To help, we wanted to flag you to some potential funding grants that you could apply for, as well as provide some top tips for securing sponsorship.
Don’t forget that getting the team and their peers involved with fundraising can be a massive help. Whether it’s a car wash, bag packing, 24 hour sponsored sing-a-thon, or (dare we say it…) a cake sale, let the team get creative in how they can raise money. This will help bond the team and really contribute towards their Core Values.
Below are a few grants that you may be able to apply for at various points in the year. Make sure you read the application criteria and think about the wider impact the money may have (e.g. LEGO® equipment being used for the FIRST® LEGO® League as well as other learning experiences).
School Grant Scheme
Up to £600 for projects linked to the teaching or promotion of physics or engineering. There are three deadlines each year, in February, June and November. www.iop.org/schoolgrants
Engineering Education Grant Scheme
Up to £5,000 or £15,000 to support UK-based projects that teach young people about engineering or develop the skills of those who support young people.
There are two deadlines each year, in March and October. www.theiet.org/fund
Royal Institution’s STEM E&E Grant Scheme
Designed to help integrate STEM activities into school practice and to support teachers’ professional development. Activities should enrich or go beyond the curriculum and often use resources that are not readily available to schools.
Up to £500. Grants are awarded on a yearly or twice-yearly basis. https://www.rigb.org/education/stem-grants
Whether you are writing a letter, sending an email or meeting someone in person, here are some top tips for sourcing sponsorship:
- You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours
- Be clear about what you are asking for (e.g. what is the money for), but also be clear about what the organisation will get for their sponsorship money. Could their logo go on the team’s t-shirts, a thanks be sent out in a newsletter 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.
- Doing it for the kids
- Whilst organisations like to know they are getting something out of sponsorship, they also like to know that they are making a change. Let them know what impact their sponsorship will have on the young people. Maybe even get them to write their own letters or create a pitch video.
- Keep it local
- Teams often have more luck approaching smaller, local companies rather than large, multi-national companies. These companies like knowing they are helping their local community.
- Six degrees of separation
- You’d be surprised how many contacts to potential sponsors you can find from the team members. From an aunt who works in a local building company, to a family friend that runs a local shop, you don’t need to look far to find the people you need.
- To quote the great philosopher Jessie J, “It’s not about the money, money, money”
- So, a lot of the time money will help, but remember that organisations may be able to donate things other than money. The materials to build a practice table, a box of LEGO® or site tours are all things that can massively help.