Fundraiser Ideas

Hello! My team recently made Nationals and are pretty excited to go. We are a relatively new team (our school has only had the program for three years) so we don’t have a lot of money. We would like to hold some fundraisers to help us offset the cost of going to Nationals because we are from Massachusetts, so we will have to fly to Iowa. Unfortunately, we are a small team with only three members (two and a chaperone are going to Nationals), so anything that involves a lot of people is out (like a cake walk). We are allowed to hold bake sales when there is a late bus after school, but that is only every other month at the most and this generally only brings in $100-$120, not much considering how much parts cost. We have gone around to local (and sent mail to larger) businesses asking for their support, and though several did donate, we did not raise as much as we had hoped to.

Due to school rules, we are very limited as to what fundraisers we can hold, which makes it challenging. We can’t sell any food during school (and our bake sales have to start half an our after school ends), and due to snow days (we’ve already had six with equal if not more the same number of delays) we can’t hold any fundraisers that would take away from school time (We wanted to hold a Battle of the Bands but the Principal wasn’t down for that). Another dilemma is that we live in a very rural community, with almost no restaurants or large chain stores nearby. The average population per town around here is probably around 1,000. Therefore, it’s really difficult to get our community involved in anything, and most of our classmates just say “Wait, we have a robotics team?.. What’s that?”. Also, we can’t really sell anything (cookie dough, cheesecake, pizza, etc.) because other sports have already staked their claim over those, and there are only three of us, so we probably wouldn’t sell many anyways.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated - Thanks in advance!

~Zoe :slight_smile:

Sounds like you’re in a tuff situation, but some ideas I have are you could go to a local business and ask if they could give a donation and in return have their name and website on your shirt. You also could see if their are any jobs in the town you could do to make money but that would probably take to much time. At my school we host a vex junior tournament to raise money for the team but in your case you could do a bake sale at the basketball games and many ask if you could put some jars in the town restaurants with a sign that explains what you extra change is going to. That’s all I go but good luck!

Those are good ideas, I’ll mention them to my team. Thanks :)!


We are a 4-H team and one of our best fundraisers is selling Sundrop slushies at the Oconto County Fair. It is easy to do just rent a slushy machine, dump soda into the machine saving all the cooking that you would have to do for a bake sale and sell cups of it for a around $1.00. I’m not sure if you have you have any type of community events where you are from but if you do see if you can set up a food stand or something there. Also if you have some sort of a food stand make sure to bring your robot along to demo it for the community. Not only does this help draw customers to your stand but it also helps raise awareness for Vex Robotics in your area. Long story short, try to find other places to do fundraisers for rather than just your school. When sending sponsorship letters to businesses see if you can demo your robot for them. They are a lot more likely to fund you if they see what you are doing with the money because chances are they have never seen a Vex robot before.

Good luck in your fundraising,


Some good ideas above. Plus talk to the church folks. They might let you sell stuff there on weekends. Usually they have so many events, you will have a better chance to spread the word also. Good luck.

Hi Zoe,

I see you will be at the QCC event this weekend. I would suggest that your team networks with the other HS teams to see how they handle fundraising. Also, check in with the VEXU teams - some have been to Worlds a number of times as HS teams and are very helpful.

Your team should also consider what will happen if you are one of the 16 HS teams that qualify for World from the Southern New England Regional event this weekend. Can you really afford to be at two events so close to one another? Which is the most important for your school?

I would think that your districts school committee would be ecstatic about making it to a national or international stage and would support your team as it would a varsity sports team in a similar situation. You should approach your SC with facts about how other districts support their robotics competition teams.

Good luck this weekend!

Even in a rural town I would imagine you have some sort of manufacturing businesses around…big or small. Approach them. Robotics is exactly the type of skill they will admire in a student and may be willing to help support you when they realize how great of an accomplishment it is you have done.

Don’t just think business right next to you. Our largest supporter is a business that is about 60 miles away and not a single person from our town works there. But they still have given us $5,000 each year we have qualified for worlds to help pay for our trip. They are in the manufacturing sector and realize how great these students are doing and wanted to help.

It never hurts to ask! Some companies have non-profit charities built into their companies specifically for these reason! (and the tax write of or course :rolleyes:)

Sadly this isn’t usually true. (luckily at my school it is) Lots of school still treat robotics as a silly side “activity” that students do for fun. Lots of people still don’t see the value in it, and sadly, lots of those people sit on school boards.

If anyone in my community questions my team and the money we spend when we go to the World Championship I simply ask them…“If the football team was going to the state championship, would you question all the expenses involved in that?”

The answer is, of course they wouldn’t. It costs more to maintain a football field for a season than it does for ALL of my robotics expenses. (let alone actual football costs…pads, helmets, jerseys, refs, coaches, buses, bus drivers) If anyone ever questions the money spent on robotics don’t let them get away with it…I think people would be hard pressed to find a better value for the money than we get from VEX robotics.

Yeah our robotics team never gets heard about when we win. We win national competitions every year in TSA and excellence awards and tournament wins and the only people that know is our adviser and parents really. Like 4149G said, it’s mainly sports at most schools.

For 3 months I cold called businesses in our state to find sponsors, from multi-million dollar corporations to local hotels and manufacturing plants. If you’re determined to find extra money to pay for parts or expenses, you can find someone out there that wants to help out.

Furthermore, to participate in robotics you don’t have to end up being a lifetime card-carrying member of the Concussion Club. :slight_smile:

Then you obviously must mentor the exceptions. I see vex metal thrown around all time :wink:

For fundraising I usually just made our school look good. Stuff like being on the news for nonrobotics academic rewards and talking about how great the Robotics program was. Self-fulfilling prophesy really; the principal liked the school looking good and would be a little more lenient with giving our club money. More than a few times the school dipped into the supplies budget for our team. (This lead to quite awkward moments when my teachers mentioned not being able to buy markers for classes ;))

Also local University professor was so impressed with some of our members he dipped into his research grants to buy us parts.

Work Smarter not Harder

A local businessman set up an event near us where he invited area business leaders to compete against each other using the robots from various Vex teams in the area. The kids spent time teaching the business owners how to drive their robots, then they competed in a mini Vex event. It was not only funny to watch but made some teams some money. I was surprised at how many of the business leaders got really serious about winning. Some leaders even got shirts made and had driving lessons days before the event.

You could if your robot decides to attack you

The tides are changing in Massachusetts vis-a-vis robotics. Districts are moving more into the STEM areas and robotics fits in nicely with their story. I am seeing more district supporting robotics program in our region. With a vibrant community centered around QCC, it is growing well.

As for fundraising - promote the heck out of your team. Every little event, get it into the patch or local papers. The more visibility you have, the less local funders will wonder who you are and what are you doing. In the VEX community, there are many good examples of fundraising pitches teams have online.

Thanks guys! These are definitely great ideas and I’ll mention them to my team when we meet this afternoon, along with sending out letters to larger companies. Thanks again for your input! :slight_smile:


In a rural area, I would be talking to the farmers. You might be surprised at how high tech farming is getting and how they are seeing a need for young people to get involved in high tech solutions.

If your school has some sort of boosters club or some sort of fundraising club you could ask them for a donation and actually pitch how much money you need. And when you talk to businesses explain to them the financial support needed and how much money you guys need because if you don’t stress this they most likely wont give you that much. We are from California and have three teams going which for us cost around $19,000 so we have to do a lot of fundraising.

Definitely true. We live in a town of 200 people… Farming is one of the largest businesses around. The last two years while fundraising for worlds, most of the local farmers were quite generous.

You do on our team :stuck_out_tongue:

One of our high school robotics team made a campaign on Indiegogo to funds themselves for worlds last year and made $2,000, their goal. Kickstarter also works, but you only get the money if you reach your goal. Crowd funding websites are a pretty nice way to raise money, and you can encourage and give supporters rewards like 3-d printed logo and stuff.