FIRST. Students participating in FIRST have access to opportunities to improve their communication, teamwork, project-building and leadership skills, as well as gaining experience in mechanical design, electronic, graphics, programming, etc. are all skills students can learn while being part of a Robotics Club. SR organizes a parents meeting at the beginning of the year, where we present the club to the parents. They are often willing to donate to further their children’s education.
Like many, Saints Robotics has membership dues. Our dues are modest in comparison to others, $25, which cover the costs of the food at every meeting, t-shirts, and other such items that each member receives. Some teams charge up to $100 per person. Remember, the more members you can attract, the more money the club has to spend on parts, tools, robot equipment, etc. Our team earned over $1200 dollars from membership dues this year. We don’t want to make money an issue with members, so we offer “scholarships” for students who are unable to pay the dues, because our ultimate goal is not to make money, but to promote education.
By law, clubs depend on and are connected to the school. We maintain good relations with our school’s ASB officers, and are sometimes partially funded by the school.
These are our primary sources of income, which are judiciously applied in order to build the robot and provide for our other expenses. If you have any questions, contact our public relations team.