A trivia night is a really great way to raise funds for your school, club, or charity and it’s fun.
Each year we organise and run a trivia night to raise money for a local dog rescue group at my partner and I are involved with. This year we raised nearly $4,000 AUD and you can too.
Gather the troops
The first thing you need to do is get a few people together to divvy up the jobs.
1. Prize coordinator
You will need someone to do this and you will need quite a few of prizes for the night (some group and some individual). We found that many local businesses were happy to donate prizes, especially if you give them a plug at the trivia night. Some of the prizes included vouchers for dog portraits (you have a room full of dog lovers so that has gotta be a winner), play stations, bottles of wine, hampers of dog treats etc. Don’t forget you will need a “thank you” gift too for the Master of Ceremonies (MC).
We usually have a prize for first, second and last place. You will also need other prizes along the way including some things to auction if possible.
2. Venue and MC coordinator
Again, we managed to get this for free thanks to a local club. If you book well in advance that are usually happy to accommodate you especially if you manage to get about a 100 people to come along. That’s 100 hungry and thirsty people who a likely to eat at the club restaurant and dink at the bar. Of course we always make a point of thanking them at the end of the night and putting their logo on the screen at some point.
Our MC was a local radio personality who was also a dog lover. This kind of person is great as they are used to speaking publicly and are generally comfortable in front of a large crowd. From my experience, I’ve found that MCing at Trivia nights is not a new thing for many radio personalities and generally many are happy to help out a local community group.
3. Ticket sales
One of the most important jobs getting bums on seats! For this it is easier if you can sell tables rather than individual seats. This way people can get a team together of their mates and buy a table at a time. We usually have a maximum of eight people to a table which if you’re charging $20 a head works out to be $160 a table. If you have 10 tables that works out to be $1600!
Make sure you have someone on the night who can sit at the door with the kitty collecting payments as most people will pay when they arrive (although if you can get them to pay beforehand even better).
Remember to promote the trivia night anyway you can and to make it as easy as possible for people to book a table.
- Look at local online community forums they will usually allow you to make a post promoting your event.
- Draft up an email invite and send it to everyone you know these things have a way of spreading which is good news for your cause.
- Make some posters or ask any local businesses to put them up in their public areas. In our case we went to as many local vets as we could and generally they were happy to oblige.
- If you have a website, promote your event on the homepage and allow people to email their bookings through to your booking coordinator.
4. The Trivia Master!
Of course a trivia night is not much fun without a trivia questions so you will need someone to take charge of this. Quiz Night Chief is an easy way to take the hassle out of organising this side of your trivia night and already comes with a stack of questions in the question library. It also lets you print off a script for the MC which list all the questions and answers and when to read out what bits.
If your night is for a special cause, you might like to add some of your own trivia questions too. For example as our fundraiser is for a dog rescue group, we always include some dog questions and have also used dog related table games in between rounds.
3. Trivia night helpers
Put out the call to anyone who is available to help out on the night. You will need about three people to score the answer sheets (remember to ask the venue to set up a table for the scorers at the edge of the room). We always have a member of the organising committee on hand to help out with other things that pop up during the night. Such as getting messages to the MC or handing out the prizes etc. It helps if this person is the same person who organised the venue and found the MC as they will already be known to them.
You will also need someone to work the laptop during the night, especially if you are going to use the projection functionality which allows you to project the questions and answers on the big screen. This person should also be the central scoring point too and the person who enters the final scores for each round into the program so you can track who is in the lead.
You might also want to pick a theme for your trivia night this year we did 1920’s murder mystery which was heaps of fun. We put the invitation out there to “dress up if you dared” and we were really surprised by the number of people who turned up in feather bowers, suits and hats. It added another dimension to the night and we were able to pick up on this theme in the questions and table games. For example we had a 1920’s slang table game where each team had to match the slang to the meaning lots of fun!
If you pick a theme you should also make sure you have some prizes for the best dressed male and best dressed female.
You will need some supplies too such as enough pens to put a couple on each table. You will need to photocopy all the answer sheets before hand and work out any table games.
We have found that it is always helpful to get the MC to run through a few ‘rules’ at the beginning of the night. For example, the “judges decision is final”. If people want to challenge (or buy) an answer, they can but we usually charge them ? (which means more money for your cause in the end).
If you are going to project the questions and answers onto a screen during the night, you will also need to arrange the necessary equipment with the venue. We use our own laptop but the venue usually supplies the screens and the projectors. Depending on how big the room is and how many people are coming, you should also check with the venue if they can provide a microphone and speakers for the MC.
If you’re a naturally a bit nervous when organising things like this (like me), make sure you can all get together before the big night to do a dry run. You will need to double check that you have the right number of prizes, helpers etc. The last thing you want to do is realise that you don’t have a prize for first place on the night itself!
It goes without saying that you will also need to allow at least an hour before your first guests arrive to set up the room. Most venues will do the tables and chairs for you (you just need to tell them how you want to room to be set up eg. 10 tables of eight) but you will need to lay out the answer sheets and pens.
Finally make sure someone remembers to bring the camera along with them on the night so you can take some picture for your newsletter you are bound to have a great time.
Trivia Check list
- have enough pens
- the right number of prizes (both individual and group)
- need any equipment such as a microphone, laptop or projector
- have enough helpers for the night
- have the right change in the kitty for people who want to pay on the night
- have enough copies of the answer sheets
- have a “thank you” gift for the MC