How to run a successful quiz night

Quiz games and events are great for fundraisers or for corporate events or any social gathering. Running quiz nights can even be an income generator for facilitators or freelancers in the entertainment industry.

It’s not just about the questions either – running interesting or enjoyable games and activities, providing quality prizes, and other things are all keys.

Run a tight but flexible schedule. Don’t drag it out too long. If you take the early rounds too slowly, you’ll have the rush the final rounds. Have a few games/activities up your sleeve to insert or remove should you be well off schedule. Prepare and practice! Test any electronic gear (projector, laptop, etc) so you don’t end up stuck on the night with something not working. Read more quiz night tips.

Provide a good range of prizes, especially prizes for the winners that can be easily split among a group of people. Get some quiz night prize ideas.

Involve as many local businesses as possible – the more giveaways, prizes and auction items the better. Find out how to get quiz night donations easily at the end of this article.

Mix in games and activities for those who aren’t as confident with general trivia. It’s also a good way to bring in more money for your fundraising cause, especially auctions. Regular games like Heads and Tails are very easy to run and give people a break from sitting and answering questions. Get quiz night game ideas.

Quiz Night Tips

Getting Quiz Night Donations

Don’t let your quiz night run on too long! There’s nothing worse than spending three-quarters of your night on half the rounds, then having to rush through the other half of the rounds in a quarter of the time. The rounds will always take longer than you think they will, plus you will probably start at least 20 minutes later than expected! A good quiz night has about six rounds, plus a couple of games and ‘table rounds’.

If possible, get your hands on a laptop computer, a projector, and projector screen. Be prepared and have all your questions in a PowerPoint (or similar) presentation, and display the questions on the screen, as they a read out by the Quizmaster. This will reduce people yelling out and constantly asking the Quizmaster to read out questions again because they did not hear them in time.

Do a practice run before the guests arrive and make sure the Quizmaster can be heard from all parts of the room VERY clearly. The Quizmaster will sound louder in an empty room than what they will sound in a room full of people. If you don’t make sure the audio is enough, people will yell out from the back all night that they can’t hear.

Spread your questions out so that they will cater to a cross-section of ages, sexes, and interests. This will keep all the guests interested and enthused. Make it too easy and you will frustrate the better and more enthusiastic tables; make it too hard and you will lose the others – a compromise is best.

Allow one of your Quiz Night rounds to be a ‘bonus’ round – where a table can nominate one of their rounds, before it has been judged, to count for double points. For this, it is best to make sure all the Quiz Night rounds add up to the same amount of points. However, make sure that if all your rounds do not add up to the same amount of points, you exclude those higher point rounds from the ‘bonus’ system.

Establish your rules on mobile phones, cell phones or Blackberries and announce these before the first question is read – will tables lose points if they are caught using one? Will the phone be confiscated?

Checklist

Quizmaster’s questions and answer sheet

Quizmaster’s microphone and lectern (if required)

Refreshments for Quizmaster

Blank answer sheets for all tables

Judges answer sheets

Appropriate seating and refreshments for judges

Small empty bowls/cups on each table for coins if you are playing games that require participant donation, such as ‘two up’

Laptop, projector, projector screen and someone to operate it – if you’re putting your questions up for display

Suggested Quiz Night Plan

Quiz Night Prize Ideas

Round One

Round Two

Round One answers

Short game

Round Two answers

Round Three

Round Four

Round Three Answers

Round Five

Break (15 – 20 minutes)

Round Five answers

Round Six

Short game

Round six answers

Answers for ‘table rounds’

Results

Mention of sponsors/donors

Prize presentation

Quiz Night Questions

Quiz Night Questions

Unless you are running a particularly tight theme, the questions for your quiz night should cover a broad range of topics so that as many participants as possible enjoy the event.

While some quiz nights or trivia nights have all their questions mixed in together in general rounds, having fixed topics for rounds provides for better use of pre-emptive bonuses.

Example topics are:

Music

Sport

General knowledge

History

Today’s Events

Geography

Celebrities

Movies

Art

Each round should be a consistent number of trivia questions, usually 10-12. Try to avoid ambiguous questions and be prepared to accept multiple answers if there may be more than one that is correct.

For particularly challenging questions, consider making it a multiple choice or even true or false for a statement so that the quiz night is not too difficult.

Bonus Points

Many quiz nights incorporate a “joker” or “bonus” card that can be played on a single round of each table’s choosing. Whether you require people to play their joker prior to hearing the questions for the round or when handing up their answers is up to you. Keep in mind that rounds with fixed topics are more conducive to the former – it’s easier for a table who consider themselves strong with sport-related questions to play a joker prior to the sports round than merely “Round 5”, for example.

Table Rounds

As well as your typical trivia night question rounds, two or more table rounds are a great way for tables to kick start their night and fill in the gaps in proceedings. They’re also great ice-breakers for tables at which not all participants know each other.

Table rounds can be as simple as a sheet of paper for each round. You can specify at which point these need to be handed up. e.g., the first after Round 3, the second after Round 5, etc.

A few ideas for table rounds:

identify the corporate logos

name the movie from the identified scene

identify the famous boats

name the country for each of the pictured flags

name the owner of the famous cleavage depicted (guys love this one)

identify the country from its shape or location on a map

And always include Riddles. You can find a large range of riddles and Quiz questions and answers inside our member’s area.

Regular games and activities are essential to a good general-purpose quiz night. They make things more interesting, create some diversions from those with less general knowledge, provide great opportunities to feature your sponsors/donors and best of all give you a chance to earn more money for your cause.

Games to include in Quiz Nights

Quiz Night Prize Ideas

Here are a few quick game suggestions for your next trivia night:

Heads and Tails or Two-up

Either has a bowl/bucket on each table to allow participants to make their payment, or have volunteers roam around quickly to make a collection. Pick a price point whether it’s any contribution, fixed at 20c or a ‘gold coin donation’.

All paid participants then stand and elect to guess two heads, ahead, and a tail, or two tails. They do this by placing both hands on their head, bum or one on each.

When all have made their selection, a volunteer then flips two coins and calls out the result. Anywho did not guess correctly sit down immediately. The survivors make a guess for the next round.

Continue until you have a winner and hand out a prize.

Process of Elimination

As with Heads and Tails (above), all paying participants stand and a series of statements are read out (remember to prepare these in advance!). People who do not meet the successive criteria sit down until a sole winner remains.

Example statements are:

have a tattoo

are wearing socks

have more than one key in their pocket or bag

walked upstairs earlier in the day

have a member of the opposite sex within roughly one meter of them

ate breakfast that morning

Construction

Give each table an old newspaper and a roll of sticky tape. Within a specified time-frame the table’s members must cooperate to create the tallest free-standing structure they can using only those items. Add in any extra items you wish to customize it for any theme of the event.

Auction

An auction of major items can quickly bump up your count of money raised. Things like autographed sports memorabilia, weekends away at a local bed and breakfast, vouchers for quality restaurants or similar items are suitable.

Make sure that you have someone confident enough to act as auctioneer and get bids out of the crowd.

Silent auction

A silent auction at a quiz night can certainly be run in conjunction with the main auction and gives everyone smaller items on which to bid during breaks in the evening. Set up an area of tables with items, each with its own sheet describing the item, giving a suggested retail value, and then full of lines enabling people to leave their name, phone number or table number and bid amount.

Collect money from the winners later in the evening. Recommended items for a silent auction are bottles of wine, homewares, vouchers for gyms, restaurants or retail stores, etc.

Coin Toss/Roll

Often appealing for the guys in the crowd is more of a physical challenge. Set up a prize such as a bottle of spirits on a table or smooth floor and mark with tape a standing position a few meters away. Participants must throw or roll a coin to land it within a certain range of the prize. Routinely collect all but the closest coin at the time. Keep the name and table number of the reigning winner until the conclusion of the night at which time you can hand over the prize.

Promoting your quiz night or trivia night

Now more than ever are there a great number of ways to promote your quiz night to boost your turn out. Many tables who attend a trivia night will be groups of friends, work colleagues, teams from sports clubs or community groups or the general public.

You need to ensure that your message gets out to workplaces, friends, and relatives of any organizers, local groups and to quiz night fans via local press and community message boards.

You will likely need to create a printable A4 sheet with all the night’s details to post at various physical locations, but also create an email or web promotion for the night that you can spread via various networking sites and email. Encourage friends and family to pass it on to any people they know, especially at work.

Your promotion should clearly state the following at least:

time and date of the night (e.g., “7 pm for a 7.30 start”)

the venue, including details on where to find nearby parking

the cause for which you are raising funds

the cost of tickets for the night and whether they’re to be purchased prior or on the door at the night

a contact person, phone number and email address for inquiries and bookings

whether people are expected to bring their own food and/or beverages

Pricing

Typically, trivia nights are priced at around $10 per person. Particularly well-run, established and quality nights can be $15, or some might charge this or more and provide something in the way of refreshments on the night. For many, $10 is a magical price point for a group night such as a quiz night. Some may find $15 a bit steep so keep this in mind – you can always charge $10 per head for entry (or a flat fee per table) and then look to “financially involve” people more through regular games and opportunities like live and silent auctions!

Getting Quiz Night Donations

 

Send donation letters (or even better, deliver them personally) to local businesses – as many as possible. Walk a popular shopping strip dropping off a letter at each retail store, restaurant, etc. They can only say no, you have little to lose. In your letter, make sure you include the following information:

More about you or your organization

What is happening to the money you are raising – is it being donated to a charity? Is it being used for a specific project?

How much money do you hope to raise?

If you have held a quiz night before, how much money did you raise last time, and what did that money go towards?

How many people do you expect to attend the quiz night (ie how many people will the business be getting exposure to)

How will you promote the business on the night – verbally, on a big screen, on paper? Can business display advertising?

Include contact details – make sure you mention that you will be happy to come and collect the prize if required

Make it as easy as possible for each business to be involved. Remember that plugging their business on the night is trivial to do but would be attractive to potential donors.

And, of course, don’t forget to invite them to the quiz night if appropriate!

Quiz Night Prize Ideas

 

Good ideas for trivia night prizes are those that appeal to a broad range of people. Also, remember that a table of 8-12 people will need to split any final prizes (usually right after they’ve been awarded!), so a hamper that can be separated or movie tickets and bottles of wine make great choices.

Here are a few quick quiz ideas:

Restaurant vouchers

Beauty treatment vouchers

Gym membership vouchers

Sports game tickets

Movie tickets

Bottles of wine

Gourmet hampers

DVDs

Chocolates

Obviously, donors to your cause make a great source of prizes for the night whether they are for the final winners or winners of mini-games during the event.

Share this article

Leave a comment