Bingo Night Basics: Put the Fun Back in Fundraising!
Hosting a bingo night is a great way to raise funds. Attendees enjoy a little friendly competition while socializing and being entertained. Here are the basics of hosting a bingo night that will put the fun back into fundraising!
What is bingo?
Bingo involves multiple players obtaining cards that a grid of numbers is printed on. A caller uses tiles or balls with numbers written on them to “call” the bingo game. When the number that is called matches a number on the card, the player “marks” the number either with a marker (usually a round piece of plastic) or a pen. A player wins when he or she has marked all the numbers on the card.
Can I host a bingo night where I live?
There are laws and regulations in some states that prohibit bingo events without certain licenses or permissions. You can find out more about California’s regulations here.
How do I start planning my bingo night?
The first step to hosting your bingo night is assessing how many people are likely to attend. Based on that estimate, you can choose the right venue. Then, pick a date and time and ensure the venue is available. After the venue is decided on, you will know what additional equipment you need to obtain. If tables are not provided, you will need to rent them. Rectangle banquet tables work great for bingo — the 8′ size allows players to play side-by-side while enjoying plenty of elbow room.
Where do I get my bingo supplies?
When it comes to fundraising, the little money-savers mean a lot. You can save cash on hosting your bingo game by creating your own supplies. This will involve searching the Web for printable cards. Once you print them, you may want to have them laminated — they will last longer so you’ll be able to use them for future events. You can make your own bingo balls by writing numbers that correspond to the cards on ping-pong balls.
What else do I need for my bingo night?
One of the most important parts of a bingo night is recruiting a great volunteer caller. You should find someone with an outgoing personality who will keep the players engaged and focused (comedy skills certainly don’t hurt!). The caller will enjoy having a podium to stand behind during the game. To ensure everyone in the room can hear, consider renting a PA system and accessories. To make the calling process fun (and a little fancy!) consider renting a raffle drum — the caller will spin it before every call, adding an element of suspense to the game.
Although it’s a fundraising event, winners will expect some sort of reward, even if it’s just a small token. Contact local businesses to find out if they will donate prizes to support your cause. Another option is to reward players with items that bear your organization’s branding such a t-shirts or caps. A small table nearby can be used to display the prizes — they may provide players motivation to play “just one more game” if they’re in plain sight.
How do I raise funds with my bingo night?
First, you’ll need to decide if you’ll charge a flat entrance fee to those who attend. Then, decide how much each bingo card will cost. You may wish to offer a discount for players who wish to buy many cards at once (e.g., a 20% discount on 20 cards). Another way to raise funds is to have a raffle for a large prize (the raffle drum will certainly come in handy!). You may also wish to sell refreshments during the game to raise additional funds.
How do I get the word out about my bingo night?
Post on every social media outlet and put plenty of information about the bingo night on your organization’s website. You should also publicize the event using some “old school” methods such as posters, flyers, and signs on community bulletin boards. Then… get ready to have lots of fun raising funds with your bingo night!
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