How to Throw an Engaging Trivia Night Fundraiser
Lots of bars and pubs hold trivia nights. For those who are unfamiliar, these are events in which teams of people gather to socialize, eat, drink and answer trivia questions. Bars and pubs often hold trivia nights on a regular basis, which allows friendly rivalries between teams develop. Trivia nights can also be a great way to build camaraderie among people who already work together (for instance, an office’s accounting department could challenge the human resources department to a friendly trivia challenge). Sometimes there is a prize awarded to the winning team (taken from the trivia night entry fees), but often bragging rights will suffice as a prize.
A trivia night fundraiser is a wonderful fundraising event because, if done correctly, it can be so much fun as to cause people to forget that they are actually attending a fundraiser. This allows a trivia night fundraiser to become a successful recurring event because it does not exhaust your supporters. Though people enjoying attending well-executed fundraisers, they also associate them with giving something up (usually money). Thus, if you can design a trivia night fundraiser such that it raises money and is exciting enough that people would choose to participate in it even if they didn’t support your cause, it can become a successful recurring fundraising event.
There are lots of ways to raise money with a trivia night:
- The easiest way to raise money with a trivia night fundraiser is to charge an entry fee. Make sure to set the price of the fee low enough so that it doesn’t deter people from making your organization’s trivia night part of their weekly or monthly routine. You could also work with the host bar or pub to make it so that the payment of the entry fee entitles participants to a free beer. Thus, even reluctant patrons will choose to participate. Remember, if the bar makes more money than it usually would, your organization raises money and participants are happy, everybody wins.
- If your organization partners with the right bar or pub, you might be able to convince the owners to split the night’s profit with your organization. You can either have them contribute a portion of the profit out of sheer goodwill and a high likelihood of subsequent positive press coverage for the bar or pub or, with the understanding that your event will bring additional business to their establishment (you could split the night’s profit overall, you could receive the profit from the orders of the trivia night fundraiser participants or you could collect all of the profit that exceeds the profit made on a similar night when there is not a trivia night fundraiser). Be sure to talk with the owners about making this a recurring event (which would increase customer loyalty). Also, it’s possible that the owners might be willing to reduce the price of food and drinks for the night or just for trivia night participants. This would, of course, help you fill seats and raise more money. The bottom line: There are a lot of ways that your organization can work with bar and pub owners to generate extra and recurring business for the bar and money for your organization.
- Consider adding a 50-50 raffle to your trivia night. A 50-50 raffle is when people buy a raffle ticket, one raffle ticket is drawn and the owner of that raffle ticket receives half of all of the money collected. The other half of the money goes to your organization. Note: When planning a raffle, be sure that your raffle plan is in accordance with all applicable laws.
- An alternative method of raising money (and you’ll have to judge whether or not this is suitable for your supporters) is to charge teams for wrong answers in the following manner: You could have each team contribute $50 and transfer $1 to the prize pool every time a team answers a question incorrectly. When the event is over, the team with the greatest score (the most money remaining out of their original $50) can receive one half of the prize pool. The other half of the money can go to your organization.
Finally, be sure to capitalize on natural rivalries. While you can fabricate rivalries expressly for the purpose of team-building (as in the Accounting vs. Human Resources example above), you can also encourage fans of your city’s two main sports teams to face off, or groups representing both sides of any standing rivalry. This will make your trivia night fundraiser even more exciting.
If you’ve never attended a trivia night, check out the video below (skip to 0:51) to see how one English pub in Los Angeles, California, successfully runs its trivia night.
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