How To Host A Successful Jigsaw Puzzle Competition Fundraiser  The Missing Piece Puzzle Company

How To Host A Successful Jigsaw Puzzle Competition

How to have a jigsaw puzzle competition or fundraiser.

Jigsaw puzzle competitions are popping up and are a fun, interactive, and memorable way to raise money for an organization or cause.  At a typical jigsaw puzzle competition, you would see teams that compete against each other with the ultimate goal of completing a puzzle faster than the other teams.  Usually, the first team to assemble within a specified time period wins.  Whether one round, or several to determine the winner... it's completely up to you! 

The Basics of a good jigsaw puzzle competition:

1.  All teams receive the same puzzle.  

2.  Puzzle boxes are placed face down until the timer begins or use a gift bag or branded bag that is dark and not see-through is also suggested.

3.  Assembly of the puzzle begins in a quiet environment.

4.  Each round of play has a specified time limit.  If no one has completed the puzzle within the allotted time, a winner can be declared by the remaining number of loose pieces or the percentage of puzzle completed.

5.  Should there be a tie, teams can be given additional time (series of 5-minute intervals) or as warranted.

Setting the tone at your puzzle competition:  

1. it is suggested that separate tables be provided per team and that there are 2-3 feet of separation between team tables.  This allows plenty of room for participants to walk around their tables while assembling.

2. Teams should be restricted to their own table and may not approach another table during the competition, nor shall they be allowed to study an opposing team's puzzle.

3. Cell Phones or outside devices should be prohibited during the competition, however headphones should be allowable to prevent distraction.  Ipods and the like should be fine, as some puzzlers prefer to listen to music while puzzling.

4. Teams may not distract other teams or purposefully create an environment of distraction. 

5. Every team will complete the same puzzle.  All puzzles are placed with the image facing down until the sound of the buzzer or the announcement to start.  Placing the puzzle into branded bags that are not see through is advisable.

The Goal of the Jigsaw Puzzle Competition:

1. Individuals or teams try to put the puzzle together the fastest.

2. Rounds are a specified amount of time; if there is no declared winner by the end of the time limit, the winner is chosen by their remaining number of loose puzzle pieces.  

3. In the event of a tie, individuals or teams can be given an additional five minutes to work on the puzzle.

4. If opting for multiple rounds, progress by piece count with the top puzzlers proceeding to the next round, ultimately leading to one team winning the event.  For example, start with a 500 piece puzzle and move up to a 1,000 piece for the final round.  

What You’ll Need to Host a Jigsaw Puzzle Competition of Your Own

Some planning and organization will be required for your puzzle competition to take place. You’ll need to determine where you will host the event and how to make people aware of your event, too!

1. A Venue for your Puzzle Competition.

Finding the perfect venue is a must for your jigsaw puzzle competition.  While looking for the perfect venue, please keep in mind that you will need to select a venue with space for your expected turnout.  You can easily contact your local Fire Hall, School System (cafeterias can easily be rented out) or Chamber of Commerce for some suggestions.  

2. Tables and Chairs

You may be able to find a venue that includes tables and chairs.  When looking, please remember that tables should be the same size per team.  Tables should have the same surface type for fairness.  If the tables do not have the same surface, I suggest that you purchase similar table cloths so that all teams will have the same surface for assembling their puzzles. 

If tables and chairs are not included with your rental, please check your local listings for rental companies in your area. 

3. Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are the main ingredient to any jigsaw puzzle contest.  Determining the number of similar jigsaw puzzles and the piece counts are an important factor in setting up the jigsaw puzzle competition.  This is an opportunity to showcase your logo or image as custom jigsaw puzzles are an excellent branding opportunity.  An excellent source is The Missing Piece Puzzle Company as they make custom jigsaw puzzles that are high-quality and quite affordable, with tiered pricing for bulk orders. 

It's important to keep these points in mind when selecting jigsaw puzzles:

1.   The number of teams or individuals that you plan on participating in the jigsaw puzzle competition.  This will help you determine how many puzzles you will need to order.

PRO TIP:  When ordering puzzles for the competition, you may want to add a few for anyone who would like a copy of the puzzle.  Consider selling these after the competition to participants and guests.

2.   To brand, or not to brand the puzzle.  A jigsaw puzzle competition is an excellent opportunity to showcase your brand to the community.  Custom puzzle companies, such as The Missing Piece Puzzle Company, will work with you to set up the perfect puzzle for your competition. 

3.   Not all jigsaw puzzles are created equal.  Please remember that jigsaw puzzles that are Made In America are usually better quality than those made abroad, IMO.  Look for a high-quality jigsaw puzzle manufacturer that is willing to do low volume orders.  Also, busy photos are best with puzzles that do not have false fitting pieces.

4.  The piece count for the puzzle will determine the time of completion.  Generally, a thousand piece puzzle will take 2.5 hours for speed puzzler teams, while a 500 may take 1.5 to two hours for teams.  Selecting the proper piece count is important.

4. Moderators

Depending on the size of your competition and the number of registrants in different divisions (individual, pairs, or teams) I suggest that you choose a minimum of two people to help moderate your competition.  The moderators will record the event and observe that all rules are being followed, as well as answer any questions that may arise.  Moderators should actively circulate through the competition and be mindful of teams who may complete the activity so that they can properly and accurately log completion times.

Volunteers that are selected by the moderators are also suggested and can help with maintaining order.  I suggest that they wear bright vests/clothing that identify them as Judges or Volunteers.  Having your volunteers circulate through the room is extremely helpful to keeping your puzzle competition fair and on track.  

A moderators job will include ensuring that teams are adhering to the rules and regulations.  A moderator will also record times of completion.  Teams should raise both of their hands to indicate that they have completed the puzzle.  Moderators will record their team number and time.  This is a great time to have volunteers check for a completed puzzle and to be sure that all rules have been adhered to.  Snapping a photograph of the completed puzzle is suggested.

PRO TIP:  I strongly suggest that your volunteers have a camera so that if the competition does not have a winner when time expires, that the puzzle can be captured by photograph and the remaining pieces counted via photo.  This will help ensure fairness in the competition.  Further, teams should pack up their puzzles and belongings upon completion and leave the floor to diminish distraction.

5. Prizes

Prizes should be provided for the winner, as well as second and third-place teams.  Feel free to reach out to local businesses or your local Chamber of Commerce for donations or sponsorship. Puzzles are generally a great prize for the winners, as well as gift certificates, trophies, branded T-Shirts, or even cash. 

Reach out to your local businesses to ask if they would like to donate prizes for your competition.  Puzzle manufacturers are also willing to work with established puzzle competitions.  Branded puzzles that have never been assembled are suggested.  Teams should have the opportunity to purchase the puzzle if they choose.  

6. Participants

For any jigsaw puzzle competition to be a success, you need participants! There are many social media outlets where you can advertise your event with the community.  Placing flyers, post on social media, and advertising in your local newspaper are great ways to advertise.  Don't forget your local radio station to help make the community aware of your event. An enticing prize package will bring puzzlers from far and wide.

Decide whether you want to host an individual, pairs, or team competition.  For individuals, you will need to limit the number of participants based upon tables.

For pairs and teams, having enough puzzles and table space is important.

PRO TIP:  Allowing sorting trays should be up to the host of the competition and should be stated at registration.  A suggestion of 1 to 2 trays should be allowed, as well as use of the box lid.  Some puzzlers like to bring box lid holders to prop the box.  Based upon space, I would suggest one tray and one lid holder.

7. REGISTRATION for your puzzle competition.

Creating an organized registration process with help in tracking your potential puzzle participants to ensure you will have enough space for everyone at the competition.

PRO TIP:  During your competition, changes in teams should not be allowed.  Further, participants should be 16 or older.  Anyone under 16 years old should be accompanied by an adult.  Registration forms should clearly list the puzzlers per team.

Deciding on the number of participants, either single, pairs, or team members, will ensure that you have enough space and puzzles for your competition.  Whether you charge for the competition or offer it for free, having fun it the goal!

Why Hosting Jigsaw Puzzle Competitions Is a Win-Win

Hosting a puzzle competition may seem like a daunting task, but it is not.  A lot of fun will be had and it's a great opportunity to make some money for your organization, while getting your name out to the community.  

In recent years, jigsaw puzzles have experienced a resurgence in popularity, captivating people of all ages with their intricate designs and therapeutic benefits. Beyond being a solo activity, hosting jigsaw puzzle competitions has emerged as a dynamic way to bring communities together while offering a host of advantages to the organizer. From financial gains to branding opportunities, let's explore why hosting jigsaw puzzle competitions is a winning proposition for the host.

Engagement and Community Building:

One of the most significant benefits of hosting jigsaw puzzle competitions is the sense of camaraderie and community it fosters. Participants come together, united by their love for puzzles, creating an atmosphere of shared enthusiasm and friendly competition. These events provide a platform for social interaction, where individuals can connect, collaborate, and celebrate their passion for puzzling. By bringing people together, hosts can cultivate a loyal following and strengthen community ties, enriching the local social fabric.

Financial Gain:

Hosting jigsaw puzzle competitions can be a lucrative venture for organizers, offering multiple revenue streams. Admission fees, sponsorships, and merchandise sales are just a few avenues through which hosts can generate income.

Charging a modest entry fee allows organizers to cover event expenses while potentially turning a profit. Currently, a typical competition for an individual ranges from $25 to $50.  Pairs entry fees range from $30 to $60, while Teams consisting of a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 4 people range from $40 to $80 to enter. 

Offering branded merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs, or puzzles themselves can serve as additional revenue sources. Encouraging an area for a puzzle swap will also draw the public in.

With strategic planning and marketing, jigsaw puzzle competitions have the potential to become profitable ventures for hosts.

Branding Opportunities:

Jigsaw puzzle competitions present hosts with valuable branding opportunities to showcase their organization or business. By aligning the event with their brand identity, hosts can enhance brand visibility and recognition within the community. Customized puzzles featuring the host's logo or branding elements serve as promotional tools, leaving a lasting impression on participants and spectators alike. Additionally, sponsors and partners can collaborate with hosts to co-brand the event, further amplifying exposure and reach. Through effective branding strategies, hosts can leverage jigsaw puzzle competitions to strengthen brand equity and attract new audiences.

Enhanced Public Relations:

Hosting jigsaw puzzle competitions can garner positive attention and publicity for the organizer, enhancing their public relations efforts. Local media outlets may cover the event, providing valuable exposure and increasing awareness within the community. Positive word-of-mouth generated by participants and attendees can further bolster the host's reputation, positioning them as champions of leisure and community engagement. By orchestrating memorable and well-executed events, hosts can cultivate a favorable public image and solidify their standing in the community.

In conclusion, hosting jigsaw puzzle competitions offers a plethora of benefits to the organizer, ranging from financial gains to enhanced branding opportunities. By fostering engagement, cultivating community, and capitalizing on branding potential, hosts can transform these events into lucrative and impactful ventures.

As the popularity of jigsaw puzzles continues to soar, seizing the opportunity to host competitions can prove to be a strategic and rewarding endeavor. So, whether you're a community center, library, business, or enthusiast group, consider harnessing the power of jigsaw puzzle competitions to leave a lasting impression and reap the rewards.

Remember, have fun and puzzle on puzzlers!

The Missing Piece Puzzle Company