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Trivia Success

In McHenry, Ill., about 100 people participated in the McHenry Warrior Booster Club's 2nd Annual Trivia and Game Night on Jan. 28., raising over $3,000 for the club. 

Searching for a new fundraising idea, two years ago the McHenry (Ill.) Warrior Booster Club didn't have to look too far. "Another school in our area has had a game night for years and years," says McHenry Booster Club member Jean Benedetto. "We took the base-model from the other school, and we have made it our own."

The general layout of a game night consists of teams competing against one another in several games, which consist of answering trivia questions. The questions can be answered on paper, or orally, depending on the event's format. The number of trivia rounds also depends on the event, as do the types of questions asked. At the end of the event, scores are tallied from those rounds, in order to determine the winners. For the McHenry Trivia and Game Night, the answers are given on answer sheets, which are collected by the event's designated "table runners."

One of the ways the McHenry Club has made the night unique is by incorporating an added competition that sparks team spirit among attendees. "People theme their own tables and decorate them, then at the end of the night, we have an award for the best one," Benedetto says. "People really get into it--some of the ideas people had this year were great. We had the Eastside Einsteins, and they all dressed up as nerds, with fake laptops on their table. Another group came as the Trivia Troopers. They were all in combat gear and had big tanks on their table. One of the other teams had a big brain in the middle of the table, and they all had headbands that hooked into the brain."

As another way of making the event its own, the booster club included a round of local trivia. "People like having a local connection--whether it's questions about the town or the high school," Benedetto notes. "It's nice having something more personal included in the games."
 
In addition to this round, the evening featured five rounds of trivia, several raffles, and a silent auction. Items for the auction and raffles were donated from local businesses. All of the high school sports teams were also invited to put together as many baskets as they wanted for raffles--with the money from those baskets going directly back to the team. "It's an option, so of course not everyone did it," Benedetto says. "But if they did, they were able to raise some money for the team without having to hold their own fundraiser, so that was a nice perk."

Preliminary planning for the booster club's Game and Trivia Night started in October. Within a few weeks of setting the date, the club made arrangements to hold the event at a local banquet hall. "Last year we had it at a facility that was a bit out of town because we couldn't get another venue," Benedetto says. "That was one of the big things people suggested--they would like to see it in town. So this year, having it at a banquet hall was more expensive. But since we were doing a fundraiser, the owner cut us a deal."

As far as making a profit, Benedetto suggests covering costs through registration fees. The McHenry Club set prices at $25 for an individual and $300 for a corporate table. "Then everything else you do at the event is profit," she says. "It just gives you an easy guideline--you know your costs, and you know you're never losing money. Then you're only making money, and that's a good thing."



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