Bingo is a popular game played by people of all ages. Basket bingos are equally popular. After months of preparation, our non profit organization held their first successful basket bingo and raised several thousand dollars. It's worth the time and hard work and we all had a lot of fun!
Plan and organize your basket bingo! Your organization has decided to hold a basket bingo to raise a large sum of money. Great! Now the planning and organization starts. A committee should be formed and elect a chairperson and co-chair to do most of the organizing. These two people will mostly be in charge of the basket bingo event, delegating jobs to other people in the organization.
- Contact a Longaberger consultant- basket bingos are often done with the help of a Longaberger consultant who will set you up with the baskets you need. Many consultants do basket bingos so don't be afraid to ask for help!
- Also popular are Vera Bradley bags and many bingos are combining Longaberger and Vera Bradley products as prizes. Bingos can also offer other prizes as well.
Find sponsors! Members of your organization need to be actively involved in finding businesses and families who will sponsor baskets. Your Longaberger consultant will give you a list of baskets and the retail price of each basket. Most basket bingos are 20 games of bingo with some raffles and special prizes. Expect to have 20-25 baskets in which you will need to find sponsors. Let each member of your organization know that he/she will need to find sponsors for several baskets (depending on how many people are willing to do this and are in your organization).
- Create a professional letter to give to businesses asking them for their financial support. They may sponsor a basket for an exact cost OR your organization may want to simply offer sponsorship for a $50, $75 or $100 basket. Your letter should include this information as well as the name of your organization and what you are raising money for.
- Take about 1-2 months to have members find sponsors for the baskets. Follow up with a thank you letter too. Choose one person on the committee to handle all the money.
- The baskets will also need to be filled. Sponsors can fill the baskets with products from their business, or with some of the extra money the organization makes from the sponsoring of baskets, members can fill them too. It's important to make the baskets pretty and fill them to the brim. Choose a theme for the basket too- ice cream, pizza, candles, holiday, sports...go crazy and stuff them full! Remember though, it's the basket itself that people want, not so much what is in them. Dollar stores are good places to buy filler items!
- Some large businesses may donate items to your cause. For example, one national business in my area donated a pallet of items they couldn't sell. The boxes were damaged, but not the goods inside. We got coffee makers, toasters, boom boxes, perfume and a lot more! These make excellent door prizes or fillers for the baskets!
Find a time and place to hold your basket bingo. You can't have a bingo fundraiser without establishing the time and place. Many firehalls in small communities are great places to have a bingo fundraiser. Because this is considered gambling in many states, churches and schools will not be appropriate places to hold a bingo fundraiser. VFW halls, Lions' Clubs and such places may be another idea. These places may charge a fee to hold your basket bingo. It can run as much as several hundred dollars.
- Decide on the time. Many bingos happen around the holidays. However, bingos can be held any time of the year.
- Most bingos are held in the evening. Doors open at 6 with games starting at 7 p.m. They may also be held in the late morning or afternoons too. Allow about 3 hours for your basket bingo event.
Advertise and sell! Once you have your baskets sponsored (and you should make some money from this as well), it's time to get the word out. You may want to designate several people from your organization to be involved in this as well. Make flyers and post them in places where you have permission to post them. Advertise on the Internet (www.basketevents.com), in your local newspaper, town newsletters, and signs. Even cable television is a good place to put an ad. People need to know what the organization is that is holding the bingo fundraiser, where and what time the bingo will take place, how much the tickets are, and other extras that will be happening at the bingo!
- Make a phone number available as many people will want to reserve tickets in advance. You should offer advance ticket sales at a cheaper rate -- for example, $10 in advance per tickets, $12 at the door. Many bingo fundraisers are charging as much as $20 a ticket though.
- Extras include special games, where a larger and nicer basket may be offered. You will sell individual bingo cards for this game at about $5 a card. Only people who purchase this card may blame this particular game.
- 2-3 large Longaberger baskets or gift certificates of $100 or more may be raffled off. Sell raffle tickets for these items to earn more money.
- To save money, print out your own tickets (blank, numbered tickets are sold at most office supply stores), print out flyers and the programs you'll be using.
Behind the scenes! While things start to come together, you need to think about what you will need at the actual bingo fundraiser. Programs telling players what game is being played, the basket being offered, and who it's sponsored by need to be on the program.
- Offer food at the bingo. Many fire halls have a woman's auxiliary who are willing to prepare and sell food. They can raise money for their organization doing this as well. Or, your organization may also want to handle the food too.
- Makes signs that show what the different raffles are, and how much it is to play the raffle.
- Designate volunteers for various jobs on the night of the fundraiser. Who will sell tickets? Who will sell the raffles? Who will be your bingo caller? (Make sure you have an experienced caller and a bingo machine!) Who will sell dabbers?
- Purchase: Bingo cards (usually sets of 10 or 20 games/ 3 games per page); dabbers; individual bingo cards; cellophane or shrink wrap to wrap the baskets; ribbons; raffle tickets; tape.
- Make sure each basket is labeled and corresponds with the bingo game.
- If your state/county requires a gambling license, you may need to purchase one several weeks before the event. They can be purchased at the sheriff's/police office.
It's the day of the bingo fundraiser! Arrive in plenty of time to get the tables set up and covered. Baskets need to be set up on one table, with door prizes on another. Make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to do. Have cash boxes with extra cash for change on hand. Set up tables to sell tickets, to sell raffles, dabbers and special games.
- Make sure the food is being properly prepared and served.
- Make sure the bingo caller is there and that the machine is properly working!
- Have a microphone.
- Have fun!
This is a very quick reference for anyone wanting to put together a basket bingo. There are many good links online if you need more help in pursuing this. Finding other organizations who have already done a basket bingo is one of your best ways to get the information you need to make your basket bingo truly succesful!