How do I (a robotics team coach) rescue a failing GoFundMe campaign, offering STEM & Robot Themed playing cards as a reward, and not let my students down?
I posted this on LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora & Reddit but not getting any answers.
So, I am new coach of a Rookie Robotics Team ENIGMA FTC.
ENIGMA 16265 FTC Robotics Team
We are a community team in Alb. NM and currently have 9 students participating, 5 girls ages 12–16 and 4 boys ages 13–15. We don’t have the backing of any school so my daughter and I started a 501C3 Applied Dynamics Initiative to help raise funds and open up opportunities for our community that my daughter has experienced through robotics.
We’ve discovered that starting a rookie robotics team is very expensive as we are responsible to get all of our own power tools, hand tools, tool chests/cabinets, workbenches, electronics, computers, robot parts, competition field / game pieces for programming, uniforms, materials to build a pit, merchandise to give out at competitions, and we travel a lot for competitions. We didn’t want to just ask for money so we come up with a way to give our supporters something awesome for helping us out. Remember many of these students will go on to receive scholarship opportunities due to the professional skills learned while participating in competitive robotics.
So the kids came up with creating a set of STEM & Robot themed playing cards to offer as a reward for our supporters. Our first plan was to put them on Kickstarter as we would need to raise $2500 to get the cards at a decent price ($5 a pack) and $7200 for a good price ($2.25 a pack) and then have them printed and shipped. Our overall budget is about $8k for this first year, following years we will only need to raise 1/3 of that since we’ll then have all of our tools, etc.
Turns out that Kickstarter does not allow nonprofit projects so we ended up going with GoFundMe. The kids created a great video that explains the story and we came up with the copy and posted it. The campaign is listed here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-robotics-team-stem-playing-cards-fundraiser
So far in the first week we’ve had little response. I thought it would be easy to get 500 or so people that would drop $20 helping out the kids and getting a nice gift for their future STEM student or robotics enthusiast. I guess I’ve underestimated how hard this would be and I don’t want to let the team down.
Some are already getting discouraged, and I know I am.
In the form of an answer I would say that if someone else is thinking of taking this route, maybe do more research first.
Russ, Isabel and Team Enigma https://enigmaftc.com