Thanks to the flexibility of trivia as a form of entertainment—it can be for adults or for kids, it can be simple or complicated—Big Quiz Thing customized quiz events can serve a wide range of purposes beyond mere entertainment. And one of our favorites is the raising of funds for a worthy cause. In our long history of trivia event production, we’ve designed fundraisers for many a fine charitable organization: schools (see sidebar), animal charities, churches and synagogues, medical causes, you name it. These events are uniquely exciting, since one thing we’ve discovered—and it’s hardly a surprise—is that when you introduce a competitive element, the fundraising potential gets an extra boost.
So how does a typical fundraising event raise those funds? It’s pretty straightforward: People buy tickets (sometimes at inflated cost, knowing it’s for a good cause), expenses are kept to a minimum, QED. The more ambitious fundraiser will include a raffle or auction to entice attendees to pitch in more dough, and what our trivia fundraisers do—aside from provide the event’s entertainment—is put a different spin on that raffle/auction aspect: We can add an element we cheekily refer to as “Fundraising Cheats.” Before the trivia competition gets under way, guests are offered the chance to purchase unfair advantages (in the form of poker chips; $5 each is a ballpark price). Then during the event, client reps wander the room, administering the cheats. When a team hands in a chip, they earn one of the following advantages…
30 seconds on a smartphone: The client rep begins timing, as one member of the team starts searching on their device. After 30 seconds, the volunteer calls time and the phone must be put down. Any wisdom gleaned from the Web can then be used to help answer the question.
First letter: The volunteer is equipped with a list (which we will supply) with the first letter to each answer. The team picks a question and they’re told the letter. (In the case of a question with two ½ point answers, they get both letters.) Note: “First letter” does not include articles like The and A, and if the answer is a person’s name, we give them the first-name initial.
Double points: A team can designate any question to be worth double points—so for most questions, a right answer earns 2 points rather than 1 (though if they pick one of the game’s 2-point questions, they can earn 4 points). In exchange for their chip, the volunteer tells them to check a box below the answer field in our digital answer system. (Or, if we’re playing on paper, the volunteer gives them a sticker to add to their answer sheet.)
Reenter the stand-up interlude: During our either-or interlude game (e.g., “Ben & Jerry’s Flavor or Rock & Roll Band?”), an eliminated player may cash in a chip to reenter the competition. (Sometimes we keep this element secret preshow, springing it on the guest as the interlude begins.) Note that this cheat tends to extend the interlude, as defeated players pay to reenter again and again, and the segment can last beyond what is ideal from a performance perspective (or getting-home-in-time perspective). So the client needs to make a choice: Do we limit each guest to one reentry, keeping the length more manageable, or do we say heck with it and collect the maximum amount of cash? We can advise, of course.
As with every Big Quiz Thing custom event, we work directly with the client to craft the ideal trivia event for their purposes, so these gimmicks are mere guidelines. (We’ve had clients suggest their own cheats, and we’ve had clients who wanted us to avoid the word “cheat”—particularly schools [see sidebar], and you can imagine why.)
Contact us today, register for a free consultation, and let the knowledge (and funds) flow…
Trivia Fundraisers For Schools: Educational And Entertaining
A large proportion of the Big Quiz Thing’s fundraiser clients relate to that most vital of services, education. (After all, the children are our future, Whitney Houston once said.) Working with schools is always fun, whether it’s for just the kids, families together, or folks who’ve hired a babysitter to have a fun night out sans offspring.
A quiz show is the perfect entertainment for an educational fundraiser since, let’s face it, a trivia game is itself educational, a (fun) test of general knowledge. Or not-so-general knowledge: For most custom events, we don’t write a top-to-bottom new set of questions; we do offer a bespoke-trivia option, but it’s rare that a company asks for an entirely new collection of material. Yet one of our most stalwart educational-charity clients, Breakthrough New York (and its West Coast spinoff, Breakthrough Silicon Valley) really puts us through our paces for its annual gala: It hosts an “Are You Smarter than a Breakthrough Student?” spectacular, for which we design a quiz using nothing but BTNY’s middle-school-age after-school program curriculum. The result is fun, exciting, and—as it turns out—great for raising money.
But with any private or corporate event, it’s important to keep the focus on the client (we’re the hired help, after all), and that’s especially true of a trivia fundraiser: The guests need to remember what cause they’re supporting (and why). And in Breakthrough’s case, we always want to spotlight their young scholars: the kids whose lives they transform, as it were. So every year, we visit a Breakthrough school and recruit a few of the more outgoing kids to ask a few questions on camera, and screen it for the guests at the gala, effectively letting each kid serve as quizmaster for a question. It’s a nice touch, and a fun one. And fun is the biggest reason we got into this business: Contact us today and let’s have fun, and raise funds, together.