Bingo drums and rolls have been ringing in your head, and you are dying to set up a charity bingo event that will be worth your time. However, you have no idea where to start. Get ready because this article will make it very easy for you and let you hit your charity event goals.
Bingo is among the most sociable games that can be played indoors, outdoors and online. For centuries, neighbours and friends have always come together to catch up on the latest news as they share an afternoon cup of tea and bingo. Being more of a game of chance and not strategy, any newbie can quickly catch up on the simple bingo rules and have a fun session right from the very first game.
Aside from the fact that bingo is not gender specific, it is also not age specific, and anybody who takes part in a bingo session will immensely enjoy it and laugh off any stress or anxiety. Bingo is, therefore, your best chance of bringing people together to have some fun gaming, as well as fundraising for a worthy cause, say UNICEF causes, Breast Cancer Awareness, hospital upgrade or a pet’s homecare event.
To have a successful event, you need to plan well and consider several factors. This includes the following:
1. What the UKGC Stipulates about Bingo Charity Fundraising Events
Many times, our best efforts go down the drain when we do not observe simple governing regulations. Bingo gaming is regulated by the UKGC in order to safeguard innocent victims from falling prey to fraudsters and exploiters. To make your charity event legitimate, you must observe the following:
- Identify your cause beforehand and advertise about the same to your intended participants. You must show the reason why the cause is important and what you intend to have accomplished by the end of the event. For example, if you intend to fundraise for the breast cancer cause, you should communicate to the participants that you are aiming to create awareness, help the affected and infected with hospital care (possibly surgery and psychological encouragement) or raise funds for cancer drugs.
- You must make it clear that this is a non-commercial gaming event such that participants do not expect high prizes. You must set the prize before the event such that participants do not expect to take home the whole amount raised. The UKGC stipulates that the total prizes should not exceed £600 for all players and not more than £900 if this is the final event in a number of series of events.
- You cannot charge the participants more than £8 for the day in total for the entrance fees or stakes or any extra fees regarding gaming during the event.
- Participants under 18 years can participate in the event, as long as it is a non-commercial gambling event.
- You do not need a UKGC license, but it is best to check with your local authority regarding the venue and other permissions like public gatherings and noise among others.
- The total proceeds should go to the intended cause apart from the reasonable costs such as venue charge, sound system or security hire. The proceeds include the funds raised from the ticket fees, entrance fees and sponsors. However, any proceeds from private vendors like sandwich, ice cream, and soft drink vendors can be kept by the sellers if that was the arrangement beforehand.
2. The Amount You Aim to Raise at the Charity Event
Having a clear knowledge of the funds that you are aiming to raise helps you budget for the best means of raising the amount. With this in mind, you can effectively project the event size such that if you only need a small gathering, you plan accordingly and plan the best way for a larger gathering in the case of a big event. You can also plan on an additional source of funds like refreshments, foods and children’s fun events.
3. The Source of Funds for the Prizes
You must consider how to raise money for the prizes, which will attract the participants. You can request for sponsorship like hotels and travel companies, which can support you with air tickets or hotel accommodation prizes for the winners. Others include shop gift vouchers, spa treatments or tangible branded gifts like pens, wallets, t-shirts, and caps among others. You can also hold a raffle or sweepstake to add onto the proceeds.
4. The Best Advertising Medium
Depending on your intended participants, you can choose to use posters, fliers, print media, social media, Television or radio to reach the target audience. Whichever method you choose, you need to factor in the cost and success of the same when budgeting for the event.
5. Plan for the Actual Bingo Gaming Event
Having settled on the charity cause that you want to support and checked that you have followed the lawful guidelines, set a date and advertised widely, let us focus on the success of that day’s event. You need to consider the following:
- The Human Resource: No doubt, a bingo charity event cannot be a one-man show. You will need the support of other key people. This includes the sponsors of the day’s event. You should also indicate them in your advertisement and liaise with them regarding running the day. You also need the help of security personnel especially if it is a night event. Other key personnel includes the ticket sellers, refreshments vendors, venue owners and grounds people among others.
- You need to plan on the ticket prices and how the participants can get them: Ordinarily, you can plan for 20 to 30 games during the event. You can opt to let them buy tickets for 2 or 3 games whereby players must buy the cards before the next set of games start, or they can buy a pack for 10 games. In this way, you plan how many games can be played before a break for refreshments.
- You must agree on the various bingo prizes: This is in reference to how many winners you expect per round. You can settle on one full house winner, where one person gets the full prize. You can also have extra winners like the first row winners for the person who marks the first row fully, or the middle row and last row winner for marking the middle or last row fully. You can also reward the person who marks all the first corners or the ‘fast- five’ winner for marking off the first 5 numbers. You can use any of the bingo variations together with the full house win.
6. Acquiring the Necessities
- Venue: The necessities start with the venue of your intended event. Depending on the size of the audience, you need to get a venue that will accommodate all the participants. You also need to factor in external forces such as rain, drizzles or extreme sunshine so that you can hire tents or hold the event indoors. You should also consider the availability of the venue and book early in advance. Since you are aiming to fundraise for charity, you can hire a church hall, school theatre room or use your house depending on the number of people expected.
- Pens/Daubers: You need to get enough of these in advance so that participants can tick off the numbers without delays.
- Tickets: You can organise to improvise with homemade tickets.
- Seats/Tables: Plan to have enough seating space for the participants.
7. Having Bingo Fun in Fundraising
Fundraising for charity does not translate to a stiff and boring affair. You need to spice the event without diverging far from the main purpose, which is raising funds for a worthy cause. You can adopt the following to keep your participants cheerful during the event.
- Invest in a sociable and experienced bingo caller: bingo being a social game, you need to get a caller who will arouse interest and responsiveness in the bingo audience. The caller can make or break the bingo event if he creates interest or does not connect with the audience. Knowing the bingo lingo is essential for any caller so that the audience can concentrate and respond to the fun in number calling. Additionally, he can authoritatively act as the master of the ceremony by dispelling the gloom with funny jokes and icebreakers during the game sessions.
- Adopt a theme that carries the message home: for instance, if raising funds for cancer, you can wear ribbons, printed t-shirts and caps with the relevant message and include banners with the respective message displayed at the venue. You can register your event with the relevant bodies like UNICEF and get assistance in the form of UNICEF fliers, posters, banners and balloons.
- You can adopt bingo blingo whereby participants don their best bling to add fashion and glitter to the event. You can also have a reward for the most fanciful bling or most uniquely dressed participants.
- If children are likely to attend, you can include children’s events such as children’s fashion show in between the bingo games breaks.
- Your bingo charity event is more fun when players can relax, stretch their feet and grab a bite in between the day’s games. You can plan to offer the refreshments like soft drinks, sandwiches and other snacks all included in the entrance fees. You can also raise extra funds by offering meals and other extras.
Organizing for a successful charity bingo event can be a walk in the park or become an uphill task depending on your attitude. With careful planning and willing support from friends and stakeholders, you can easily reach and surpass your target. We wish you all the best as you plan to give to a worthy cause.