Heads or Tails – Raise Money and Rejuvenate Guests

Heads or Tails - Fundraising Auction Revenue Enhancer

Heads or Tails is an interactive game of choice and chance where the last guest standing will win the prize!

This is a great opportunity to raise money for your organization and get your guests rejuvenated and ready to bid in a live auction.

How Does it Work?

First, select a prize that will appeal to a broad audience, in order to get as many guests as possible involved. The value of the prize itself can vary, but pick something that is relative to the ticket sale price. Ticket price will be determined by your average guest’s budget, but $25 is usually a good price point and a prize value between $300 and $500 will generally provide appeal to get your guests’ attention.
Heads or Tails - Fundraising Auction Revenue Enhancer
Guests purchase the opportunity to participate and receive a stamp, sticker, ticket — or something a little more fun like a bead necklace, light stick, or other fun and inexpensive party favor. You can pre-sell tickets at any point before and during the event — but make sure there is a “last chance” promotion from your auctioneer prior to the game. Have bidders raise their bid card, and provide runners to collect money or make the transaction.

When it’s time, your auctioneer should ask all Heads or Tails participants to stand up. Then participants select either “heads” or “tails” by putting their hands on their heads — or their tails! The auctioneer flips a coin and announces whether the coin came up heads or tails. Those participants whose choice matches the coin flip get to stay standing — everyone else sits down.

The auctioneer continues asking participants to select “heads” or “tails,” then flipping the coin, eliminating more players until only a handful are left. Ask the last few finalists to come to the stage for the final coin tosses, until only one player is left standing. This is your winner!

Variations And Other Names

Heads or Tails is a staple in the fundraising world that is appropriately run via the flip of a coin, but you can get creative and tailor this revenue enhancer to your theme—think Helmets and Hip Pads for a sports themed event.

Some Heads or Tails games have designated times that allow any eliminated guest to buy back in. This is a great option for the organization, but can have a tendency to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of some guests.
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If you want to sell multiple chances, think about limiting them and selling upfront only. E.g. sell up to four beaded necklaces to any guest and when they select the wrong outcome, they take off one of their necklaces until they are out.

Linda’s Advice

Heads or Tails is more than just a revenue enhancer. Many guests may have a pre-conceived notion that they cannot afford to bid on live auction items. Giving them the opportunity to experience the fun of raising their paddle before this begins is very empowering—helping them feel more comfortable raising their bid number. Heads or Tails will help:

  • Raise additional money for your organization.
  • “Warm up” the guests for the most important fundraising time of the evening — the live auction and/or paddle raise.
  • Make sure your guests have located their bid paddle.
  • Grab your guests’ attention and get them re-engaged after dinner.

Sometimes you may have to ensure your auctioneer understands the larger picture of why you are offering this revenue enhancer.

Some Personal Insight from Linda

Note: Many states have specific rules that govern auction games. Make sure to check your state’s raffle licensing laws as well as your organization’s bylaws. Also, check on alcohol sales rules and permits, as well as firearms, if those will be available at your event or in the auction.

We frequently recommend Heads or Tails to our clients because we believe there is no better way to get the crowd energized before the live auction/paddle raise begins, while making a little money in the process. We have had nothing but extremely positive results with Heads or Tails—the typical revenue generated is between $2,000-$3,000 per event and what’s more important is that we know playing Heads or Tails also leads to an increase in both live auction and paddle raise revenue.

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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