Throughout the world, bingo is one of the most popular activities. This easy to operate and highly sociable games is used as a fundraiser opportunity at churches, schools and practically every other organization, and is perfect for a firehouse fundraiser! The following information is a brief overview of how to hold a successful and fun bingo night fundraiser, which hopefully raises funds and awareness for your local firehouse.
What is Bingo – A Brief Overview
In the most fundamental sense, bingo is simply a person calling out a randomly selected series of number, which are typically derived from a small balls pulled out of a rotating bingo machine – much like lottery numbers. Players feature small cards with a random series of numbers. When the operator of the bingo machine calls off a number featured on the players card, the player marks the number on their card off. The first person to mark off all numbers within their card calls out “Bingo!” and wins the game. Of course, there are many different variations of this game, but the aforementioned is the traditional way to play.
Organizing a Bingo Night Fundraiser
The first step in organizing a bingo night is determining where the event should be held. This solely depends on the number of people you think will want to attend the game. Typically, your firehouse would be the ideal place to hold such an event. However, it is possible to have hundreds of participants, which require large event spaces, such as a community center.
Once you’ve secured a venue, you should determine the type of refreshments to be provided. Typically, a bingo hall features drinks and light snacks; however, the possibilities are practically limitless. Consider inviting people to bring a dish to be shared – potluck bingo night. As a way to encourage people to provide food, you could provide a free bingo card for those who bring a dish.
After you’ve determined the type of refreshment and foods to be provided you should begin collecting supplies. The first step in establishing a successful bingo night is to find bingo cards. There are many online resources (such as Fundraising Bridge) which allow you to print off bingo cards at home for free; however, you will be responsible for providing the paper and ink. There are also many charity supply companies which specialize in bingo cards. Consider purchasing bingo cards with your school or organization name. This adds a nice touch to an already enjoyable nigh.
Next, you must locate a bingo machine to provide the numbers. Many event companies offer rental bingo machines, which are substantially cheaper than purchasing your own. If you know of a church, school or other organization who owns a bingo machine, contact them to determine whether or not they’ll lend you the machine.
The format of the bingo game can greatly vary; however, the following is the typical layout of a fundraiser bingo night:
3 to 4 individual bingo games, which typically lasts around one hour.
½ hour refreshment, food and raffle time (if a raffle is held)
Final 3 games, which can last anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour.
You make money at a bingo fundraiser by charging for each bingo card. The amount you charge can dramatically vary, from a few dollars per game to a “high rollers” bingo night, which may feature up to $20 per game. If you choose to do a high rollers game, you should have a substantial prize for winners. Consider contacting local businesses to donate prizes for bingo winners, which is an excellent way to attract crowds without having to spend firehouse money on prizes.