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How to Run a Bingo Game

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A bingo game can be a great fundraiser for your organization. Though it will take hard work on the day and serious preparations in the weeks leading up to it, most bingo games end up as very successful events. While the basics of a bingo night are the same as when you used to play in elementary school, there are many steps you can take to make the evening more and more profitable, thus generating even more funds for your program.

Check with local authorities to see if you need to file for any kind of permit. Bingo is, after all, gambling. In many communities simply being a not-for-profit organization is sufficient for permission, but it's best to double-check.

Set a date for your bingo game based on the schedules of the people involved in leading the event and the realities of the calendar. For example, you don't want to do your bingo night on the weekend of a major holiday. The date should give a minimum of two months' lead time.

Mention the event in your organization's newsletter as soon as you decide on the date.

Secure a location for your bingo night during the first week of preparations.

Gather prizes. Ask local businesses to donate a gift card or introductory service in exchange for mention at your event and the charitable donation. Go to a dollar store and pick up items to put into prize baskets. Be creative when thinking about prizes and sources of prizes--even "white elephants" can be a good prize for a charity bingo game.

Assign tasks for the night of your game one month before the event. Specific tasks include a caller, door person, prize giver and basic service and crowd control. If you intend to sell or serve refreshments, you'll need to assign people to that duty, as well.

Buy or make your bingo apparatus, including cards and the device for drawing your numbers. You can buy or make simple systems or rent full-service bingo games from party rental outfits.

Put mention of the event in the newsletter for the month of your event. Starting three or four weeks out, put up posters advertising the event throughout the building where your organization meets.

Two weeks prior to Bingo Night, start personally recruiting for your event by phone, email and face-to-face contact.

On the night of the event, make sure each task is assigned to one person. Don't have two people responsible for the same task as they might both assume the other has it covered.

Things You'll Need:

  • Bingo set
  • Tables and chairs
  • Large meeting room
  • Prizes
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