What better way to generate excitement at your next fundraiser than to involve your guests in a game? People love to play and love to laugh. Give them a chance to do both while raising money for your cause. Heads or Tails is a common auction game. Here are a few more ideas to spark your imagination:
Jewelry Box Game
Get a local jewelry store to donate a nice necklace and earrings. Display it surrounded by 100 small, beautifully-decorated boxes. Guests purchase a box for a chance at winning the jewelry. Have the “unveiling” later in the auction, so other guests will see the boxes sitting on the dinner tables and be inspired to buy one too. Have some kind of a theme-related memento for the “loser” boxes and a special memento for the “winner” box. If there are unsold boxes, you can auction them off as a group to the highest bidder.
Sponsorship tip: include a coupon or discount to the jewelry store in the losing boxes.
Another variation of the Jewelry Box Game, this one involves prizes of all kinds. Have a stack of 100 red satin boxes (or gold or purple, etc.) at the registration table that people can purchase for $100. Each box contains a ticket for a prize worth at least $100: flat screen TV, plane tickets, laptop, dog grooming, chainsaw, skis, etc. At the end of the evening, guests get to open their boxes and claim their prizes. Again, unsold boxes can be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Banned Word Jar
Decide on an overused word to “ban” for the evening. On each dinner table, have a Banned Word Jar. When someone says the banned word, they have to put $1 in the jar. Guests can pay $5 to ban another word. Or they can pay $20 to unban a word and choose a new one. Everyone has fun trying to remember which words are banned and to catch each other in the act.
At registration, give each guest an envelope and invite them to put their name on it and place a cash donation inside (between $1 and $20). When all the envelopes are collected, choose one envelope and pay the winner ten times the amount in the envelope (limit $200). The rest of the money goes to your cause.
This game requires some preparation and planning, and would be appropriate for a more casual outdoor event. Basically, you build a portable chicken coop with a 4′ x 4′ piece of plywood for the floor (build the coop 3 feet high). Using paint, tape or a marker, divide the floor of the coop into 100 squares and number each square. Acquire a live chicken and keep it in a separate box/kennel/crate until the game starts. Feed it lots of lettuce and grain during the event.
During registration and before the game begins, guests can purchase a numbered square. Set the price appropriately for your audience. When the game begins, put the chicken in the game coop. The winner is the guest who purchased the square the chicken goes to and stays for a 10 second pit-stop first. Who knew you could have so much fun cheering on a chicken? If you live in a state where it’s legal to have chickens in your backyard, have your auctioneer auction off the chicken and a custom chicken coop to the highest bidder.
With a little imagination and some ingenuity, you can come up with auction games that will get your guests laughing in friendly competition. Not only will they have a great time while supporting your cause, they’ll look forward to coming back next year.