Trivia Night tips to raise more money

Reader question:

We are in the beginning stages of organising a Trivia Night for later in the year. It will be the second time we have run one. We are a small country school and we are running the event in conjunction with our local CFA. Last year, when we ran the event, we only managed to raise $700. From the feedback received, the people who attended enjoyed themselves.

This year, we are wanting to make it “bigger and better” in the hope of raising more money. (Last year we only charged $10 for entry and had a raffle on offer – we didn’t run any other games during the night.)

I’m wondering if it is worth investing in a professional host? How good are they at “getting money out of people”? I surveyed members of our committee this morning about what they would be prepared to “pay for” and the concensus was that they’d pay entry and buy some raffle tickets, but wouldn’t pay to participate in games, etc. If the majority of the people attending come with that attitude (and stick to it), we aren’t going to make the “extra” that we are hoping for. What have been other people’s experiences??

Here are some tips from our Facebook community using a Trivia host and maximising your opportunities to raise money:

  •  You just need a good, energetic MC (any local councilors, teachers or parents might do it?) A few raffles, small silent auction and games can help. Don’t go crazy with the games – it can get too distracting, but some half-time games are always fun.
  • Local real estate agents are usually pretty happy to volunteer in exchange for leaving cards and branded pens on tables.
  • Is alcohol served at your event? We have ours at the local bowling club and a few drinks loosen people’s purses!
  • Games can make you heaps! We get 3 massive bottles of alcohol (a bourbon, a vodka, and a Baileys) and people can slide gold coins along the floor from a set point to the bottle. They can have as many tries as they like. Closest coin wins the bottle.
  • A game we found to be popular was to have a sheet with 100 squares on it. Sell each square for $2 which gives you $200. Then do a random number generator and whoever’s wins get $100 (and you keep $100).
  • Get some local businesses involved and ask them to sponsor a round for $100/$150/$200. For this their business is announced before the round commences as a sponsor, logos on printed materials etc. 8 rounds will get you $800 or even $1600 without much work.
  • Quiz hosts are great but not for extra money – they usually do free games more than squeeze more money from ppl. A quiz host is for you if you don’t have the time and resources to come up with the quiz and present and run the night all yourselves. Some also bring prizes with them.
  • Bump the ticket price to $150 per TABLE of up to 10 – then you don’t have to chase up individual tickets- the team leader will be doing that for you. You can still offer half tables and match tables together if people can’t get 10 friends together.
  • Bar- can you run your own bar? This is where the $$s are!
  • Perhaps a big-ticket item raffle for $10 tickets capped at 100 tickets or something and get the prize donated.
  • Balloon bingo. Helium balloons x 60 with raffle numbers attached. $10 per balloon. If your number is called, the balloon is popped and the last balloon standing wins $250. Make sure all balloons are sold before halftime and then start drawing numbers and popping!
  • Run a table sheet game that costs the table $10 or $20 to participate, which you would need 10 prizes for. Then they’re only chipping in $1 or $2 per person to enter. We had a sheet where the teams had to make as many words as they could from the name of our school – the team with the highest number of words won. You could do an A-Z name a Disney character or sports team or something.
  • You could also fine people $2 for touching their phones during play. Have a tub on the table.
  • One of the tricks is to scale the evening so at the end of each round all of the scores are close. If a team thinks they are too far behind to catch up they won’t enjoy themselves (and won’t spend $$$)
  • Our easiest moneymaker was a balloon pop. The Fundraising Committee spent weeks getting vouchers from local businesses and had them inside balloons. For $20 you could pop a balloon. We sold 70 balloons.
  • Do you have a local theatre group? Theatre people can make great MCs maybe look outside the box at those sorts of community groups and see if they would like to be involved.
  • We didn’t use a professional host. However, made the mistake of underpricing our ‘mystery’ bottles (charged $5) and envelopes ($10) high enough. We could have charged double and everyone still would have gotten a bargain. All items were donated. We also drew our Australian Fundraising holiday raffle on the night. Raffle sales started 6 weeks previously. We also had a silent auction on the night and $2 gold coin donation games on the night. With all these things we raised about $7,500 on the night. We had just over 120 people attend. If people are enjoying themselves they do tend to spend more.
  • $10 entry sounds way too cheap! We have our trivia night in a couple of week’s time and charged $20 per ticket or $200 per table. It sold out in minutes so there is definitely scope to raise the price easily. It was put to me that $20 is a cheap night out and I tend to agree. (We are in Geelong but there is a very diverse demographic at our school.)We have a small team do the quiz and a parent who is a natural MC read the questions. This keeps the costs down and I don’t think we would ever need a professional to run the night. We sell beer and wine at the bar and that makes heaps as we get specials from the local bottle shop and winery. We also do some dollar games.
  • Definitely open the invitations to the wider communities. Create a buzz – put out save the dates on Facebook and community notice boards.


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