The ultimate goals of all fundraisers is to raise money; so it’s no surprise that that’s the same instance for a bingo fundraiser. Running a bingo fundraiser is one thing, and running a successful one is another. There are many elements that come into play when running a fundraiser in general, and as an organizer, you adequately prepare yourself in order to get optimum results. Now let’s look at the revenue generators or the bingo products you’ll need to sell at your bingo event.
How to Run a Successful Bingo Fundraiser: Revenue Generators
Bingo Books & Admission
Many bingos will sell an admission package to each bingo player when they arrive. This package usually sells for around $20 and includes entry to the event, a bingo book with bingo sheets for each game in the bingo program, and perhaps an added bonus such as a free dauber or an extra bingo sheet for a jackpot game.
If you have early bird games (a handful of games before your main bingo program), you should sell bingo books for them for around $3-$5. Additionally, extra bingo books should be sold (usually for $5-$15 each) at a discount to the admission price. Finally, it’s a good idea to sell extra single bingo sheets for the larger prize (jackpot) games.
If you choose not to have an admission package, you can simply sell bingo books for a set price once the bingo players have entered.
Raffles are a great way to earn additional funds during your bingo event. During the night, have a friendly person walk around selling with a smile. If possible, it’s a good idea to advertise and presell the raffle tickets beforehand. You can have 50/50 raffles (where 50% of the proceeds go to the prize), or raffle off one or more prizes. Your prizes should be good quality and have obvious value. Don’t be cheap!
Be careful, raffles, like bingos, can also fall under state regulation. Be sure you find out your state’s policy on raffles beforehand.
Like raffle tickets, pulltabs (charity tickets) are a great way to increase sales and revenues during a bingo. A pulltab is a similar to a scratch off lottery ticket, but instead it has a number of “windows” that are peeled open to reveal a possible prize. Each box of pulltabs contains a set amount of prizes (usually around 75% of the take). Therefore, each box (once sold) is guaranteed a certain profit.
Pulltabs come in a variety of games and styles. If you decide to sell pulltabs, make sure you know how each game is played beforehand.
Be warned! Pulltabs are even more heavily regulated than bingos. Be sure that they are legal in your state. And, if they are legal, make sure that you are properly licensed to sell them.
Bingo supplies, especially bingo paper, can be a little confusing. If you are unfamiliar with bingo, ordering the proper bingo books can be difficult. We recommend you read “How to Order Bingo Paper” on the Wholesale Bingo Supplies website for a quick overview and for some idea what bingo paper cuts and sizes that bingo paper comes in.
Make sure you order your bingo supplies in advance to give yourself some time. You’ll likely need the following, bingo books, additional bingo sheets for jackpot games, bingo daubers (markers for the players), and raffle tickets and pulltabs (if legal in your area). If you’re unsure of what bingo supplies you need, visit Wholesale Bingo Supplies.
If you plan on hosting bingos on a regular basis, you might even consider purchasing an advanced bingo console and bingo equipment. But, this can get pricey. For an annual bingo, it’s best to find bingo equipment you can borrow. Also, you can get by purchasing a low-cost, quality, bingo cage.
If at all possible, find an experienced bingo caller. You don’t want some novice person calling bingo who has trouble handling the equipment (dropping bingo balls in the middle of a game can be a disaster) or lacks confidence in front of people. If you can’t find an experienced caller, then find someone who is comfortable with crowds and have them practice with the equipment ahead of time. Go over your bingo program step-by-step.
Whether experienced or not, you want your bingo callers to call numbers at a regular pace. We recommend that bingo numbers be called about every 20 seconds for commercial bingo hall environments where seasoned bingo players play. However, this speed should be adjusted to fit your crowd and the number of bingo faces in play. Hopefully, your bingo equipment will have a timer which will alert your caller when to call. However, if no timer is available, use a watch or clock as best you can to call at a regular pace.
Cash vs Baskets or Other Prizes
It doesn’t make a lot of difference if you give away cash or prizes or a mixture of both at your bingo fundraiser. The important thing is to make sure that whatever you give, you are giving something with value.
Make your bingo prizes worth the effort for your bingo players. If you give bingo baskets, fill them with quality products. If you give cash, make sure you give away some big jackpots. When your bingo players win a bingo, they want win something and they want to win something good.
Your bingo event will usually last from 3-5 hours, with the actual bingo program taking about 3 hours to play. Therefore, it is important to have refreshments and food available if possible. Bingo players are not robots. They will get hungry and thirsty.
Make sure that the food you serve at your concessions stand is good quality and keep your prices reasonable. We believe it’s smart business to have your bingo concession be a draw for your bingo event and not a profit center. Let your bingo games make the money while your concession keeps them well-nourished and happy.
A bingo fundraiser requires planning. You’ll need to assemble a team of volunteers, find a qualified bingo caller, acquire prize donations, locate a site, advertise, and more. Make sure you give yourself at least a month or two to prepare. Good luck and happy fundraising! If you follow our advice, we’re sure your next bingo fundraiser will be a success.