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Thread: How do you tackle team funding?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Colorado, US
    Posts
    9

    Default How do you tackle team funding?

    Just to help with planning for the next season...

    One of our biggest challenges was fundraising/sponsorship. I assume many school/organization groups at least have a base kit that gets reused each year and possibly some other support. (Probably not all of them.) But for a small group of homeschoolers that already pays for their own materials to teach each year, additional outside funding seems like a must. Do you have any tips for finding sponsors? Especially approaches for getting to the right person to talk to. For example, we were certain my husbands engineering company would be a great candidate, but he sent out several letters, spoke with HR, managers, even VPs and they didn't seem to have any clue where he should start. Same with some of Senior Health Care providers we tried. Is there a trick to this?

    In the end, we did finally manage to scrape enough together from some smaller sources and we've been very careful to let them know just how thankful we are to them. But we want to get ahead of the game for our second year.

    Also, not that we're too worried about this problem any time soon, if ever, but what do teams do that qualify past their regional tournaments? Do they get sponsors for that as well?

    We never realized when our kids talked us into this how expensive this program is. And now were seeing that a part of some team strategies includes doing give aways as part of their team brand recognition (pins, buttons, stickers, etc). How can teams afford this along with everything else? I would think from a sponsors position this might be seen as a misuse of funds?

    One last thing, this year the parents did most of the upfront leg work to find sponsors and then had the kids do the follow up work. Is it customary to have the kids also do the initial inquiries?

    Thanks for any tips you may have.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: How do you tackle team funding?

    Hello,
    what our teams have done is have fundraisers throughout the year. We did a brat/hot dog stand at a local supermarket, a coupon book sales for a department store, and even one year selling wreaths and flowers. This alongs with a small sign up fee from each child was enough to get us the field kit, t shirts and give aways.
    the one year we went on we then had the kids fundraise for that purpose to local companies and freinds family ect.. They raised enough to cover most of the trip.
    And learned valuable lessons on how fundraise properly.

    good luck and it does help planning for next year this year!
    Theresa

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    El Dorado Hills, CA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: How do you tackle team funding?

    The parents of our team formed a non-profit corporation, so we can get tax-deductable grants from sponsors and tax-deductable donations from parents. We also raise money from corporations that give money to non-profits to which their employees volunteer their time. These are all great sources. We are also going to be more aggresive in fund-raising next year, as the kids will be moving to the high-school league and that is much more expensive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Oregon, USA
    Posts
    2,020

    Default Re: How do you tackle team funding?

    Quote Originally Posted by HarFamily View Post
    Just to help with planning for the next season...

    One of our biggest challenges was fundraising/sponsorship. I assume many school/organization groups at least have a base kit that gets reused each year and possibly some other support. (Probably not all of them.) But for a small group of homeschoolers that already pays for their own materials to teach each year, additional outside funding seems like a must. Do you have any tips for finding sponsors? Especially approaches for getting to the right person to talk to. For example, we were certain my husbands engineering company would be a great candidate, but he sent out several letters, spoke with HR, managers, even VPs and they didn't seem to have any clue where he should start. Same with some of Senior Health Care providers we tried. Is there a trick to this?

    In the end, we did finally manage to scrape enough together from some smaller sources and we've been very careful to let them know just how thankful we are to them. But we want to get ahead of the game for our second year.

    Also, not that we're too worried about this problem any time soon, if ever, but what do teams do that qualify past their regional tournaments? Do they get sponsors for that as well?

    We never realized when our kids talked us into this how expensive this program is. And now were seeing that a part of some team strategies includes doing give aways as part of their team brand recognition (pins, buttons, stickers, etc). How can teams afford this along with everything else? I would think from a sponsors position this might be seen as a misuse of funds?

    One last thing, this year the parents did most of the upfront leg work to find sponsors and then had the kids do the follow up work. Is it customary to have the kids also do the initial inquiries?

    Thanks for any tips you may have.
    It's quite a challenge to get corporate donations unless you're a non-profit foundation.

    Check with your regional partner and see if they have any scholarship funds available.

    Don't worry about bringing give-away items to your tournament. It's totally optional and will not influence your team's evaluation in any meaningful way.
    FIRST Tech Challenge Judge: 2010, Referee: 2017
    FIRST LEGO League Mentor, Instructor, and/or Referee/Head Referee since 2011
    FIRST Robotics Competition judge (Chairman's Award): 2014
    Dean says I'm an "Oompa Loompa of Science"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: How do you tackle team funding?

    Quote Originally Posted by dcsastry View Post
    The parents of our team formed a non-profit corporation, so we can get tax-deductable grants from sponsors and tax-deductable donations from parents. We also raise money from corporations that give money to non-profits to which their employees volunteer their time. These are all great sources. We are also going to be more aggresive in fund-raising next year, as the kids will be moving to the high-school league and that is much more expensive.
    How does one form a non-profit corporation for FLL?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: How do you tackle team funding?

    Go to your State's "Secretary of State" online office, fill out a form, pay a fee, and you're now a Non-Profit Corporation.

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