Quiz nights can be a fun and social way of raising much-needed funds foe refugees and the aid workers helping them. Angie Brewer has this advice for anyone thinking about holding a quiz night.
In 2012, a group of us in the Dordogne came together with the intention of supporting Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
We felt that a good way to do this was by holding a combined quiz and meal night. Initially we started the quizzes in a large room in someone’s house. We could seat about 20 people comfortably, but when we started getting more bookings, we persuaded our local Mairie to let us use the salle des fêtes free of charge.
They usually ask for an insurance to cover the event, and one of our group is able to get an attestation from her home insurers for this, explaining to them that she is holding an event at her local salle.
We had intended to hold quizzes at lunch times on Sundays, but feedback suggested that while people were interested in coming to our quizzes and supporting MSF, they didn’t want to break up their Sundays in that way. For many people, Sundays are considered home and family days. So we now usually hold our events on a weekday evening. We charge €13 per head and provide snacks on the table such as crisps and nuts when people arrive, plus a main course and a dessert at half time.
We can usually cater for about €4 or €5 a head and we also have a raffle and a book sale, which means our foods costs are usually covered by these, in addition to the bar profit. That means that all the door money is profit for MSF.
We sell wine, beer and soft drinks, and understand it’s OK to do this without a licence if your local Mairie has approved the event. We charge €5 a bottle for the wine and €1 for a beer or soft drink. We buy from Aldi, which has some very decent wines for around €2.50 a bottle. Although this gives us 100% mark up, people have said that they consider this reasonable as all our profits go to MSF and it’s usually less than they would be paying at their local restaurant.
Since 2012, we have raised over €9,000 for MSF We kick off at 7pm, have a break half way through for dinner, and then finish at around 10pm or 10.30. People have been very supportive and generous in donating for the raffle and there are a small group of women who usually offer to make desserts so we can offer a dessert buffet each quiz. We ask for donation of unwanted books and then sell these on for €1 each, though we have to weed these out from time to time as we tend to receive more than we sell. The quizzes are in English, so advertising is by email, word of mouth and posters and announcements at other English events. We did consider if we could produce quizzes with the questions in both French and English so we could widen our audience, but we felt that the cultural/knowledge differences would make the questions too tricky to set.
Mike Brewer and Mike Wood, who set the questions, work very hard to make the questions as unambiguous as possible, in an effort to avoid squabbles and challenges. This policy appears to have worked really well – we’ve been complimented on the good natured atmosphere at our evenings.
Our quizzes are regular but not monthly – the next one takes place on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at Genis 24160. If anyone reading this would like to come, you’d be very welcome. Contact us on MSF.Dordogne@outlook.com.