Organising a Quiz Night can take months of preparation but can be very profitable, especially if you have some big-ticket prizes to attract the crowds. They also offer plenty of opportunity for parallel fundraising such as the sale of food and drink, raffles, as well as live and silent auctions. There are plenty of companies organise a trivia night for you, but they do come at a cost.
How to organise a quiz night
- Provide bags containing sponsor materials, pens and answer sheets on each table. Table names or numbers can be printed on the side, and they double as rubbish bags at the end of the night.
- Sticky tape envelopes containing spot prizes (such as scratch’n’win tickets or vouchers) under random chairs, and announce them part way through the evening.
- Be mindful of where you put speakers (ie not directly over a table).
- Leave a clear path between the back and front of the room, to ensure people have easy access to the marking table/bar/exits/silent auction etc.
- If you are encouraging people to bring food and drink consider taping cheap plastic tablecloths over the tables. It will be quicker to tear off the cloth and throw it away than wipe and clean tables at the end of the night.
- Leave space at the back (or front) of the room to display prizes, raffles and auction items.
- Make sure you have plenty of rubbish and recycling bins available.
Front of house
- The marking table should be located near the quiz master at the front of the room. Two people are recommended to mark for up to 20 tables.
- Pre-print a marking guide for each marker. For multiple choice questions ensure the answer includes both the letter/number and the answer itself. Provide a list of questions for the markers to reference if required.
- Be mindful of table space when printing extra rounds (such as identifying logos or flags). Double-sided or large A3 sheets can be cumbersome to mark.
- Get markers to agree in advance on partial marks for answers, and also if they will be awarding bonus points for extra information or funny answers.
- Have a clearly marked “in-tray” on the marking table for people to drop off their answer sheets so nothing gets lost.
- Have one person dedicated to entering scores onto a computer for the tally.
- Keep all the answer forms neatly collated in case there is a dispute about answers or scoring.
Technical considerations for quiz nights
- Quiz nights work best when everyone can see each question being projected onto a large screen as it is being asked. This also allows for visual questions such as identifying images, logos, maps or even video. This is easy to set up as a Powerpoint presentation.
- If you don’t have the technology for the Quizmaster to have a handheld remote to change slides, have a tech person person at or near the marking table to run the slide show. They need to work in sync with the Quizmaster to ensure they are not rushing them, or making them wait.
- The tech person can also be responsible for entering scores onto the leaderboard which should be displayed throughout the night. Someone clever in Excel can easily set up a spreadsheet which automatically adds scores each round and then converts the totals onto a visual display.
- Audio-visual equipment you are likely to need: microphone , speakers, screen and projector, lap-top for scoring and running powerpoint display.
- Borrow a bell from one of the teachers – you’ll probably need it to get everyone’s attention.
- Having a portable EFTPOS facility helps greatly when trying to get people to pay for their auction items. If you cannot arrange one, and people do not have the cash to cover their purchases on the night, let people know the prizes will be held until the payment is paid.
Quiz night questions and games
- If you Google ‘free quiz questions’ you will quickly get over 70 million results, but you can also customise your own questions depending on your particular crowd and how much time you have.
- Common categories include: sport, general knowledge, history, geography, music, movies and TV, and who am I. At our school, there is always a round that focuses on the school itself including local geography, meanings of the logo and school song, people and history.
- Rounds can also be based on themes such as words (each question should contain the same word such as ‘small’), colours (each question must have something to do with ‘red’), pets in the media (what was the name of the Brady’s dog? Answer: Tiger). You can use short two-second music clips and ask people to identify the song, show the outline of countries and ask people to identify them, ask about the national food/drink/costume/song from various countries – the list is endless.
- If you don’t fancy the idea of writing all the quiz questions yourself, you can purchase fully integrated quiz packs (including 8 rounds of questions, Powerpoint presentation, PDF answer sheets, and Excel tally spreadsheets) from Quizzards, a new Australian company. Fundraising Mums readers will get a $15 discount when they use the code ‘fundmums’ at the checkout.
- As well as having the Quizmaster call out questions, you can also have pre-printed table rounds which need to be completed during the course of the evening – this is great for visual items such as identifying car logos, wine labels, business logos, movie/Disney characters, books or albums just based on their cover art, or maps of the world.
Concurrent money makers
- As well as selling tickets to attend the quiz night, there are plenty of other ways to raise extra funds on the night:
- Sell food and drink (you will need a liquor licence and someone who has a Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate).
- Silent and live auctions
- For something visually appealing and a little bit different, try these two fundraising games using balloons.
- Consider whether you want to sell Cheat Sheets, where tables can ‘buy’ a correct answer for a cash donation ($5-$20). This needs to be done in an open way, promoting the Cheats at the start of the night, and perhaps limiting the number of Cheats each table can buy.
- Between rounds consider games that the whole room can be involved in such as Heads and Tails, the 50/50 Raffle or a One Minute Treasure Hunt. You can ask for a gold coin donation (you need to provide a decent prize) or just offer the game as a fun filler and chance for people to stretch their legs. Read here for even more fun games to play between rounds to make extra money.
- Cheating with smart phones (or texting a mate who is at home with a computer) is unfortunately an issue with quiz nights. Make an announcement at the start of the night explaining your rules for people who get caught cheating, for example: anyone caught cheating must give an automatic $50 donation to the fundraiser and there is a five point deduction for their table. And if you really want to up the competitiveness between tables, offer anyone who catches someone else cheating and dobs them in to the Quiz Master $10 of the $50 penalty.
Structure and timing
- A fast game is a good game, and Quiz Nights that drag on forever are unforgivable. Six rounds of ten questions is often enough, especially if you are going to hold a live auction or play games between rounds.
- Allow at least 5-10 minutes between rounds for people to buy drinks and go to the toilet.
- Consider having a longer 30 minute break midway through the evening for people to socialise (and buy raffle tickets or bid on the silent auction).