So it seems like a lot of this post is financially based… As a PR guy, I can never understand this… People complain about raising money to help finance their team… Well, I am looking to help y’all fix those problems…
My basic philosophy is if you have kids willing to learn, willing to try something new, and willing to make a difference in the world today, money shouldn’t be their biggest problem. In fact, it should be their last problem. Everyone says we are spending too much on education… Well, let me phrase the question this way: how much are you willing to spend on your future, and the future of you’re nation? I am working on taking my efforts nationally, and I want to help everyone with problems like this…
Basically, my goals are big. Really big. For instance, this past year, I decided I was going to try and raise $60,000 for my team, all of which would have been spent. Mind you, this is a VRC team only. I also said I wanted to reach a million people, and tell them about robotics… I decided to be reasonable, and yield on that one… I only reached a quarter-of-a-million. Granted, I didn’t raise nearly that amount, but the thing was, I saw it as a possibility. I was thinking big.
If there is one thing I would tell anyone to learn, it is to think big. Set enormous goals that everyone laughs at. Seriously. Ask yourself “what kind of goals can I set that will make everyone laugh.” Follow that up with the question “which of those goals can I accomplish, and then knock the socks off everyone who laughed at me?” You can go ask all my teammates… They will say I am crazy and slightly weird. They will say my notebook is bad, and all the ideas that come from it are absolutely insane.
So I have this notebook. Inside of this notebook, I try to keep track of my ideas… When I say to think big, I am serious. I have a six-page list of company names to try and get to sponsor us… I just wrote down everyone I could think of… I started planning a trip to South Africa to help them get their robotics programs rolling. I have built (with some help) a website. http://www.twistedbotz.org. I am working on changing this into a resource for all teams to come to, and get all of my team’s info on how we started, what we do, how we do what we do, copies of our notebooks, everything. So when I say big, I really do mean big.
So basically, here is the main message. There are thousands of companies out there, none of which have enough engineers, and just about all of which are realizing this problem. They are willing to give money to students who are willing and able, especially in a field like robotics. I am more than willing to help anyone who needs help fundraising. I am working on getting guides on how to fund-raise, who to contact, and what to say. But in order to start, you have to think big. Think beyond just a local company or two. Think about Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, NASA, Boeing, BAE Systems… There are so many companies I could list, and some of them are just waiting to give money away.
That being said, I must caveat it with this caution. In fundraising, you are doing really well if you get one response in a hundred. I don’t want to scare any of you guys off, but that is the truth. The thing is though, if you can take all of those rejections, and if you can keep going back year after year, talking to people you don’t know, and you might never meet again in you’re life, you are going to meet that handful of people that really care. Once you can get in on that group, you have not only most likely found funding for your team, but in a lot of cases, you just found you’re future employer.
So I know this post is long, and I apologize for that. But start thinking big. In fact, read the book called “Thinking for a Change.” It is by John C. Maxwell, and if you have time, read every single book he has written. I can guarantee, you won’t regret it.
If you have any questions, robotics or non-robotics, fundraising, anything, just send me an email at email@example.com. (Someone said they turned PM’s off…)