Raising funds for your robotics club or team
Would you like to introduce robotics in your school, start a robotics club or to participate in a robotics competition? Great! Demands of 21st Century STEM education can be thrilling, but it can be a challenge to find funding for your programs. Here are some tips to get you started on this journey.
Before You Start
The Big Picture
Donors and sponsors will not know your needs or goals. They are more likely to fund the materials you need if they understand why you need them. Bring your story and students to life for them! Providing the big-picture context for your project will help them remember the ideas behind your request.
Clarify your Need
The first step should be to write down what is driving you to look for funds. Why do you need funding? What are you hoping to accomplish?
Determine your Goals
Long-Term Goals: What are your long-term goals? What benefits do you hope this funding will provide for these goals? What do you hope your students will accomplish, long-term? These may be more abstract concepts, such as providing equal access to STEM resources, cultivating 21st century skills, or teaching students to collaborate on problem-based learning projects.
Short-Term Goals: What are your short-term goals? How will you plan on using these money to get your project started? What will you hope to accomplish with students first? Think of these goals as the stepping stones to your long-term goals.
Gather the Team
If you are working with other educators or administrators, get everyone involved on the same page. Talk through your goals and ideas. It’s not only good to make sure everyone understands why you are seeking funding, but they may have other valuable information to add to your pitch.
What exactly do you need for your grant? For example, how many VEX kits will request funding for? What other costs do you need help with? Be specific as possible. Do the math for the costs and be able to clearly outline the needs and timeline for the funds you are requesting. Sponsors and donors will want to be sure you understand how you are using the funds you are asking for.
Make your robotics club or your project visible. And be present online!
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc are a simple and effective way to get your name out there! And your students are sure enough big experts in it and will be eager to help you. Make yourself visible and share pictures, stories, objectives, milestones and progress of your project.
Where to Look for Money
There are multiple sources of funding available to schools and organisations today. Don't try to use all of them because it takes time and resources. If you are just starting out, focus on one or two tools to ensure success. It's up to you to choose the ones that will be the most relevant and adapted to your objective!
National and regional governments offer grants and subsidies supporting educational and STEM projects. Do not hesitate to ask your local municipality for advice and ask them about existing grants in your area.
Multiple companies and foundations provide funds to encourage student’s involvement in STEM and launch call for projects on a regular basis.
Our guide will help you get organized so you feel confident starting to write your grant application!
Businesses large and small, global and local can also support your good course and provide funding. Local approach in many cases works better, so try to approach companies in your community first.
When asking for sponsorship be clear about what you are asking for and what is the money for, but also be clear about what the organisation will get for their sponsorship money. Example, could their logo go on the team’s t-shirts or your competing robot or a post be put on social media? Invite staff to mentor the team, watch a VIP project presentation or give them some free tickets to the school show.
Involving students in fundraising can be a massive help and a major learning experience for them. Besides it’s a great team building exercise. Get them to participate, ask them to create a video pitch, and to spread the word! To be as creative as possible! They will surely have amazing ideas to help you in your fundraising.
Some fundraising ideas to get you started:
-Address your local business. Bakeries, sports clubs, stores near you, the local press are all people who can help you and talk about you too! Small donations can sum up in a very decent amount of money.
-Selling cakes and other sweets. In the morning at the entrance of the school, on a stand during a fair or on the weekend at a market, your little treats will always be a great success.
-Celebrating team member’s birthday to benefit the robotics club
-Organize a Zumbathon, a race or a sports challenge
-Give lessons or provide tuition in exchange for donations
-Organize a car wash
-Selling merchandise with robotics club or school branding
Involve people around
Network with others. Your network can be vital to your fundraising success. These days social media makes it easier than ever to hone your existing relationships as well as make new contacts.
Whether it's family, friends or colleagues, everyone can contribute to your fundraiser. By sharing your initiative regularly on your social networks, you increase your reach and your chances of collecting donations.
Use social media for a good course! Facebook allows non-profit organizations and private individuals to create a fundraising campaign.
In recent years, crowdfunding has grown considerably as a potential means of fundraising. There are a variety of websites that allow you to create a fundraising campaign virtually for any goal. Anyone who visits the site can donate an amount they want. Here are a few crowdfunding platforms to check out:
If you found funds
Congratulations! If you found funds you can start working on your project. Remember to thank your sponsors and donators. Recognise them in your social media posts. Keep them updated on your progress, share your stories and achievements, send a newsletter, invite them to the events. They will be very happy to see all the positive impact of the donation and will hopefully continue to support your good course in the future.