Fundraising and Finding Sponsors

Recently we have been placing large orders to get new parts in for the robot before the state competition. These orders are not just big in quantity, but also in price. This in addition to the cost of qualifier and state registration is very quickly draining the funds we had built up from last year. In the current season, we have been terrible about seeking out sponsors to our teams, which has only made our problem bigger. A few days ago I decided that we needed to start fundraising and I made a point of taking some people from each team out to help me find sponsors.
Last year, we had decent luck in finding a few loyal sponsors that seemed very much on board with the idea of helping us out. Two of our local sponsors, Lowes and Hills Bank, asked us to come out and drive our robot around the store. This was a really fun experience and I loved watching the little kids who walked in the door react to the robot.
So far, this year is turning out very different from last. Lowes has already declined to be a sponsor, and many others are giving less than hopeful “maybe”s. Our only definite sponsor (with the exception of parent associated businesses) is Hills Bank, who gladly accepted our request and would like us to come in and drive our robots again.
Most disappointing of all was the rejection from our local ACE hardware. To say that we are frequent customers of ACE is a severe understatement. we go into ACE at least once every two weeks, but there have been certain busy weeks where we have gone in every day to pick up new screws, vacuum tubing and electrical wire (usually after finding out that the ones we bought the day before were the wrong size). Because of this familiarity with the store and the people who work there, I was really certain that they would sponsor us.
With our list of sponsors getting smaller, we may have to do some more searching to find sponsors willing to help us out.

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