Hey all, this winter I moved to a new school, and I was previously a part of a team at my old school. I was thinking of starting up a team at my new school; I’ve already considered most of the logistical aspects like what to purchase, who’ll be our “patron” teacher, etc.
But, the problem is, I don’t really know how I’m going to be able to raise funds for the team. I was wondering if anybody on the forum has had experience with starting up a team from scratch or just fundraising for their team in general and could give some advice on it.
Have you discussed the idea of starting a team and the potential fundraising options with the school officials? I’m going to assume that there are some specifics in fundraising related to what the school board will allow that you will need to figure out.
The next thing I would do (after speaking with the school and making sure they are on board / seeing what their requirements are) is to look into grants specific to Vex and ones general to robotics. They do have applications that can be filled out online (you may be able to get the full robot kit, for instance). You may have much better luck getting such grants if you can convince the school to apply for them.
As an independent team, we have a great deal of leeway for what we choose to do each season for funds (but we also have the burden of knowing that the only money we will get is what we bring in). Some ideas based on things we’ve done in the past:
- Team dues / cost splitting (IMHO, this is by far the easiest and most fair way to fund your team - but also the most expensive for individuals. It can be as simple as determining your estimated costs for the season and dividing by the number of team members, who each pay in that amount during the season. It can get complicated if the number of team members fluctuates, but charging monthly dues based on the same calculation can compensate for that to some extent.)
- Donations from family members / friends (such as GoFundMe or Facebook fundraisers)
- Donations and sponsorships from businesses (reaching out with demonstrations, flyers, booklets, emails, etc to businesses that you think may be willing to fund you)
- Standard fundraisers (bake sales, garage sales, working at restaurants for a day where they donate a portion of receipts, selling some items donated for free / low cost like candy bars, etc)
As a personal aside - I have found that the balance of money & work is often very uneven when doing fundraising. Often 1 or 2 team members (or their parents) will largely be responsible for the raising of all funds and the work involved with all the fundraising / outreach (and it can require a lot of work!). Be aware going into this that if you go the fundraising route it is entirely possible that you will end up doing all the fundraising work (regardless of how many are on your team). Also, keep in mind the costs in both time & supplies for fundraisers (bake sales, for instance, take an investment in baking time & raw materials cost - it is good if you can get a large number of people to make & donate baked goods).
Just for interest: Last year I’ve been to Worlds with the Irish team and wanted to, after finishing my exchange year and returning to Germany, fund a new team in Munich at my or my brothers school. Fought for seven months, presented Vex to several teachers and principals, even borrowed a competition starter Kit from the German resellers I had to send back in the end because it wouldn’t work out (main reason: no staff capacity). Has anybody an idea what to do next?
You could attempt to start an independent team.