Scavenger Hunts - for Fun and profit

Scavenger Hunt is a Win-Win for
   the Local Community & Business

Arnprior holds a very successful scavenger hunt raising over $2,000. for the local food bank, driving foot traffic to local businesses and creating a fun day for all who participated
Held at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and before the demand peaked at the food bank, the event was well timed and executed, generating both local and regional media coverage for the town and participating business.
The participating business included both established and newly opened business and all were happy with the increased awareness and foot traffic. While it is true that scavenger hunters were focused on the hunt and not browsing to shop, new business were glad to get the word out that they were open and established business felt that people did get shopping ideas and were more likely to return to the store.
By our count this is way beyond Win-Win, more like:
  • Food Bank $2,000. Win,
  • 13 businesses with increased foot traffic 13x wins
  • 40 teams enjoying community fun and spirit – priceless!
Credit for this event goes to Taylor Holmes who volunteered her time and talent to design, promote organize and run the event, along with a couple of other volunteers. Taylor's goal was to raise cash for the local food bank (food banks can make cash donations go along way and fill gaps that canned goods just can't), drive foot traffic to local businesses and raise community spirit. All reports show mission accomplished.
Scavenger/Treasure Hunts are a great way to promote local business and raise community spirit. They are all about hyper-local participation. They can be run multiple times a year and in any season. They raise local awareness and generate free media coverage. Consider joining with your local businesses and charities to create an event in your area. See below for ideas on how to Design the Hunt for Maximum Fun.

What’s the difference between a “Scavenger Hunt” and a “Treasure Hunt”?

In a “Scavenger Hunt” you are typically provided with a laundry list of items to be found and retrieved and in a “Treasure Hunt” you follow a clue, leading to another clue, and so on till a final clue to find the treasure at the end. In practice these two activities can blend and overlap in features. A “Scavenger Hunt” may have clues along the way and a “Treasure Hunt” can have prizes/trinkets/treasure along the way. Whatever you call them, they can be a lot of fun.
Scavenger Hunt
Treasure Hunt
Non-sequential, order does not matter. Starts with the whole list.
Sequential, starts with one clue leads to the next… leads to the treasure.
Items are described.
Clues are provided.
An item/prize at every stop.
One treasure/prize at the end.

Designing the Hunt for Maximum Fun

There is no one right way to design a hunt. It depends on your goals and situation. Here are some factors to consider for your hunt.
Some events are open (no registration), other require sign up, others require a sign-up fee. Open events maximize participation and can reduce the "day of" work. Registered events allow more control of the event and a little more "day of" organization. Fee based events obviously provide an opportunity to raise funds that free events can not.
Sequential or Ad Hoc
As mentioned above, in classic scavenger hunts order does not matter, where as in treasure hunts order is largely the point.
  • Events with a large number of participants are less well suited to a strict sequential order as it is easy to get pinch points.
  • Events with a few people can be more fun treasure hunt (sequential) style as it increases competition.
Timed or not
  • Should you set a timer on the event?
  • Have at least start and end date/times
Mass or Staggered Start
  • Staggered Start helps manage “flow”
  • Mass start
Rewards - who wins?
  • first to find the treasure wins or
  • First three to find the treasure or
  • First to find all the items
  • First three to find all the items


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