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Getting Prizes for your Trivia Night – Tips and Hints

Getting Prizes for your Trivia Night – Tips and Hints

Trivia nights are, at the very core, competitions and competitions need prizes or some sort. In my many years as both a trivia host and a trivia player I have encountered the good, the bad and the ugly in terms of prizes I have won. Cash prizes, bar tokens and beer vouchers are all well and good but I have also won vouchers for local stores, hampers, clothing vouchers, latest DVD’s and CD’s etc.

Holding prize

What prizes do my players want?

This is the first question you have to ask yourself. Look at your audience, gauge their ages, general interests and think what would make them for eager to play, tell friends and attend every week. Need some help? Simply do a questionnaire. You can give it out during the quiz and just ask them for ideas….would they pay more entrance fee if the prizes were better? Are they happy with cash and vouchers? Your players matter and it is no good trying to shove prizes down their throats that they don’t want.  You can also check out our recommended list of ideas for prizes.  These are prizes that won’t break the banks to obtain.


All for the winner?

As discussed in a previous blog post you also have to decide what you are aiming for. Do you want one big prize for the winner or a selection of prizes to give out for each round, jackpot questions, nearest the pin bonus rounds etc etc etc. It all matters. I will always suggest the more prizes the better and my ideal set up is a 6 round quiz with a cash prize for the winner on points but an individual jackpot style questions every round with prizes. (I.e. nearest wins….In what year was the xxxxx? How many pigeons would fit into a double deckers bus?”. This gives every player a chance and it has to be questions people won’t know but guess at. Levels the playing field so to speak.


Where to get prizes from – Staying local matters!

Getting prizes may be easier than you think. Many trivia hosts are a tad reluctant to go into local business and ask for prizes but there are many tips to get around that and boost your chances. My one bit of advice above all else is to focus on local business. They are the ones who will want their name advertised to the locals in your trivia venue and they are the ones who will be more willing. Unless you are a worldwide organisation then the bigger international firms won’t be interested so don’t waste your time with them. If you live in a big city or town there will be plenty of people who will want some cheap advertising. Advertising in local papers and online can be expensive so what you need to do is sell the advantages of your trivia night. It is cheap, local and direct!

There are numerous sources online for custom prizes made in bulk.  The advantage of a custom prize is your branding.  Whatever the player wins and takes home with them will have your company name, logo, phone number, website or anything you see fit.  An online Party Supply store is a good place to start.

I once knew a guy who purchased wine in bulk and gave away bottles of wine to the winners, and the winners just loved competing for it.  It is both a great concept but also a horrible one.  First, distributing any alcohol involves having a liquor license.  The fines are pretty stiff.  Second, this could impact the facility you are performing at, especially if the facility relies on alcohol sales.  The last thing they want to see is free alcohol being passed around.  So, give some thought to your prizes and make sure you don’t get in trouble for distributing them or offend someone.

Mention to the local business how you are going to promote them? Not only will you announce their company over the microphone and any deals or information they want “This prize is supplied by Thomsons Footwear – Mega sale starts Monday etc etc” but you can lace your answer sheets and picture handouts with their logo and details.


This is where the power of social media can come in. If you spend time building a twitter and facebook following this matters, believe me this matters. Social media is the modern day business battleground and companies want follows, retweets and mentions. If you also have a website to support your trivia activities going with it then you have a triple whammy of internet marketing ideas to hit local business with them. Tell them you’ll add them to links pages, blog about their site, retweet to your xxx thousand followers and mention on facebook and they will listen.


In the modern world you may not even have to leave your sofa to do this. I have made contacts for prizes over social media itself as well as email. Build yourself a professional website with a .com email address and you will see an immediate difference. This is something I have done so I know it works and going from a address to a domain name of my own say my business and more importantly prize range grow rapidly.  So if your email is something like, people will very seldom take you seriously.  However, an email like will always be more credible.  You might say “Yah, but I’ve had this email for years.  I can’t switch over now!”  Yes you can!  Simply take a few minutes to send an email to everyone on your contact list “Hey, my new email is now” and you are done!  Then make sure your old email account forwards any emails over to your new one so that if anyone emails you at your old account, then it will still appear at your new one.  Then, when you reply to that email, your new email account will be visible in the receiver’s inbox.  It is worth the effort, and easy to do.


Ok, back to the topic of prizes.  All in all prizes are the icing on the cake of your trivia night. Getting good prizes and spreading them out evenly can make a huge difference between your trivia night failing and succeeding. Think about it logically, if you are a player choosing between two quiz nights both which a good question range in good bars/pubs…one has good prizes and lots of them, the other doesn’t, which are you going to choose?

Feel free to post prizes you have used in the past with success.








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