What Is Tricky Tray?

Are you curious to know what is tricky tray? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about tricky tray in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is tricky tray?

In the world of fundraising events, there’s one concept that stands out for its unique blend of excitement, community participation, and chance: the Tricky Tray. Also known as a basket raffle or penny auction, a Tricky Tray event brings together individuals in a thrilling and interactive way to support a cause while vying for a chance to win enticing prizes. In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of Tricky Tray events, their origins, the mechanics behind them, and the joy they bring to both organizers and attendees.

What Is Tricky Tray?

A Tricky Tray is an event that combines elements of a silent auction and a raffle, creating an engaging and enjoyable atmosphere for both participants and fundraisers. The heart of the event lies in the assortment of themed baskets or packages that attendees can win by purchasing tickets. Each ticket represents a chance to win a specific basket or prize, and participants place their tickets into containers associated with the items they’re interested in winning.

The Origins And Appeal

The origins of the Tricky Tray can be traced back to the early 20th century when it gained popularity as a way to raise funds for charitable causes. Over time, it has evolved into a widely embraced fundraising method for schools, community organizations, churches, and nonprofits. What sets the Tricky Tray apart is its fun and interactive nature. Attendees get to choose which prizes they’re interested in winning, and the element of chance adds an exciting layer of anticipation.

The Mechanics Of A Tricky Tray

  1. Prize Baskets: The heart of a Tricky Tray event is the assortment of prize baskets. These baskets can vary widely in theme and value, from gourmet food baskets to spa packages, electronics, sports memorabilia, and more.
  2. Tickets and Levels: Participants purchase tickets for the event, and these tickets are often sold at different price levels. Each ticket corresponds to a specific number of chances to win. Attendees can choose how they distribute their tickets among the different baskets.
  3. Placing Bids: Attendees place their tickets in containers next to the baskets they hope to win. The more tickets placed in a container, the higher the chances of winning that particular prize.
  4. Drawing and Winning: Once all tickets have been placed, organizers draw tickets from the containers to determine the winners for each prize basket. If a ticket with a corresponding number to a participant’s ticket is drawn, they win the prize.
  5. Excitement and Community: The process of placing tickets and waiting for the drawing creates a vibrant and interactive atmosphere, fostering a sense of camaraderie among attendees.

Benefits Of Tricky Tray Events

  1. Fundraising Success: Tricky Tray events can raise significant funds for charitable organizations and causes.
  2. Community Engagement: These events bring people together, encouraging social interaction and support for a common goal.
  3. Prize Variety: Attendees have the opportunity to win a wide range of exciting prizes, adding to the overall enjoyment.
  4. Inclusivity: Tricky Tray events are accessible to a broad audience, regardless of their budget.


Tricky Tray events are more than just fundraisers; they are exciting social gatherings that foster a sense of community, anticipation, and shared purpose. By combining chance and participation, Tricky Tray events provide a unique way for organizations to raise funds while offering attendees a chance to win enticing prizes. As these events continue to evolve and capture the spirit of togetherness, they remind us that giving back can be an enjoyable and memorable experience for all involved.

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How Do You Play Tricky Tray?

During a tricky tray fundraiser, organizers display a variety of prizes alongside containers like jars, baskets, envelopes, or hats. Then, instead of bidding as one might in a traditional silent auction, participants drop tickets into their desired item’s associated container.

How Do You Make A Tricky Tray?

A tricky tray fundraiser involves attendees purchasing tickets for a certain amount of money and then dropping their tickets in buckets or canisters positioned by items they would like to win. Purchase more tickets and place them in the bucket beside prized winnings to increase chances of getting the prize.

What Is Another Name For A Tricky Tray?

Back then they were called Chinese auctions, perhaps because the game was thought of as secretive and mysterious. Today, the names tricky tray and penny social are used in order to avoid the racial overtones. By any other name, the concept is basically the same.

What Is Another Name For Tricky Tray Fundraiser?

Tricky Trays, also known as Penny Socials, Penny Sales, Lucky Number Dinners, Chance Auctions, and Chinese Auctions, combine aspects of fundraising raffles and silent auctions.

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