Need to Raise Funds? Trivia Night is the Answer

A perfect combination of raising money and having a great time. What is a trivia night?! Quiz games have been a popular pastime for generations, and were some of the first shows created when television made its entry into America homes.

Some of them remain today, and eventually an entire network was built to broadcast game shows. Something so ingrained in pop culture is sure to help you successfully raise money for your cause. A trivia night fundraiser just takes a little planning for a lot of return.

The Basics

Finding a venue will probably be easier if you are holding a trivia night for a school fundraiser. Anyplace where you can set up tables and chairs with enough room for everyone who wants to play will work.

You'll also need a table for the emcee, and maybe a microphone to make sure everyone can hear the questions, especially if your trivia night is held in a large space like an auditorium or gymnasium.

Answering trivia questions takes brain power, and to keep sharp, people need sustenance. Include a table loaded with snacks, hors d'oeuvres, and an assortment of finger foods, as well as sodas, or a big punch bowl. Don't forget plates, napkins, and cups. Let guests serve themselves so no one has to miss out on the fun.

Probably the easiest way to raise money with this event is to charge an admission fee per person at the door. If you put on a team trivia event, you can have teams pay a fee to compete.

If you prefer, rather than setting food out for people to serve themselves, you can have a concession stand and sell snacks and drinks to raise a little extra money. Or just include the cost of the refreshments in the admission fee.

Create the Game

There are a lot of trivia board games out there that come with hundreds, even thousands of questions. While this may seem like an easy route to take, be careful. They're copyrighted. It may not seem like a big deal in your small community, but it's still a good idea to heed copyright laws because your organization is most likely a legally recognized non-profit, and you must file taxes as such.

The last thing you want is to lose your non-profit status over a copyright issue. Besides, it's just more fun to make up the questions yourselves.

By creating your own questions, you actually open up the playing field a little. You won't be confined to any predetermined categories or information. Think up questions related to anything from history to art to film. You can even create trivia questions that pertain to your organization, or to your community. Giving people a chance to demonstrate their knowledge of where they live can give them a sense of pride that they wouldn't experience with pre-written, boxed questions.

Choose a Theme

Any category is fair game in a trivia contest, but to make it really interesting, and even more fun, come up with a theme for the event. Maybe have an '80s trivia night, where every question pertains to the decade's pop culture, films, music, movies, and news events.

Add a unique twist by asking everyone who attends to dress up in their finest—or wackiest—'80s outfit. Another idea for a theme is movies, and everyone can come in costume as their favorite movie character, actor, or actress. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Another fun theme is a Battle of the Sexes. Have your participants create teams of women and men to compete against each other. Ask the women questions about things men would usually know more about (cars, sports, etc.), and vice versa.

If you hold an event for grownups only, you can even make it a little more interesting with some adult-themed questions. Just know your group and how far you can take this without offending anyone. Remember, the goal is to raise money, not anyone's blood pressure.

Explain the Rules

Every game has rules, right? It's a good idea to make sure everyone knows the rules of your trivia event before you get started so there are no arguments or misunderstandings during the evening.

In this day of hand-held electronics, people have information literally at their fingertips, or at the touch of a few buttons. Being able to use the Internet to look up answers to trivia questions isn't just unfair or unsportsmanlike, it's cheating.

Ask everyone who participates to leave their cell phones or other hand-held devices in their pockets or purses so no one is tempted to search for answers.

Depending on how you've set up your trivia game, whether it's a few people ringing in to answer, or teams writing their responses down, ask everyone else, whether they're playing or watching, not to yell out answers, right or wrong. This can be distracting to the players, and just unfair to those who are trying to compete.

Decided beforehand whether your trivia competition will be set up for individuals, teams or both. If you go with teams, it's fun to have each team make up a name for themselves. It creates an atmosphere of camaraderie and sportsmanship, and is much more fun for everyone than just “Team Number One,” and so forth.

Don't forget to have a prize for the winning team!

Include Everyone

You can make your trivia night a family event by having at least one round set aside for kids. If there are kids in differing age groups, create questions that are appropriate for them so they stay engaged. Remember the goal for the event, after raising money, is to have fun!


  1. Katy says:

    Good tips, but trivial pursuit questions can be kind of boring. There are some sites that you can get well-written trivia questions (including audio questions and visual questions). I’ve bought from a couple, but my choice is Trivia Packs. They have lots of different types of categories and let me make a slide show instantly = saves me about 2 hours of creating slide after slide after slide. Good questions make a good trivia night. It’s so worth the price.

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