Event Bonus Game! Mystery Gift Box Fundraiser

Mystery Gift Boxes are a quick and easy fundraiser bonus you can implement at any event – whether it be a gala, ball, auction, or just a small cocktail party.

It is generally easy to organize and takes little time to put together as well, so it is a great idea for short-staffed nonprofits.

How Does it Work?

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.

This is what makes this fundraiser great—it is very simple to run during a busy event. Any volunteer or staff person can be the point man or woman in charge, and you are more than likely planning to have a registration table anyway.

The point person will collect the set participation price at a designated game table, or from people raising their hands to participate from their tables. Participants can purchase from the gift box area and select their mystery box.

Mystery Gift Boxes are a quick and easy fundraiser bonus you can implement at any event—whether it be a gala, ball, auction, or just a small cocktail party.

All you need to do is set up the gift boxes at your registration table, include some photos around the boxes of potential contents, place a banner announcing the game at the table, and remember to thank your sponsors on those pictures and displays as well. If boxes are left over before the opening hour, you can have your auctioneer auction them to the highest bidder in a set or sets.
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Once all boxes are sold, have your auctioneer ask people to open up their boxes and reveal the winner or winners!

Variations And Other Names

This is also known as Grab Bags or Mystery Bags and here are some other variations.

  • Restaurant Gift Cards: You can go around to local restaurants and ask for gift cards in varying amounts. Most establishments will be open to this idea for a sponsorship shout out at your event. Cards are easy to use or re-gift and hence always desirable.
  • Instant Download “Boxes”: Why not try instant gratification? Participants can have a shot at different instant download prizes, like iTunes, Amazon, or online gift certificates or discount coupons to popular stores.
  • Spa Boxes: A popular gift idea, especially if you are close to Mother’s Day, are spa boxes. Lotions, face creams, and perfumes are easy to manage and wrap, and you can squeeze a few big prizes like spa day gift certificates into same shaped boxes.
  • Adventure Boxes: This might take more planning time, but you can work with local travel agencies, museums, and other destinations to provide day or weekend adventure vouchers for getaways and excursions.

Variations are endless, and you can easily make the theme relevant to your mission as well by choosing an appropriate theme for your particular nonprofit work. Mystery boxes are a fun and simple way to pick up a bit more revenue!

Gayle’s Advice

  • It is generally easy to organize and takes little time to put together as well, so it is a great idea for short-staffed nonprofits.
  • Consider offering a limited number of Super Mystery Boxes that contain higher-valued items and sell for $250 or higher (with items valued at $250 or higher).
  • If the gifts are large, take pictures and fold them into boxes all the same size.
  • Post a complete list of all the prize donors, along with all of the prizes that are contained in the Mystery Boxes.

Some Personal Insight from Gayle

This is a great way to bundle smaller prizes, and guests can open immediately to see what they won, creating a buzz and excitement that will encourage others to go buy one. But, be prepared for all of the Mystery Boxes to sell out fast! We had an event where 100 mystery boxes generated $10,000 and sold out within an hour of opening the doors!

This article is part of our 26 Proven Revenue Enhancers for Your Fundraiser eBook available as a free download. If you looking for new revenue enhancing ideas and how to incorporate them into your event—this easy-to-use lookbook is for you.


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