Bingo Night Fundraiser 101

When it comes to school fundraising, the goal is to make money for a good cause, but there’s no reason people can’t have fun while they’re doing it, right? Some events not only earn your group needed funds, but they also build community at the same time, and that’s a win-win in our book!

What is a Bingo Night Fundraiser?

Bingo Night are usually meant for adults, because they’re usually held in the evening, and usually not on school grounds. Running it that way allows the fundraising team the opportunity to pitch the evening as a date night to their supporters, and even to make the event feel like a party.

The basic idea is that attendees come together to play the game of Bingo and have fun, with the understanding that there will be costs associated with the tickets, the Bingo cards, and whatever else your team adds to the event.

You can make it festive by having a catered dinner, or even choose to host it at a restaurant, and usually there are prizes, and maybe a raffle as well.

How to Host a Bingo Night School Fundraiser

You’ll start by finding a venue to hold the event, and a restaurant or banquet facility is a great idea if you’re planning to serve a dinner as part of the event. If you choose not to serve a meal, you’ll have more options as locations, like if a supporter wants to volunteer their home, or if a local Elks Club (or similar) will rent you the room. In that case, you’ll still probably want to serve some refreshments, even if not a full dinner.

The cost of renting a location and whatever food you’re going to serve needs to be covered by the ticket sales, so it’s important to know the totals ahead of time and calculate out the number of tickets you’ll need to sell to break even.

Once ticket sales have begun, then you’ll need to sell Bingo Cards, too. If you’re offering tiered ticket sales, you could consider offering a VIP Ticket type that includes a set of Bingo cards and maybe preferential seating for a premium price.

Whether you want to have tiered ticket prices or not, you’ll need to sell bingo cards ahead of time and be prepared to sell some on the night of in case people want to play more games.

It’s Bingo Time

Then, you’ll need to plan your actual Bingo game. You’ll need to rent a Bingo machine, so it’s big enough for everyone can see which numbers/letters have been called. You’ll probably need a microphone for the Bingo caller so everyone in the room can hear him or her, and you will need to get all the bingo card supplies and markers.

Don’t forget prizes, because they make it fun and you’ll give them out at the end of certain rounds or if you have special rounds. Instead of spending the fundraiser’s profits on this, though, you can ask your supporters to donate money to cover the costs, or donate the prizes themselves.

Are you going to have a raffle as well? Plan to set up an area where the the raffle prizes can be displayed, along with individual raffle ticket boxes for each one. Which means you’re going to need raffle tickets and pens and pencils for people to write their names on the tickets. And of course the raffle prizes!

Since you’ll be selling extra raffle tickets and extra bingo cards at the event, you will need someone there with a cashbox or who can except Venmo or other forms of electronic payments for the group.

And of course you’ll need a team to do set up and clean up. If you’ve rented a banquet room, their staff will do some of that for you, but you will still need to do the decorations and set up the Bingo Game and Raffle.

How Do You Make Money at a Bingo Night Fundraiser?

As we say all the time around here, the sky’s the limit when it comes to raising money for schools. Bring your most creative ideas to the table, and encourage everyone on your team to do that, too. Go beyond the basics and raise those funds!

Here are some of the ways you can raise money at a Bingo Night:

  • Ticket Sales – charge an entry fee to attend the event and consider tiered tickets with premium prices at the top level
  • Bingo Card Sales – sell single cards and as a bundle of 10, etc. Do pre-sales for a reduced amount and sell at full price at the event itself
  • Food Sales – serve a dinner for attendees to help make it a nice evening, or depending on your venue, book a food truck and split the proceeds with them at the end of the night
  • Drink Sales* – Your group will have to decide if serving alcohol is something you want to do, but you may be able to have a cash bar and put out a tip jar for the school
  • Have a Raffle on the side – donated items mean pure profit, and you can sell raffle tickets, individually and as a set
  • Sell Sponsorships – someone can sponsor the entire night for a premium price, or you can sell smaller table sponsorships, or sponsors can underwrite a specific round of the game
  • Again, the sky’s the limit!

Family Bingo Night School Fundraiser

What if you want to involve the kids, too? Why not make the event a family affair and hold it during the day or early in the evening before the kids’ bedtime. In this case you would need to make the game shorter and easier, and tailor the event to their age level. You could make it more like a carnival and aim for a fun time more than a fundraiser. It’s totally up to you.

Sarah A. has been fundraising for her kids’ schools for years. She’s got the info you need and she’s ready to share it with you!

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