Planning For Next Season (1) : Money and Fundraising

Throughout the course of this season, we have spent a good deal of money on motor controllers, motors, and other parts and pieces we needed for the robot. In doing so, we have all but drained our organizational account. So naturally, one of our big projects for this Pre-season is raising the money we will need for next season’s robots as well as some extra money for a number of different projects we would like to get up and going. Of course, we need ways of raising this money and that’s where some planning comes into play. We estimate that $10,000 will be plenty of money to get our projects going and to fund our upcoming season.
Our first major fundraising goal is to set up a Kickstarter Campaign for the teams. Although Kickstarter is more commonly used by small companies to kick start their businesses, it can also be used for simple fundraising. Our site will be set up to show both teams and what our past achievements are. The site should focus on the big purchases we will be making with the money we receive; two new laptops, a CNC machine, and a team server so that we can save all of our files to one location. We will also include information about the future Harding Middle school team who we will be glad to not only mentor on occasion but we would also mention that the Harding team will be able to use our CNC machine whenever they need to. This should help to make our cause more appealing to a wider audience. We hope to broadcast this around our school and Harding so that we might get more local donations. I feel that we will probably include some type of donation gift ranking. For instance, level one donors (less than $50) will receive recognition on our Kickstarter page as well as in our booth during competition; level 2 donors ($50 – $249.99) will receive a friendly brain-slug, and the level 1 gift; and level 3 donors ($250 and above) will receive a donor’s team shirt and the level 1 and 2 gifts. This is all open for modification, but as a rough estimate, I feel that it’s not far off from what we’ll likely end up doing. For this venture, I hope to make near the full $10,000. I know that that’s an optimistic prediction, but I also feel that it’s not totally impossible. I will still consider it a success if we raise $2,500.
Another fundraising idea, which we may pursue in the next few weeks, is setting up a booth in our school foyer after school and selling gum. This may seem strange and a bit unconventional to be selling only gum, but in our school gum is passed around like a drug. This may be an overly dramatic analogy but it’s not entirely exaggerated. It seems that at least once a day I will hear someone ask openly to the people around them “does anyone have gum?”. So I believe that this idea will likely be fairly successful; however with a relatively low profit margin, I feel that having a goal of earning $150 by the end of school year would be appropriate for this venture.
These two ideas are our most hopeful and our newest. We will continue to fundraise in our old way by requesting money from local businesses and looking for grants to accept.
With any luck, we will be able to raise the money quickly and easily via the power of the internet. If not, we will return to the drawing board and consider any other viable means of raising money.

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