A bingo fundraiser is one of the most popular and fun ways of raising money for a good cause. In this WealthHow article, we will list out the varied factors that go into planning a successful bingo fundraiser.
Did You Know?
‘Bingo’ can be traced to an Italian lottery game, played circa 1530, called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia”.
Bingo is one of the most popular games that graces many events and social gatherings for all kinds of fun that it brings to the party. With Bingo, one can be guaranteed a whole lot of pure, unadulterated, clean, fun that gets the excitement levels soaring really high. Bingo is highly popular because it appeals to all age groups and does not take a lot of planning to organize either; which is the reason why it regularly features as a part of several fundraisers that range from school events, church events, sporting events, and other events organized by NGOs. In this WealthHow article, we will get into the details of how to go about hosting a bingo fundraiser and list out all the things necessary to make it a roaring success.
Bingo―How to Play
The game is fairly simple. There are tiles that contain numbers from 1-100 or a machine that has balls numbered from 1-100. These numbers are randomly selected from the sack or the machine and placed on a board that has the numbers from 1-100 on them as well. All the participants are given a card that has a series of numbers on them (usually, 5 down and 5 across). Every time a number is called out, the participants who have the corresponding number are supposed to tick that number off. The first person to cross off all the numbers on their card, wins. This is known as a full house.
How to Organize a Bingo Fundraiser
Organizing a Bingo fundraiser is not a very trying task, however, there is some form of planning involved in the same to ensure complete success. The varied aspects of this planning will be discussed in depth in the sections that follow.
Zero in on the Venue
The first thing that needs to be decided is the venue where the event will be held. Depending on how many people you’re planning on inviting, the place will have to be finalized, such that it will be able to accommodate all of them . Usually, a large hall is used, like a community center or a sports, church or school hall, ensuring that it will be able to accommodate maximum number of people. Along with finalizing the venue, it has to be seen that the arrangements have been made for enough chairs (and tables) as well.
Make those Flyers Fabulous
When a Bingo game is held as a part of a fundraiser, usually, the event is advertised using varied mediums like the newspapers, local radio stations, flyers, social media, etc. These ads are not only meant to inform the general public of the upcoming event, but also to talk of the varied details like the venue, timing, participation fee, the prize, and any other important details involved. If the venue booked has a lesser capacity, make sure to mention that participation will be held on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis.
These sample flyers will help you get an idea of how these should be designed.
Arrange for the Bingo Tickets
The tickets for the event can be easily purchased online, or from Bingo suppliers in wholesale. Other than these options, Bingo sheets (of varying sizes) and books can be easily purchased as well. While this is a simple choice, it is not difficult to make these cards at home either. Like we mentioned earlier, each ticket will contain 5 numbers across, and 5 numbers down―some tickets even contain 7 numbers across and 7 down. The numbers are usually arranged in an ascending order proceeding from one row to the next. If you’re making these on your own, make sure that you have a good mix of the numbers on all the tickets.
Another variation that can be used is to give all the participants blank cards that have grids of 10 or 14 squares put in, they then have to fill the cards with the numbers they like or deem lucky for them. If this method is used, it is a good idea to swap the cards amongst the participants to bring in some good-natured fun.
Note: Also, make sure that you have plenty of pens for the participants to tick or circle the numbers; or an easier option is to give them toothpicks that they can use to poke holes on the sides of the number to mark it.
Decide the Number of Games and the Entry Fee
A Bingo fundraiser will usually feature 20-30 games, depending on how many people there are. However, the number can be lesser as well. Usually, a format of ’10 games―refreshments―10 games’ is followed. This can, of course, change. The ways in which money is charged for the games will also vary. While many organizers take a nominal fee that covers, say 2 games and refreshments and then requires the participants to buy every game that follows, others will sell books that feature 10 games all together.
The organizers have to ensure that there are extra tickets printed in case people want to participate in more games as the evening progresses. These individual tickets could be priced slightly higher than the others.
Include all these Interesting Variations
Bingo typically has a mix of several prizes to make the game all the more interesting. The most common game is called a ‘full house’ which goes to the first person who gets all the numbers on the card. Other than that, there is the ‘first row’ which goes to the person who manages to mark the first row of his card, the ‘middle row’ and the ‘last row’―for people who manage to mark all the numbers of the middle and last row, respectively. There is also a variation called ‘corners’ which goes to the participant who manages to mark the 4 corners of his card, and a ‘fast five’ for the first participant who gets any first 5 numbers on his card.
Other than these variations, you can also include a jackpot round which features a bigger prize than the rest of the variations to keep the interest flowing.
Note: Ensure that you use only one of these variations in each game, along with the ‘full house’. Announce the variation to be used at the starting of each game.
Choose an Awesome Bingo Caller
The bingo caller is a very important link in the game and can truly add fun to the whole eve. Technically, the caller is supposed to call out all the numbers, arrange them on the grid, and cross-check the numbers as and when the winners comes forth; however, the caller does much more than that. He is expected to make the whole game fun by using popular ‘bingo lingo’ as and when he calls each individual number. For example, if the number that is drawn is ’88’, he will say ‘Two fat ladies, number 88’.
He also acts as a makeshift ‘master of ceremony’ and keeps the mood light and jovial by cracking jokes or relating incidents. This is the reason why, choosing the right caller is important―it can make or break the eve.
Decide on the Theme
While the way to play bingo is pretty standard, there are certain themes that can be added to make the night more interesting. The most common way of introducing varied themes into the game is by taking clue from the kind of event that it is and basing the theme thus―like, if the fundraiser is being held for breast cancer, then all the participants can don a pink ribbon or t-shirts that have encouraging messages on them.
The following are some other popular themes that are followed as well.
A fun theme that has become very popular very fast is the ‘Blingo’ theme. In this, everyone is asked to wear their ‘bling’ outfit to make the evening more fun. The best costume could be given a prize during the fundraiser as well.
Another interesting theme that is often used is called the ‘Basket Bingo’. This theme does not have to do with any form of ‘dressing up’, it has, on the other hand, got to do with the prize. The prizes that are given out in this game are all in the form of baskets. These baskets will contain a combination of assorted gifts―these are usually sponsored by companies.
One of the most popular themes of any event is a raffle. You could give them a raffle ticket, factoring in the cost in the entry fee itself, or you could keep the tickets up for sale for a price―which is another great way of earning some more money at the fundraiser.
The raffle works in the standard manner―the names of people who have purchased the raffle tickets are written on chits and put into a bowl. Then sometime during the function, one chit is pulled out and the winner is announced. Usually, a 50/50 raffle is played, which means that the prize money is half the amount collected for the raffle tickets.
Have Some Great Prizes Arranged
As far as the prizes for the event are concerned you can have a substantial amount for the ‘jackpot’ round and a good amount for the ‘full house’. However, for all the smaller prizes, you can have nominal prizes like a pen or a chocolate bar. Because it is a fundraiser, the participants will be aware that the amount set for the prizes will not be exorbitant.
Another factor that you can consider is ask for sponsored prizes for the winners, like a day in the spa or gift vouchers to stores, or other gifts sponsored by companies. In turn, you could put up banners or posters of the sponsors, by way of advertising.
Make Some Extra Money
Along with the raffle tickets, another great way to earn extra money at the fundraiser is to set up stalls of foods and other goods. This will ensure that you’re earning something more for the main cause.
Take Note of Refreshments
Usually a ticket makes you eligible for refreshments. Depending on the venue and budget you can decide the kind of refreshments to offer. Most often, finger foods that are easy to handle are offered, like, sandwiches, chips and cutlets along with soft drinks or hot beverages. However, you can include other foods as well and make it an elaborate deal. Varied themes can also be brought into the refreshments.
With all these pointers and detailed factors involved in planning a successful bingo fundraiser, we’re confident that your event will be a great one. Here’s to a great evening for a great cause.