Your bingo night plans are in motion! You’ve got the venue, you know the rules, you’ve got the equipment and your players know where and when they need to arrive to play some bingo… So how are you going to raise some money from this thing?
Whilst you don’t need a gambling license to run your bingo night, you can only charge players a maximum of £8 per day for everything relating to the bingo games.
This limit includes entry fees and ticket prices, which means that the bingo likely isn’t going to be your main source of profit. But that doesn’t mean it won’t raise money!
Here’s the best ways you can raise money for your fundraising event.
Sell bingo tickets
The most obvious way to make money from a bingo night is to sell bingo tickets either in advance or on the night.
As we stated above, there’s an £8 maximum that you can charge attendees to your bingo night for entry, tickets and everything related to the bingo games.
It’s important to price your tickets accordingly and set a ticket limit per game so that there’s a decent number of people playing each game and there’s nobody overspending to give themselves better odds.
Offering tickets for 50p each and setting the limit at 4 tickets per game means you could play at least 4 games of bingo throughout the night, giving you an opportunity to try out a few different types of bingo.
Charge for entry
By charging for entry into the event you can start raising some funds before the bingo has even started. Also, anyone who is coming to the event but isn’t going to play bingo can also contribute.
It’s a good idea to keep the cost of entry low, as it comes off of the £8 per person limit. Around £1 or £2 leaves you enough money to charge for bingo tickets and still have at least 3 games.
Alternatively, you could instead charge the full £8 for entry and include a set number of tickets with your entry price.
This means you can run more games throughout the night that you can be sure will be filled with players. This method also ensures you will make at least the full £8 for every person who attends your bingo night
Sell food and drink
If you want your players to have a good time and get comfortable whilst enjoying bingo with friends and family, it’s a great idea to sell food and drink!
Not only will this keep players happy for a long time, it will also give you an opportunity to raise even more money for your event.
The cheapest way to go about this is to make food yourself, or ask the community to donate food that you can sell at the event. You could sell burgers and sausages, but as cost is the key factor here, cooking large batches of food will keep costs low.
Making a large curry, chilli or bolognese sauce ahead of time and serving with rice/pasta will help you make food for a lot of people whilst saving you money. It’s important to consider allergies and dietary requirements when deciding what to serve, too.
Be sure to price your food according to how much your ingredients cost and how much you think you will sell. You don’t want to end the night with no leftovers and no profit!
For a one off event you are not required to have a certificate to prepare and sell food, but you need to ensure that you are following FSA guidelines with regards to food safety
If you plan on selling alcohol at your event you need to be sure your venue is licensed for the sale and consumption of alcohol. You can get in contact with the venue’s alcohol license holder to ensure you are not breaking any laws. For more information on whether you need an alcohol licence and how to get one, check out the official government website.
A simple way to raise even more money is just to accept donations in cash or have a fundraising donation page set up in aid of your night.
A link to your donation page can be shared publicly on social media to raise awareness and some extra funds from people who can’t make the event or don’t live in the local area.
You can find more information in our blog about how to set up a fundraising donation page.
Whether a business provides funds directly to your cause, offers their services (like catering or a DJ) or donates products that can be used as prizes for your bingo night, a sponsorship is a great opportunity for businesses to help their local communities in exchange for advertising and exposure.
Remember to approach businesses respectfully, as you are asking them to provide goods or services for free. Be sure to tell them what cause your event will benefit and give them all the details.
You should offer to feature the businesses logo on all promotional materials, mention the business on your facebook event and display them prominently at the event.
A chance to directly advertise and be seen as helping a good cause can be invaluable to small businesses. Try reaching out to a large number of businesses and you might be surprised how many will be happy to help.
You could even request that a local cafe or restaurant provides food as a donation, or ask them to cater the night and donate a portion of the profits to your event.
This will help save you time and money as well as providing a better offering for food and drink.
Run a raffle
Your bingo night doesn’t need to just be about bingo! You could run a raffle and sell tickets throughout the night, and offer some enticing prizes too.
The money you charge for raffle tickets does not count as part of the £8 maximum you can charge for bingo, so this is a great way to raise some extra funds.
Ask for donations to give away as prizes
This tip isn’t a way to raise money, but it’s a good way to save a lot! Part of your budget for the event will likely include prizes for winners, which is a big pull at any bingo night.
Depending on how many games you plan on running, you will need jackpot prizes and some runners up prizes too. If you decide to run 4 games of 90 ball bingo, that’s at least 12 prizes!
A way to save on the profits you make from your night is to ask local businesses, restaurants and shops to donate prizes for your fundraiser instead of buying them all.
Many businesses will be glad to help a good cause, and you can sweeten the deal by offering to advertise the business and its services by displaying the prizes before the games start.
Even a local McDonald’s can help by offering vouchers and free meals, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Even if you only manage to get 4 prize donations, they will serve as great jackpot prizes that will get people excited to play!
Now you know how to host a great bingo night and raise lots of money for a good cause, let’s work out how much your bingo night is going to cost.