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Revenue Generating Game: Heads & Tails

If you've been in the gala game for a while, you may know about this game. Heads and tails is a game of chance that is great for a couple reasons.

1. You will make money!
2. It is a great way to get everyone's attention before the program begins or give them a motivation to stay around until the end (depending on when you decide to play)!

What you need to play Heads & Tails

1. Someone who can flip a coin
2. A Quarter
3. Necklaces (usually Mardi Gras Beads)

How to play Heads & Tails

1. Determine A Prize

This is a good place to use a donation that has broad appeal, but may not be exclusive enough for the live auction. Things that go well are overnights at a local B&B, sports tickets, concert tickets, jewelry, popular electronics (for a while iPads or apple watches were the hot item), etc.

Or you can do a 50% cash out. This is appealing to most people. If you get 100 people to participate at $20 each, you get $1000 and the winner gets $1000. In my experience, about half the time, the winner donates their portion back to the organization. It makes them look incredibly generous while they are really only out $20. This is a win/win.

2. Sell necklaces.

Usually mardi gras beads because they are inexpensive, but sometimes it's fun to sell something that lights up because people notice it which helps advertise the game. 

Sell them for any amount. $10-$100 is common. Every necklace they purchase is a chance to play the game. Limit each person to 3 necklaces total. This is so important because it may seem that you'll raise more money if you let people buy as many as they want. You will actually lose money. There are always 2-5 people who know that statistics will be in their favor so they purchase 20+ necklaces and the game will last 30 minutes or more. At this point, you will lose the attention of the rest of your audience (and risk them actually leaving) and you will miss out on their larger donation amounts in the live auction. I will not do this game for clients unless they limit it to 3 necklaces because I want them to be successful. Please learn from my experience with this. It is so painful if you do not limit it.

3. Decide When To Play The Game

This game can be done at any part of the program, but it offers the unique ability to get everyone on their feet, energized and attentive. 

While every program is a little different, usually the best time is just after everyone finished dinner and just before you move into the live auction or speaker part of the program. During a dinner, you tend to lose the attention of your guests because they've been eating and talking and enjoying themselves, and this game is a good way to get them back on their feet and paying attention.

Another good time is at the end of the event because they've paid to play and most people are willing to stay around at their chance to win.

4. Introduce the game

I usually do this for my clients, but it by no means requires a professional. A toddler could probably effectively run this game if they could resist the temptation to put the quarter in their mouth. With that being said, you should probably use an adult. Below is the general scripting I use:

Ladies and gentlemen, who here purchased beads to play "Heads & Tails" tonight? That is great. Before I start, is there anyone who did not get a chance to purchase a necklace for your chance to play? Raise your hand and our volunteers will come around so you can purchase a necklace. Tonight the winner will receive a __________. Here's how you play. If you purchased, a necklace, you will stand up. Now, I am going to flip a quarter and I need you to predict whether it will fall "Heads or Tails" (hence the name of the game "Heads & Tails"). You will make your prediction public by placing your hands on your head or your hands on your tails (aka, your booty). Once I announce the results, if you were correct you will keep standing, but if you are wrong you are out and must sit down. If, however, you purchased more than 1 necklace that means you have an extra chance, so just take one necklace off and keep playing. Are you ready? Everyone with necklaces stand up!

5. Play the game

It helps to have two people running the game because it's annoyingly difficult to hold a microphone and flip a coin at the same time. You can have someone before hand or select a volunteer to flip. 

As stated in the directions after a few rounds, most people will be sitting down. Once there are about 10 people standing, welcome them to the front of the stage to play so that the rest of the audience is still captivated and engaged in the game by watching. 

Pretty soon, you'll be down to two players and finally a winner. 

Thank everyone for playing and move right into whatever you have next.

Have you tried this game before? How did it go for your event?