If you’ve been in youth ministry for even a minute, you’ve been part of an event that gives away prizes. Here’s a fun way to turn your simple giveaway into something so much more!

Transform your giveaway into a gameshow.

This is something I call HOW ABOUT THIS, and I run it like a gameshow (much like I run my favorite upfront gameshow, COMMIT—new to the DYM resources store). HOW ABOUT THIS is basically like the age-old gameshow Let’s Make a Deal. You bring your four or five prizewinners up on stage… and you let the negotiations begin!

If you’ve advertised a big prize (the youth event I was at this week gave away a small TV), then let them know they have a chance to win that prize. In fact, they have a chance to win one of five prizes… they just don’t know which.

Have one of your leaders bring the first prize out, hidden away in a box. This is where the game takes a little bit of prep. You’ll need 5 boxes of equal size. I always wrap them in similar paper so they look the exact same.

When the first box is brought out, play with your first contestant/prizewinner a little bit. Maybe say something like this:

“As you know, we are giving away a 40” flat panel TV tonight. But we’re also giving away some other prizes. You have no idea what’s in this box. It could be the TV… or something else. So HOW ABOUT THIS? You can have what’s in this box… or I’ll give you $20 cash right now. That’s the deal I’m offering you.”

As you can see, you’ll need a pocketful of cash for this game. This is always great fun. Some kids will go for the cash right away. Others will hold out for the prize. I don’t offer more than $20 for the first prize.

If this first contestant is adamant about getting the box, then play with them a little more (which helps you prepare the other contestants for box #2).

“Are you sure you want the box? What if there is something really lame in there? It’s a possibility. But this $20 cash is guaranteed!”

The key to this game is your order of prizes. You’re going to give away some really good prizes, and some junk!

Make box number one something pretty good to get kids salivating, but not your grand prize. Maybe a $40 gift certificate to a place kids like (Starbucks, Best Buy…).

If contestant number one chooses the box, reveal it and give it to them. Compliment them. “Good thing you didn’t take the $20 cash!”

If they choose the money, however, say, “Okay, here’s your $20. But now let’s see what you could have won!” Then show them the prize in the first box, the $40 gift certificate. “Oh wow! You could have had $40 to Best Buy! So sorry. Maybe next time!” (Then keep that ‘unclaimed’ prize for your next event)

When your contestants see the potential for good prizes, and the TV still in the pot, they’ll be more eager to hold out for the boxes.

And that’s where this gets fun; because I always put a LAME prize in box #2. It has to be something noticeably lame. I’ve given away a dirty sock, a pencil, or even a bagel with a bite out of it in box #2.

Work it with Contestant Number 2. Offer them $20 to start. They’ll usually hold out. Then offer them more. Only go up to about $40 and if they hold out, cut em’ off and don’t give them too much time to change their mind. Give them the prize. “Okay, then the box is yours. Let’s see what you won… a dirty sock!!!”

I usually give away another decent prize for box #3, then the grand prize for box #4, then something small but good for #5.

NOTE: If Contestant Number 4 doesn’t take the TV, you’ll need to figure out a creative way to still give that grand prize away, since that’s what you advertised. That can be as simple as asking them, “Who are you sitting next to tonight?” as they are walking off the stage. “Cool! They get the TV!” Or, you could just skip dealing with Contestant Number 5 altogether (saving that prize) and just say, “And that means Contestant Number 5 wins the TV!!!”

When the night is done I usually have given away about $100 in cash and still have a few prizes left over that I keep for future events.

And kids always love it!

Waaaaaaaay more fun than just giving away prizes in a drawing!