REC Foundation's competitive robotics programs remain among the most affordable available, but team expenses can add up over a season. Determining how much funding your team needs, and identifying sponsors, donors, and fundraisers ensures that your program remains sustainable season after season.
Before you begin fundraising, you should consider how much funding you need. A great place to start is to make a list of the items your team needs based on the size of your team and their goals. Knowing exactly how much money and what you will need it for will make your fundraising more efficient and effective.
Fundraising for a robotics team begins with an understanding of your program and your community. In high-tech areas, there may be technical or educational companies excited to demonstrate their investment in student robotics. In smaller communities, there may be businesses who see your team as a valuable advertising opportunity. Mentors, parents, and extended families can leverage personal connections to companies willing to support your program in exchange for displaying their logo on team shirts, banners, or robots.
Many teams' schools will cover the costs of team registration and equipment. Contact your school's Career and Technology Admin or Department Chair to see if funding has already been allocated for Robotics. If too few funds have been allocated, discuss your team's needs with decision makers. Be sure to provide specific costs and the overall benefit of the program.
Nearby Robotics Programs
Reaching out to other robotics coaches in your district or area is a great way to get ideas for fundraising. If there is a University nearby, check with them to see if they have a VEXU team and if they have any opportunities for sponsoring your team.
Team Engagement Managers
RECF has wonderful Team Engagement Managers (TEMs) who are always willing to help. Because each region is unique, your TEM may be able to offer you suggestions for local fundraising opportunities in your area.
Sell Team Swag
A great way to raise funds and awareness for your program is through swag. T-shirts with your team logo, team number, and school name are usually an easy sell to students, teachers, and parents at your school and in your community. Local printers may already offer a discount for fundraising efforts for school-affiliated teams. Check with your school's budget clerk or sports program directors to find out which vendors in your area offer the best deal.
Club Donations and Fees
Many schools allow student-run clubs to raise funds and accept donations to benefit that club. Check with your school's business clerk or administrator for rules in your school district. These school clubs are usually able to operate as nonprofit organizations, which can be attractive to potential donors. A club may be a great way to generate revenue for your program, and may be allowed to charge a small student registration fee to help offset some team expenses.
Host a Summer Camp
Hosting summer camps is a great way to engage your community, recruit new members for your team, and raise funds. Check out camps.vex.com for everything you need to run an exciting robotics summer camp.
Host a VEX Event
VEX IQ, VRC, and VEX U event are run by volunteer Event Partners (EPs). An EP can host VEX robotics competitions and workshops, charge registration fees, and sell concessions, t-shirts, and team-produced swag (e.g., 3D printed keychains). These funds can then be used to help your robotics program.
REC Foundation Resources
The REC Foundation is pleased to offer our community a selection of resources to help support your team and program all season long. Our unique offerings may provide the boost you need to keep your team competitive!
REC Foundation Team Grants
Through the generosity of our sponsors, our Team Grant Program matches schools and organizations that are interested in adopting the world’s largest and fastest growing academic robotics competitions with the program resources necessary to get started. This unique program allows the REC Foundation to provide the resources needed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
DonorsChoose.org allows people to donate directly to classrooms in need of VEX Robotics equipment. This document is designed to help make the process as quick and easy as possible.