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How to run a successful charity pub quiz

Hew pub quiz

Three years ago, Hew Dalrymple changed career to become an English teacher and currently teaches at a secondary school in Wood Green, Haringey, London. In this position, he became acutely aware of the inequality which permeates society, and how literacy lies at the root of inequality. This motivated Hew to run the London Marathon in aid of the National Literacy Trust.

Hew's fundraising

As part of his fundraising for the London Marathon, Hew organised a highly successful pub quiz, which led to him raising over £3,500. He has kindly agreed to share details around how he achieved this with us below...

How did you integrate fundraising into the pub quiz?

I charged £10 entry. I told people beforehand to bring cash but I also printed out QR codes from JustGiving and enlarged them onto A4 paper, putting these on all the tables. I reminded people throughout the quiz to donate by scanning the QR code on their table.

How did you advertise the quiz?

I messaged groups of friends and family members and encouraged them to form teams, bringing their own friends if they wanted. Once I had an idea of who was coming I set up a big WhatsApp group and muted everyone so that only I could send messages (so as not to annoy everyone with lots of messages). I sent my JustGiving link to this group both before and after the quiz to sweep up anyone who had forgotten to pay on the night.

Did you come up with the questions? If so, were they around a particular theme or mixed general knowledge?

Yes, I came up with the questions. I chose to theme these as follows: Sport, General Knowledge, Geography/Nature, Pop Culture, History, Music. There were 10 questions per round.

I also had a Literacy ‘bonus pack’ which each group could work on in their own time throughout the quiz. This included a number of literacy statistics from the National Literacy Trust to raise awareness.

To open the quiz I gave a short speech about the importance of literacy, how I’ve seen it affect lives at school and the role of the National Literacy Trust. I reiterated this message at the end when going through the answers to the literacy pack.

Pub quizzes are a regular feature in London. Were there any additional elements that you added to make the night unique?

I paused the quiz halfway through for a quick break and then reconvened for an auction. This is a great way to raise money. By this time your audience have had a few drinks, which means people are more likely to bid! For prizes you need to ask your friends to donate anything they can. For example, my friend owns a drinks business and donated a couple of bottles, another friend donated tickets for a show where they work and someone else a cookbook which they wrote. I also auctioned National Literacy Trust t-shirts and a couple of pairs of shoes which I’d never worn. Even the slightly rubbish ‘prizes’ make for an amusing auction!

I acted as quiz master and auctioneer. As the auctioneer you need to cajole people to keep outbidding each other and keep jumping up significant amounts to keep things spicy!

What advice do you have for other people who may want to organise their own charity pub quiz?

You’d be surprised how may friends will have things they can give towards the auction. Don’t be shy in asking friends if they have something they could donate to it.

When booking a space at a pub make sure they know it is for charity and hopefully they won’t charge for the space.

Make sure your pub has a good mic and speaker system – test it beforehand particularly if you have a music round.

Aim to start promptly and keep up the pace throughout. It always takes longer than expected and people, no matter how much fun they’ve had, are always eager to get home on a work night, particularly as some will have a long way to travel.

Thanks Hew for your energetic and enthusiastic fundraising! If you're inspired by these great tips to organise your own pub quiz, contact and we can help provide quiz materials to get you started.

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