How to Run a Virtual Trivia Night Fundraiser – A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Run a Virtual Trivia Night Fundraiser – A Step-by-Step Guide

virtual trivia night fundraiser

Trivia nights have been popular for years, but it was only recently that these games turned into online fundraisers. Hosting a virtual trivia night fundraiser allows nonprofits to reach a larger audience, offer more benefits to sponsors, and encourage donors to become online advocates for the organization.

This article walks nonprofits through the steps needed to hold a virtual trivia night.

  1. Create a budget and finalize even goals
  2. Create a team
  3. Choose a theme and questions
  4. Find sponsors
  5. Add a raffle, silent auction, or other games
  6. Create ticket packages
  7. Market the event
  8. Start the game
  9. Thank and engage donors
  10. Get feedback and track analytics

Step by Step Process to Run a Virtual Trivia Night Fundraiser

how to host a virtual trivia night fundraiser

Trivia nights are an easy fundraiser to hold. The ease of running this type of fundraiser makes it very popular with parent and student groups. The following steps can be followed and adapted to fit your organization and fundraising goals.


1. Create a Budget and Finalize Event Goals

The first and most obvious step is to plan your event. This includes choosing a location, date, and time among other details. Before deciding on any of these details, you must create a budget and determine your financial and other development goals.

It is best to look to past fundraisers when deciding on a budget. If your organization regularly held a trivia night, this should be simple, but if not, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will you sell tickets to the virtual event?
  • How will you collect donations?
  • Will you include other games or events within this trivia night?
  • Do you have plans to have a raffle or a silent auction?
  • Do you already have the technical supplies needed to hold a virtual event or will you be purchasing a new system?

2. Create a Team

how to host a virtual trivia night fundraiser

Virtual events are no different than other fundraisers in that they will take a significant amount of time and effort. Never try to run an event on your own. It is best practice to build a fundraising team of board members and other volunteers. A virtual event will be held entirely online, so it is best to find volunteers who are comfortable in that medium.

Your team members will need to be social media ambassadors and comfortable promoting and advertising events. If you have never live-streamed before, you will also need a team member who can record and live-stream your event.


3. Choose a Theme and Questions

After coming up with a budget and forming a team, you should ask yourself what other goals you hope to accomplish with this event. An event is an excellent way to promote your organization to a larger audience, and another way to strengthen relationships with your current donor base.

A virtual trivia night can have a theme targeted to a specific audience. For instance, if you are hosting a trivia night for a school team you can choose trivia questions specific to the team or sport. If you hope to find a larger audience, you can hold a holiday event or create a theme with a global appeal. You should also vary your questions to ensure all teams can answer or at least have fun trying.

For example, the below campaign is focused on a virtual trivia night. Next Gen is an educational nonprofit that held this event, specifically targeting students and themed around nerd culture. It’s a simple yet effective online campaign with precise descriptions and a robust donation form.

virtual trivia fundraiser


4. Find Sponsors

Team members can also help your nonprofit find sponsors for a virtual trivia night fundraiser. Virtual events may not be as flashy as in-person galas, but thanks to technology, online events can reach a larger audience. Companies have come to realize the benefits of supporting nonprofits online and having their names linked to a mission.

When creating your sponsorship packages, find ways to include the online marketing opportunities companies will have by supporting this event. A few of these perks include:

  • Online branding opportunities before, during, and after the event
  • Companies can create videos to be used during the event
  • Companies can include trivia questions of their own

5. Add a Raffle, Silent Auction, or Other Games

Many trivia night fundraisers include fundraising tools like silent auctions and raffle tickets. Hosting a virtual trivia night does not mean you must forgo these benefits.

Silent auctions can be held online through online fundraising solutions like Donorbox. Your organization can collect products and create an online form sharing images and details on each product. After adding this page to your website, you should share them weekly on social media and by email. People can start to bid on these items before game night and the winners can be announced during the evening.

Other than silent auctions, nonprofits can also invite players to purchase raffle tickets or mulligans to raise even more money for your organization. Players can buy raffle tickets during the game and at the end of the night, your nonprofit can announce the winner of the game and the raffle. The opportunity to win something will entice more players and donors to your event.

Check out this below campaign – not a raffle game or a silent auction but they have held an online scavenger hunt game along with their trivia night. The winners of the game get gifts throughout the night. Depending on their donation amounts, donors also get snacks delivered to their homes.

virtual trivia fundraiser


6. Create Ticket Packages

Selling tickets to a virtual trivia night fundraiser can get tricky. Some supporters will have issues with paying for an online event, but there are ways to make the costs worthwhile. Your nonprofit can offer VIP tickets and packages that include the following:

  • Customizable virtual background
  • Food and alcohol delivery
  • Private guest rooms

For those attendees that don’t want to pay for tickets, you can come up with other fundraising ideas to raise funds. One option is to sell mulligans to teams for $5 or $10 each. With each mulligan, teams will either get an extra clue or the answer to a trivia question. If there is a compelling prize for the winning team, your event attendees may be enticed enough to spend their money here.


7. Market the Event

how to host a virtual trivia night

Social media posts and email blasts are the best way to reach your current supporters. If you hope to bring in a larger online audience, you may want to find other ways to market your virtual trivia night. Here are a few ideas to entice a global audience:

  • Online advertisements
  • Ask sponsors to share your event with their employees and customers
  • Promote prizes
  • Come up with a unique event theme and questions
  • Recruit volunteers to participate in crowdfunding or peer-to-peer campaigns

8. Start the Game

To hold a virtual trivia night, you will want to live-stream the event so all event attendees feel like they’re in the room and connecting with their team and other players.

An excellent program to use is Zoom. With Zoom, event attendees can join the game from anywhere. Nonprofits can get real-time reactions from players, send a poll, include videos and music, and offer breakout rooms so teams can split and discuss answers before coming back to the game. Airmeet is also a great option for a virtual venue for your trivia night.

Fundraising tools are also necessary to get the most out of your virtual game night. Online donation platforms like Donorbox allow nonprofits to create customized campaign pages for events and let donors give through a donation form or text.

With peer-to-peer campaigns, players or teams can create their own fundraising pages and collect pledges and donations from their friends and family online. Players can share the live link to the game and encourage their supporters to watch them play and donate to a good cause.


9. Thank and Engage Donors

virtual trivia night

During and after the event, you will want to find ways to thank the players and supporters. Your goal is to encourage players to continue as advocates for the organization and entice donors into supporting the nonprofit in the future. You can do this by honoring and giving support to your online advocates and personally connecting with donors whenever possible. Some of these ways can include:

  • Announcing team names and the amount raised
  • Sending personalized thank you notes
  • Having board members call players and donors after the event
  • Have your online fundraisers thank their donors personally.
  • Update all attendees and players on what the nonprofit has done with the money raised

10. Get Feedback and Track Analytics

Share a survey with your players and attendees to know their feedback on the virtual trivia fundraiser. Also, track different data you’ve collected throughout the process or the event night. For example, how many people attended the trivia night, how many of them played, how much donations you’ve received from attendees, how many of your attendees showed interest in the additional games, your total donations vs. your expenses, etc. This data will help you better your efforts in the future.


Final Thoughts

virtual trivia night fundraiser

Hosting a virtual trivia night fundraiser can be simple and straightforward. Nonprofits can sell tickets, collect donations, find sponsors, and more. These events are also excellent community builders. The possibilities for this type of event are endless.

Donorbox can help your nonprofit hold a virtual trivia fundraiser with tools like customizable donation forms, text-to-give, crowdfunding campaigns, peer-to-peer campaigns, and donor management software. Visit our website to learn more. We also have weekly blog posts covering fundraising and management topics for nonprofits of every size.

Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

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