Funding Your Team

There are many ways to successfully raise funds to support your team.  Your team is providing a valuable service to students, and there are organizations who want to support you.

If you missed the Fundraising for Teams presentation at the 2015 Coaches Workshop on December 5, you can download the presentation here.

Local Foundations and Businesses
Many local communities have established a foundation to improve the quality of their community.  Your team is part of that quality!  This list of community foundations is a good place to start your search.

There are additional family foundations and businesses in your local community that will be interested to support education initiatives, and might support your Science Olympiad team.  For instance, some Walmart / Sam’s Club stores support Education as a priority, and have been known to give up to $500.  Including a sponsor logo on your team shirt is an inexpensive way to recognize their support.

The common thread is that all of these organizations want to support important causes in their own community.  Your challenge is to find one that is a good match for supporting a Science Olympiad team.

Other Fundraising Ideas
There are many, many ways to raise money for your team, and each team seems to have it’s own preference for the type of fundraising that makes sense to them.  This list of “50 Successful School Fundraising Ideas“, is a good place to start considering the possibilities.  It is not comprehensive list, by any means.  For instance, one of the most important fundraising activities that our local High School uses to fund it’s Science Olympiad team is a can & bottle drive.  They do it “on steroids” and raise over $1000, mostly in one day. It is a load of work, but it is over quickly.  Other teams prefer to sell products and get a % of the price (e.g.,  pizza kits).  Whatever approach you choose, have a good understanding of both the time commitment and payoff.  Also it is best to get your team’s fundraising started right away in the fall, so that you can focus attention on science as the season progresses.

How to Apply for Funding
Many organizations will have their own application instructions.  Don’t be put off if the rules are written to specify the information they expect from a large non-profit organization.  You may not need all parts.  For instance, you won’t have an audited financial statement.  That said, many organizations are not interested to support a group as small as single team.  You are trying to find a good match.

For less-structured situations, there are 3 components  to organizing a solicitation package.  You can tweak and reuse it for many audiences.

  1. One-page (or less) summary of Science Olympiad and your team
  2. The simple version of your team budget
  3. Instructions for how they can sign up

Here is an example with additional comments.

Help us make this list of funding sources better
If you have a positive experience with a funding source that we’ve not mentioned or a different approach, please send us an email describing the success that you’ve had with it, so that we may share it with others.  Thanks!

School Aid Grant Funding
Again for the 2016-17 school year, the State of Michigan set aside $250,000 to support school districts with established or new Science Olympiad teams.  Yea!  All Michigan public school districts are eligible to apply by November 15, 2016.  Each district will be advised of the support available to them by December 15, 2016.    The primary difference from last year is that the grant maximums are per team, not per district.  A representative from your district will need to fill out the application at this MDE website.  Contact your school district to figure out who will coordinate the application.