I had the honour of having a very informative chat with Kara Leigh – the current Vice President of the Jindalee State School P&C – about their annual Games Night. This school is located in a western suburb of Brisbane and has 800+ students.
They host this very popular fundraiser at the beginning of the year – April 22nd this year. The planning, organising and advertising for this very much awaited and hugely favoured fundraiser, started in December of last year – although Kara admits the majority of the work started in January with the tickets going on sale only 9 weeks before the event.
Transformation of a fundraiser
I was told that way back in 2009, this event used to be run as a “Trivia Night” and it has slowly transformed into the current “Games Night”. This year, the theme was “Destination Unknown” and it had over 184 people participate. Tables were sold based on a country and participants were invited to dress up and encouraged to keep in mind the country they were tabled at.
Along with dressing up, the table guests were able to decorate their own table – there was only a white table cloth as their blank canvas. This was a great way to increase participation and added to the excitement of the whole event.
There were lots of games including a Scavenger hunt with the added twist of Musical chairs (one chair being removed each time a candidate went to look for an item) – which sure sounded like a belly of laughs! There were General Trivia rounds to be won, a Bingo styled game, a gold coin donation Heads or Tails game and a Crossword game too.
What caught my fancy – especially after I saw the photographs on their Facebook page – was the Hungry Human (hippo) game. Skateboards were donated by the school’s afterschool program; the costs of plastic balls and baskets were budgeted for. The Games night also included a Cent Auction, which progressed into a not too quiet Silent Auction, so morphed into a Live Auction.
Early bird ticket costs were $20/pp, and post 9th April were priced at $25/pp – Kara was telling me that over 130 tickets were sold long before the early bird tickets were even announced. In fact, the event was so popular that the P&C had to add 2 additional tables, to the already sold 18, by the time the tickets went up for sale. They didn’t even have to print flyers or do any other form of advertising, as just the announcement of the event sold tickets like hot cakes!!!!
The price of the ticket gained you entry on the night. Once there everything had a fee – the games, the silent auction, drinks, food etc.
The event organisers managed to secure three separate local businesses as sponsors ($300 each) and a grant of $250 ( from the local Regional council nonetheless).
The P&C also had an online ticketing system, which not only furthers the ease of buying the tickets but is a very efficient way of advertising their sponsors. Tickets were then distributed within the school community.
With the help of between 16-18 volunteers, set up started early on the morning of the event.
A parent kindly donated a giant aeroplane made out of balloons. Some clever volunteers managed to put a spotlight on the plane so it became the feature of the ‘Mile High Club’ Bar. The menu of the bar was put on each end of the table with their table number clearly in view to help with ease of ordering.
Another sensational idea that Jindalee P&C had was to allocate 1 table, free of charge, to the school staff. This encouraged them to attend and have a great night with the parents!
The Principal, Deputy Principal and school admin even dressed up as ‘Air hostesses’ and were the MC’s for the evening!
This, to me, shows how great the lines of communication are between the P&C and the school…something we don’t see enough of.
We all know that after a big event there is the clean-up to be done… The P&C hosted a ‘cleaning up party’ with the support of the school.
With so much fun, with so much hilarity and with such great community engagement – the Jindalee State School P&C Games Night set off the Fundraising year with a bang!
Richa Joshi – Freelance Writer for the Fundraising Directory