Trivia nights appeal to a wide range of ages and people. Everyone enjoys showing off their knowledge and learning more interesting and little-known facts. It is a good way to combine an evening, at the pub for example, with a brain-stimulating and conversation-making activity. Because it is such a popular form of entertainment, trivia nights are often used for fund-raising. A trivia night is cheap and fun to organise and the prize doesn't have to be very expensive, as the winners achieve satisfaction in their superiority of knowledge. Assuming reasonable numbers turn up, it is an extremely efficient way of raising funds.
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Plan your trivia night well in advance, as you will need to start advertising at least two or three weeks before the event. Decide when and where you will hold it, what time it will start, what the entrance fee is, the maximum size of teams (10 people or fewer, ideally) and what the prize is. Prize money and entrance fee will be relative to the amount of expected participants. Book your selected venue.
Print leaflets and posters displaying the pertinent information, along with the charity you are supporting, if it is a fund-raising event. Trivia nights held in church halls, pubs and social clubs can be adequately advertised with posters in and around the locations themselves. Larger venues may warrant a call to the local radio station, an advertisement in the local paper and some leaflet distribution.
Compile your trivia quiz. You can buy ready-made quizzes and questions, but it is more fun and satisfying to do it yourself, as well as cost-saving. You will need between 60 and 100 questions for the quiz to last a couple of hours or more. Set themed rounds with 10 questions in each. There are lots of online resources to help you. The Trivia Plaza website and Triviala are two of many free online trivia quiz sites. Use encyclopedias, too. Try and mix up your fact-finding sources to get a good variety of material.
Print out answer sheets for the contestants with numbers for the answers to be written down by. Remember to leave a gap between rounds and label the different rounds. Also print master answer sheets listing the questions along with the corresponding answers. Print enough for you and your friends who will be helping you.
Write a list of things to remember to take with you on the trivia evening, so that you are not rushed and panicked at the last minute. On the night, you will need a portable microphone, if the venue is large; plenty of contestant answer sheets; master answer sheets for the scorers; enough pens or pencils to provide one to each team; a few red pens so that the papers can be marked quickly and clearly between each round; a cash box for entrance fees; the prize, or envelope containing money and a calculator to add up the final scores.
Tips and warnings
- Ask local businesses for donated prizes if you are fund-raising, or allocate roughly half of your expected entrance money for the main prize. Booby prizes for the losing team and for the team providing the silliest answers add to the fun and cost little by their very nature.
- Get a friend to look after the cash box and prize money while you concentrate on hosting the quiz.
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