And They're Off: Gamify The Game

Published on 6 Jun 2023 by Auctria

Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan will reveal their secrets to hosting an unforgettable party that not only raises substantial funds but also supports a meaningful cause. This year it was a Kentucky Derby themed Casino Night, where they crushed the fundraising goal.


They do the typical party with a silent auction. They also do the extraordinary with their very own horse race! Yes, you read that right! This event helps support over 1,300 youth who attend their Clubs annually. To raise awareness and raise money Development Director Melissa and Public Relations and Event Coordinator, Bethany shared their hot tips and some images.


Over the years, the Boys & Girls Club has organized numerous 50/50 games, and the outcome has been nothing short of heartwarming. Time and time again, they have witnessed the incredible generosity of our winners, who have selflessly chosen to donate back their winnings to the Club. This act of kindness further amplifies the impact of our event, allowing us to serve even more children and provide them with the resources and opportunities they deserve.

Together, they gallop towards a brighter future, one race at a time! Casino night is an unforgettable event filled with excitement, camaraderie, and the knowledge that the donations, bidding and purchases make a tangible difference in the lives of the children served by the Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan.


Horse Race

By using fun and interactive games they pumped up the energy and the giving in the room. The horse race was a central activity and fundraiser throughout the evening. The main attraction at the Casino Night was their version of a horse race. Each entry was $100 and only 100 tickets/ horses were available for sale. Using an online character race timer, Stopwatch. Using stopwatch they load the ticket purchasers in the system and run the race. But they didn’t just run the race, Melissa and Bethany describe how they hype up the race and sell

  • Name the game
  • Gamify the game

By participating in this event, you not only embrace the spirit of competition but also embody the generosity that defines our community. The pot is split 50/50 between the winner and the Boys & Girls Club, ensuring that both the victorious participant and the Club benefit equally from this exhilarating endeavor. It's a true win-win situation!

To create a fear of missing out only 100 horses are available for sale. Once they are sold there is no more opportunity to participate… or is there? Read on! Each horse entry is $50 and the pot is split 50/50 between the winner and the Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan. In many 50/50 games that they have run the winner has been generous and donated back their winnings.

Name the game: Ride of Great Futures

The horse race directly funds the scholarship fund that goes to the graduating seniors at the Boys & Girls Club. To drive home this message they named the horse race Ride of the Great Futures. The purchaser knows exactly how those dollars will be utilized by the club. Throughout the horse ticket sale process using RIde for the Futures continues to brand the horse race and imprint in the donors mind how their support is incredibly valuable immediately to graduating seniors.

By naming the game is a great way to brand the message and describe the fundraising with a single title and image. Quickly reducing the time it takes to explain where the funds are going, supporters immediately know. This concise approach not only saves time in conveying the cause but also ensures that supporters grasp the mission swiftly. By accelerating comprehension, the likelihood of receiving positive responses, sales and donations increases significantly. The sooner they understand the more likely they are to say yes!

Gamify the Game

The horse race is a marquee event that happens throughout the entire night. It consists of 5 run-in heats. Each time the first 4 races are run the winner advances to the final heat. There is lots of hooting and hollering and cheering!

One more auction item for the final heat. The final heat gets even more fun and more lucrative. Cleverly they auction off one more horse that will run in the final heat. So the horses in the final heat have a 1 in 6 chance of winning. With the pot accumulating to an impressive sum of nearly $10,000, the bidding for this special 1 in 6 chance horse reaches unprecedented heights. Participants eagerly engage in a live auction, driven by the desire to secure this valuable asset.

This year the number 6 horse was auctioned off LIVE for $800. Since the pot is almost $10K the 1 in 6 chance horse goes for a much richer value!

What does the horse race look like?

Below is an example video of a sample horse race. Using Stopwatch Race’s free race you are limited in the number of horses. For a small price you can increase the number of horses and remove ads. They chose to use Stopwatch’s Kentucky Derby racing horses in their virtual race. The virtual races unfold on a massive screen in the grand Bill Snyder Family Stadium ballroom filling the room with excitement.

24 Years and Counting
They are proud to have celebrated the 24th Annual Casino Night. They have not skipped a year since 1999! Each year the event gets larger in donations and overall participation. With new board members comes new supporters. With new auction items come new bidders. With new ways to give come more donations.

Special thanks to Melissa and Bethany from The Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan for sharing their fundraising story. You can follow them on Facebook, @bgclubmanhattan

Their mission states “Our mission is to inspire and enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.” They have been doing this for over thirty years! The kids coming in for services are now second generation and now incredible advocates and ambassadors for the programs. Casino night funds this mission!