A Trivia night could be the answer to school fundraising

How to host a Trivia Night Fundraiser

A Trivia Night Fundraiser can be a challenge….

The board game Trivial Pursuit was invented in 1979. More than 30 years on, we still love trivia. In fact, many of us can probably recall attending a trivia night that involved excessive consumption of food or alcohol and a really great time with friends.

Brisbane based occupational therapist Cheryl Kotzur, has picked up on our growing desire to overindulge and rowdily answer questions, successfully running four trivia nights at her children’s school. Mrs Kotzur grew up playing trivial pursuit with her sister. She always loved trivia, but it wasn’t until recently she realized she could incorporate her question answering talent with fundraising at her son’s school.

Each month Mrs Kotzur would go to the schools P&C meetings unsure whether she had the “right talents” to participate at the school, but after being suggested by another parent to run a trivia night, it seems she has found her calling. The first night she ran was “a positive and terrifying experience,” Mrs Kotzur said, but she is now in full swing of the gig.

She said the most important barrier to overcome when organizing a trivia night is to make the participants feel confident about answering questions. “You want people to think, I know a bit about that, I can bring something to the table,” Mrs Kotzur said. And this is where the questions come in. Having questions that stimulate conversation help to remove the “I’m not that smart mindset” and create a relaxed conversational atmosphere. “You want people not to know the answer straight away but for it to come up in conversation,” she said. Mrs Kotzur suggests checking with friends to see whether there is ambiguity in the wording or spelling of the questions and set down ground rules for the participants on the night. “Make sure you cover all bases, such as, whether incorrect spelling will constitute a correct answer,” she said.

When looking for sponsorship, state, federal and local Members of Parliament are often keen to help out. Kevin Rudd even donated a bicycle to Mrs Kotzur’s last trivia night. “Inviting the MP along to draw the raffle is a good way to engage the sponsors,” Mrs Kotzur said. She also encourages sending thanks certificates to the sponsors and putting their names on question sheets and in school newsletters.

As for promotion, the school newsletter and board is a good place to start said Mrs Kotzur. However, word of mouth is still the best form of advertisement. “Just make sure you tell all your friends!” Mrs Kotzur said.

Cheryl Kotzur’s top four tips for a successful trivia night:

1. There isn’t an ‘I’ in team.

A trivia night is a lot for one person.

“Delegate to other people, be clear on expectations but let them run with their creativity”.

2. My, what a lovely hat you are wearing.

Have a theme for the night.

“If everyone has to dress up as a Disney character, for example, it helps break down conversational barriers and you can model questions around the theme”.

3. Wisdom is an organized life.

Have a running sheet on the night to keep on time and don’t forget to explain Occupational Health and Safety!

4. Have fun!

“Trivia nights are not so much about the final answer to the questions but a fun exchange that gets people talking”.

Originally published 25 August, 2014

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