Getting sponsorship can really help improve a vex teams chances of doing well so I thought I would put together a guide based on our own sponsorship experience. Here goes:
1/ Accept this is going to take time. So plan ahead, look for sponsorship now for next season.
2/ Make a list of companies you think might be interested in sponsoring a vex team:
Local businesses can be ok and are always worth a try but it might be easier to get sponsorship from a larger national or multinational company as your team will probably be going to competitions in a large area.
Companies which are in the technology, and engineering industries are more likely to be interested.
If you know someone who works at a company it is significantly easier to get the right contacts to arrange a sponsorship.
Try and list as many companies as you can. You aren’t always going to be successful.
3/ Write a really professional letter:
Try and write it so you can send it to many companies without changing it much. This makes it easier to contact all the companies on your list.
Explain what VEX Robotics is and who you are, how you can represent the company at competitions in front of dozens of potential engineers for that company (if appropriate).
Sell yourself - list all of your achievements, awards, experience.
Explain why you need the money and roughly what you would spend it on, don’t mention prices in your initial letter though.
4/ Send it to an appropriate person at the company. Try to find someone who is involved in education or otherwise the most senior person you can get hold of in that company as they can pass your request on to the right person.
5/ Wait for responses. Some may not respond. If a company is interested keep your reply’s formal and professional.
6/ If necessary try to arrange a meeting with your potential sponsor. This is the most effective way of communicating with them. Maybe bring your current robot along with you or pictures of previous robots.
7/ If your sponsors want to know how much money you would like think about it carefully. Think about everything you would need to make your ‘dream robot’ or anything you don’t have or need more of. You should be able to justify how much you ask for. Possibly giving reasons for why you want the kit and how it will improve your performance.
8/ If you do manage to get sponsorship make sure to keep you sponsors updated and represent them well at competitions. If you do so they may be prepared to keep sponsoring you for the next season as well.
I hope this helps.
Feel free to ask me questions, correct me or contribute to this further as I think everyone should have the best chance at sponsorship.