Turn your favorite TV game show into a Game Show Fundraiser. TV game shows have been a huge hit for many years. Dating back to the 1970's with The Price is Right, Jeopardy, and Family Feud; more recent crazes include Do You Want To Be A Millionaire, Deal or No Deal, and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.
All of these game shows have a few things in common - contestants, a host, prizes, challenges, anticipation, and humor.
Planning a Game Show
Plan an evening where people can laugh out loud at their friends, family, teachers, and principal. A game show event can be a fundraiser or simply a school spirit event, planned in just a few short weeks.
SET A FUNDRAISING GOAL
By setting a goal, you will be better able to put together a program that helps you reach it. Considering the planning time involved, a reasonable minimum profit for a school is likely to be in the range of $500.
PICK YOUR GAME
Make up your own game and set of rules or stylize it after a popular game show. The type of game you play will depend on your audience and expected participants. Following are a few ideas:
For each of these games, make it your own by implementing your own set of rules or time limits.
- High School Level: If the game is being put on by a high school, you may opt to have the "athletes" compete against the "brains", the Freshmen compete against the Seniors, or the teachers compete against the students in a competition similar to Family Feud.
Each team consists of 5-6 players. The first member of each team competes to be the first to answer a question correctly. The question category may be "name something a football player has to put on before a game" or "name a punctuation mark found on a computer keyboard". The team that answers the question correctly has won the opportunity for their team to play and come up with additional answers to the question or pass the opportunity to play to the other team. Then each team member has an opportunity to submit an answer (one at a time) until they get three incorrect answers. If they are unable to give all of the answers, then the other team has an opportunity to submit a single answer and win the round.
- Middle School Level: Perhaps play a game similar to the Price is Right. Randomly pick seat numbers to choose an audience participant. The player is called up to the stage to compete in a single competition where they would be asked to put grocery store items in a row priced lowest to highest or price out a fictitious vacation package.
- Elementary School Level: Perhaps play a game similar to Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader. Have parents compete against students in grades 1 through 5, answering questions submitted by the teachers. Identify questions by grade level and subject category. If the parent can answer a question correctly, they move on to the next question. If not, they are eliminated from the game.
Organize the game in a way that several people can participate. For instance, in a Family Feud style game, have two teams of five players each compete against eachother. If you have 4 rounds of play, then 8 different teams can play - that's 40 people. You may want to play two or three different games throughout the evening and have a different host for each (but plan to keep the event to around one hour long).
At least one of the games should be one where the contestants are randomly chosen from the audience. This will sell tickets and keep the audience interested and entertained.
FIND A HOST
Although the Committee members are the ones to make up the game rules and questions, the game show host is the person responsible for announcing the rules of the game to the audience and contestants and for keeping the game running smoothly and continuously. Remember if the game does not proceed steadily, the audience may get bored.
The host of your game show has to be well-spoken, personable, quick-witted, and humorous. The Committee should provide the host with large index cards with rules and question information. A high school aged student may be able to handle this role, but for middle and elementary school, we recommend an adult.
RESERVE THE HALL
Reserve the school auditorium where the game show will take place. You'll need a stage and seating for the audience. If possible have the event in a carpeted auditorium with stadium seating. Avoid having this in a gym or similar room because the noise levels will detract from the entire event if the audience cannot hear the conversations on stage. Utilize microphones whenever possible.
A Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evening during the week works best. If you're able to use your school auditorium, be sure to obtain appropriate approvals from your school principal. You'll also need to ensure access to the school, which may entail hiring a custodian for the evening. If you plan to have the event at another site, ask to have the hall donated or sponsored.
Tickets are sold as an entrance fee to be part of the audience. We recommend keeping this cost under $5.00. Remember your goal is to have as many audience members as possible and the lower the ticket price, the more likely you'll fill the auditorium. In a game like Family Feud where you have groups of families, friends, classes, social clubs, or teams competing you may also charge a participation fee (i.e. $20-$30) to the group.
Tickets to the event can be printed on a personal computer and printed on colored bond paper or card stock. Be sure to number them. As you distribute tickets for sale, keep a written log of which ticket numbers are given to who to sell so that all sales can be accounted for.
Tickets can be sold in advance, but you can count on most of the tickets being sold at the door on the day of the event. If your auditorium holds 500 seats, come up with a plan on how to sell all 500 tickets. Consider to who you want to sell tickets. Since it's more fun to laugh at or with the people you know, plan to sell tickets primarily to students, friends, family and school staff.
For advanced ticket sales, distribute tickets among the volunteer committee members and ask them to promote the event. Energize your sellers from the beginning. Encourage them to reach a particular sales goal by a set date. If you plan to sell tickets for 4 weeks, perhaps set a sales goal at 2 weeks prior to the event to sell more than half the tickets.
- Encourage every student to purchase a ticket.
- Encourage parents to purchase tickets themselves and to sell to their family, friends, and co-workers.
- Set up a sale table and sell tickets in an area where students are picked up and dropped off at school.
- Set up a sale table in the cafeteria during lunch hours.
- Set up a sale table at school sponsored events (sporting events, dinners, crafts fairs, etc.).
Every game show offers prizes to it's contest winners. This will be one of the draws to selling tickets and filling the audience. Play a few rounds of at least one type of game where the contestant is randomly picked out of the audience.
Prizes can either be a sponsored purchase or a donated item. Prizes should appeal to both students and parents since this is your audience. Be creative!
- Lottery tickets
- Gift certificates to local restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert
- Gift certificates to local stores (grocery, gas, toy, books, etc.)
- Gift certificates for entertainment (movies, theme parks, sports events, bowling, arcades)
- Pre-purchased phone cards
ORGANIZE & PRACTICE
Make an outline of the evening's events detailing the games, approximate times, number of contestants and if pre-planned, contestant's names. Try to keep the event to around one hour.
If this is your first time running a Game Show event, it's a good idea to have your host(s) and committee members run through a "dress rehearsal". This will help the host become comfortable with the format, relax on stage, and hopefully in-turn become quick-witted with his/her responses. The event will likely run more smoothly which will hold the audience's interest.
ADD VALUE TO THE EVENT
As with any event that has generated an audience, you can add value to your event by selling other items as well:
Check with your school to see if food and drinks are allowed in the auditorium or if you have to plan to sell these items only before and after in the lobby. Also, provide trash receptacles.
- Soda and water can be purchased at any grocery store or wholesale warehouse and resold for a premium. A case of water (24 count, 16oz) runs approximately $5.00/case ($0.21/bottle). These can be resold for $1.00/bottle; a profit of $18.96/case for your school.
- Boxes of candy and bags of snacks (chips, popcorn, cookies) can be purchased in bulk from a wholesale warehouse like BJ's, Costco, or Sam's Club and sold.
- Sell raffle tickets. See our Raffle and Gift Basket ideas.
ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT
Arrive at the hall early with your committee members to ensure all is ready:
- Set up a ticket sale table at the entrance. Provide a cash box with change.
- Set up a sponsor sign in a visible location.
- Set up a table for food and beverage sales and confirm that sale items are available. Provide a cash box with change and trash receptacles.
- Set up the stage to accommodate the game show. This may require tables, chairs, microphones, desks, etc. If you plan to play several different games throughout the evening, have the alternate props readily available backstage for a quick change over.
- Confirm your host(s) has arrived, has their notes, and are ready for showtime.
- If groups of contestants have signed up, confirm they have arrived and are ready for showtime.
- Have a camera and film available to take pictures.
- As the event organizer, you should designate all jobs to your volunteers ahead of time so that you are available to roam the auditorium and backstage throughout the evening, monitor supplies, and attend to any major issues that arise.
ADVERTISING, SPONSORS, COMMITTEES, THEMES, & MORE
Sign-in for Free, immediate access to Fundraising: Success is in the Details for detailed info:
- Forming a Committee
- Selecting a Location
- Conducting Meetings
- Being a Great Leader & Thanking Your Supporters
- Developing a Theme
- Maintaining Accurate Records
NOTE: An access link will appear every time you login.
SAMPLE SPONSORSHIP REQUEST LETTER: GAME SHOW
City, State, Zip
Dear (company name):
The (school name) School of (city), (state) will be hosting a Game Show Fundraising Event on (date) at (location). We are working toward raising funds for several enrichment programs that will benefit the students.
Our fundraising goal for enrichment programs for the 2006-2007 school year is $4,000. This includes 12 educational programs that go beyond the scope of the typical classroom. We are asking for the assistance of our community to make this happen. We are asking for your help by becoming a sponsor. Your generosity would be greatly appreciated and acknowledged at our event.
We would love to make this a fun, successful, event but we need your help to make this happen and ultimately raise the funds for our school. Please return the attached Sponsorship form to the (school name) School, Street, City, State, Zip, Attn: Name, Game Show Event Coordinator. If you have any questions, I can be reached by phone at (phone number) or by email at (email address). Thank you, in advance, for your support.
- Prize Sponsor - $100, $200: We plan to have 4 rounds of play, each round consisting of two teams of five for a total of 40 contestants. We plan to offer prizes to 20 winning contestants.
- Event Sponsor - $50, $100: We also plan to reserve a hall, offer snacks, beverages, and raffle prizes.
Very Truly Yours,
Game Show Event Coordinator
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
_____ Yes, I would be happy to sponsor the (school name) School's Game Show Fundraising Event. Enclosed is my check made payable to the (school name) School PTO in the amount of $______________.
Company Name_________________________ Phone___________________________
City____________________________ State___________ Zip________________
Please mail to the (school name) School, Street, City, State, Zip, Attn: Name, Game Show Event Coordinator. Thank you for your generous support.
SAMPLE THANK YOU LETTER: GAME SHOW
City, State, Zip
Dear (company name):
We would like to express our sincere thanks for your generous support of the (school name) School's Game Show Fundraising Event that took place on (date). This event was a huge success. We were able to raise over $2,000 toward our overall goal of $4,000 for enrichment programs for our children.
The commitment and generosity of our community continue to amaze me. We hope to make this an annual event.
Please let this letter serve as a receipt for your donation for which you did not receive anything in return:
______________________(state donation here)___________________
Thank you again for your generous support. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (phone number) or (email address).
Game Show Event Coordinator
PTO Ideas has provided you with ideas for planning an event. This information should not be used as a legal reference and may not be all-inclusive. We suggest consulting with the head of your school or any other essential professional.