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Could a Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament
Be Your Next Fundraiser?
By Cecelia Lawrence, Library Director and
Jigsaw Puzzle Tourname...
Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Misconceptions
1. You can use any venue to hold a tournament
2. You can just use card tables
3. Y...
How does a Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Work?
The goal is for the team to finish the puzzle in the shortest time
possible.
Ind...
The Venue for the Tournament
• Lighting is crucial
• Consider allowing puzzlers to bring in
extension cords and additional...
Table types and Tournament room layout
1. 6 foot X 3 foot rectangular tables
2. 5 or 6 foot round tables
3. 8 foot X 3 foo...
Can any puzzle work?
• Thick cardboard puzzles where the pieces fit tightly together are best
• Puzzle piece size matter (...
Number of Puzzle pieces based on ability
STUDENT DIVISIONS (2-person teams)
• 2nd-3rd grade (100 piece puzzle)
• 4th-5th g...
Recommended Puzzle Manufacturers
High Quality manufacturers:
• Melissa and Doug
• Springbok
• Cobble Hill (Canadian)
• Mas...
Puzzle manufacturers NOT recommended
• White Mountain puzzles
• Big Ben
• Ceaco
• Great American Puzzle Factory
Imagery and Shaped puzzles
Here are some examples of puzzles we have used in the past.
Puzzle title & image should be kept secret
How many puzzles should I order?
Guesstimate. When starting out, you just have to guess how many puzzles you
will need in ...
Do puzzle manufacturers ever donate
puzzles?
Sadly no. Every year, I approach one or two different jigsaw puzzle
manufactu...
Puzzle Tournament Registration form
Key features on the form:
• Contact name
• Team name
• School name (if you have studen...
Event day volunteers
• Registration table (1-2)
• Volunteer to show participants to their competition table
• Food patrol ...
So how is this a fundraiser?
• Entry fees
• Sponsorships and Underwriters
Finding Sponsors and underwriters in your
community
• Businesses in your community
• Businesses are more likely to support...
Thanking your sponsors!
• Sponsorship Thank You Board
• Thank you note signed by the puzzlers
• Table signage
• Invite bus...
Planning
• Order puzzles need to be ordered 2-3 months in advance.
• Sponsors should be approached four to six weeks prior...
Prizes – What’s a Tournament without prizes?
• Theater candy
• Fast Food coupons
• Oriental Trading has some wonderful
puz...
Financial breakdown
• Profit: Entry Fees paid by puzzler or sponsors
• Debit: Cost of Puzzles (typically $7-$15 each)
• De...
Has anything ever gone wrong
during a tournament?
• Middle school boys stole pieces from a girls team
• Teams not show up ...
Has anything ever gone wrong during a
tournament?
• Mis-counted the number of available tables and ended up using conferen...
Questions?
Could a Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Be Your Next Fundraiser?
• By Cecelia Lawrence, Library Director and
• Jigsaw ...
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NCompass Live: Could a Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Be Your Next Fundraiser?

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NCompass Live - http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ncompasslive/
August 26, 2015

Join Cecelia Lawrence, Director of the North Platte (NE) Public Library, as she shares the triumphs and pitfalls of holding a major competitive Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament. Lawrence has been the Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Coordinator for the past 10 years in North Platte and has seen this event grow from 60 competitors in 2 divisions to over 160 puzzlers in 6 divisions. This session will walk you through the basics of holding a tournament; developing rules for the tournament; volunteer recruitment; discuss finding business sponsorships for teams; explore where to purchase puzzles and prizes, as well as trophy and prize ideas.

Published in: Education
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NCompass Live: Could a Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Be Your Next Fundraiser?

  1. 1. Could a Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Be Your Next Fundraiser? By Cecelia Lawrence, Library Director and Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Organizer
  2. 2. Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Misconceptions 1. You can use any venue to hold a tournament 2. You can just use card tables 3. You can use donated or used puzzles 4. You can throw a Tournament together in 1 month 5. Puzzle Tournaments are inexpensive to host
  3. 3. How does a Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Work? The goal is for the team to finish the puzzle in the shortest time possible. Individuals or teams compete on the same puzzle within the same division. STUDENT DIVISIONS • 2nd-3rd grade • 4th-5th grade • 6th-8th grade ADULT DIVISIONS • Individual • 2-person team • 4-person team
  4. 4. The Venue for the Tournament • Lighting is crucial • Consider allowing puzzlers to bring in extension cords and additional desk lighting MISCONCEPTION #1 You can use any venue to hold a tournament
  5. 5. Table types and Tournament room layout 1. 6 foot X 3 foot rectangular tables 2. 5 or 6 foot round tables 3. 8 foot X 3 foot rectangular tables 4. card table or conference table (4 foot X 2 foot) MISCONCEPTION #2 You can just use card tables
  6. 6. Can any puzzle work? • Thick cardboard puzzles where the pieces fit tightly together are best • Puzzle piece size matter (larger is better). • The number of pieces in a puzzle (More pieces in a puzzle=Higher difficulty) • The image on the puzzle can increase the difficulty or create opportunities for teams to develop a strategy. MISCONCEPTION #3 You can use used or donated puzzles
  7. 7. Number of Puzzle pieces based on ability STUDENT DIVISIONS (2-person teams) • 2nd-3rd grade (100 piece puzzle) • 4th-5th grade (200 piece puzzle) • 6th-8th grade (300-350 piece puzzle) • ADULT DIVISIONS • Individual (400-550 piece puzzle) • 2-person team (400-600 piece puzzle) • 4-person team (600-750 piece puzzle)
  8. 8. Recommended Puzzle Manufacturers High Quality manufacturers: • Melissa and Doug • Springbok • Cobble Hill (Canadian) • Masterpieces • Bits and Pieces • Sunsout—inconsistent puzzles • Ravensburger • Buffalo Games • Schmidt (German) Websites for ordering • MelissaandDoug.com • Bitsandpieces.com • Simplepasttimes.com • Seriouspuzzles.com • Spilsbury.com • Puzzlewarehouse.com • Amazon.com MISCONCEPTION #3 You can use used or donated puzzles
  9. 9. Puzzle manufacturers NOT recommended • White Mountain puzzles • Big Ben • Ceaco • Great American Puzzle Factory
  10. 10. Imagery and Shaped puzzles Here are some examples of puzzles we have used in the past.
  11. 11. Puzzle title & image should be kept secret
  12. 12. How many puzzles should I order? Guesstimate. When starting out, you just have to guess how many puzzles you will need in each division. Order puzzles 2-3 months in advance.
  13. 13. Do puzzle manufacturers ever donate puzzles? Sadly no. Every year, I approach one or two different jigsaw puzzle manufacturers and ask for puzzle prizes or tournament puzzles. I have not gotten a response from any manufacturer.
  14. 14. Puzzle Tournament Registration form Key features on the form: • Contact name • Team name • School name (if you have student divisions) • Payment or request a sponsor • Registration deadline • Event location and competition time • Entry Fee information
  15. 15. Event day volunteers • Registration table (1-2) • Volunteer to show participants to their competition table • Food patrol volunteers • Prize patrol volunteers • Setup volunteers • Photographer • Announcer • Judges • Official Time-keepers
  16. 16. So how is this a fundraiser? • Entry fees • Sponsorships and Underwriters
  17. 17. Finding Sponsors and underwriters in your community • Businesses in your community • Businesses are more likely to support students than adults • Ask larger businesses (car dealerships, realty corporations, etc.) to underwrite teams or the cost of puzzles • Small businesses – ask for prizes or a partial sponsorship • Philanthropic individuals • Library supporters may be willing to support a team or half of a team
  18. 18. Thanking your sponsors! • Sponsorship Thank You Board • Thank you note signed by the puzzlers • Table signage • Invite businesses to leave brochures or card at a sponsor table • Take out an Thank You Advertisement in the Newspaper or Friends of the Library or Library newsletter • Send a Thank You certificate • Send a thank you letter along and picture of the sponsored team(s) • Website COMPLETE EYECARE ASSOCIATES, DR.’S BAXTER, FRENCH & O’CONNOR Thank you for being a sponsor of SCOTTIE PUZZLER at the NPPL Foundation’s 2015 Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament I-03
  19. 19. Planning • Order puzzles need to be ordered 2-3 months in advance. • Sponsors should be approached four to six weeks prior to the Tournament. • Open Registration 3-4 weeks prior to the Tournament. • Plan to take 5-6 months of planning the first year. MISCONCEPTION #4 You can throw a Tournament together in 1-2 months
  20. 20. Prizes – What’s a Tournament without prizes? • Theater candy • Fast Food coupons • Oriental Trading has some wonderful puzzle-themed gifts • Baudville is an appreciation promotional company that also has puzzle-themed gifts • Consider ordering custom T-Shirts
  21. 21. Financial breakdown • Profit: Entry Fees paid by puzzler or sponsors • Debit: Cost of Puzzles (typically $7-$15 each) • Debit: Cost of Prizes (typically $1-$8 per puzzler) • Debit: Venue Costs, if any (can be anywhere from $25+) • Debit: Cost of Food, if provided • Debit: Cost of correspondence with puzzlers, sponsors (usually less than $25 • Debit: Cost of advertising, if any (varies widely) • Debit: Trophy and/or engraving fees MISCONCEPTION #5 Puzzle Tournaments are inexpensive to host
  22. 22. Has anything ever gone wrong during a tournament? • Middle school boys stole pieces from a girls team • Teams not show up for the tournament • Meddling parents try to coach the kids • Divorced parents fighting during a tournament • Red Kool-Aid spilled in the church foyer (this required the additional cost of getting Service Master out to clean up the red dye!) • Kids show up to puzzle, but parent never registered them • Kids puzzled in the wrong division (6th grader puzzled in a 5th grade division) • Puzzle was TOO hard and nobody finished within the allotted time • Puzzle Coordinator was sick with bronchitis and not able to attend
  23. 23. Has anything ever gone wrong during a tournament? • Mis-counted the number of available tables and ended up using conference style tables and card tables. • Kids “give up” and want to quit. We have volunteer judges who help encourage the kids to finish. • Teams finishing within one one-hundredth of a second apart. • Puzzle manufacturer had a quality control issue and 75% of the puzzles were missing 1-3 pieces each • Puzzlers arguing because puzzles with identical titles, pieces, and SKU number were cut differently (some puzzles were cut vertically and horizontally and others were cut on the diagonal). Puzzlers felt the diagonal puzzles were harder and that the puzzles made their division unfair.
  24. 24. Questions? Could a Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Be Your Next Fundraiser? • By Cecelia Lawrence, Library Director and • Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament Organizer • 308-535-8036 X 3321 • lawrencecc@ci.north-platte.ne.us

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