Perhaps one of the easiest events you can hold, the bingo night
is a well-known school favourite. Keep it simple or adapt it to
suit the occasion with delightful décor and perfect prizes. Funds
are raised by selling tickets to attend (which might include a
number of bingo game tickets), both in advance or on the door.
Boost profits by hosting interval games, running a raffle and by
offering a hot dinner and/or refreshments.
Two months before: Agree the date
and book the hall. Speak to the school to agree a date for the
mufti day for donations of prizes, if necessary. If serving food,
choose a supplier and check prices with them to decide what you
want to charge parents.
Four to five weeks before: Send out
letters and booking forms (for tickets and food) in pupils' book
bags or via email.
Post the event on your PTA's Facebook page if you have one.
Order bingo books and dabbers in bulk - find suppliers at
Two to three weeks before: Send out a
request to parents and local businesses for prize donations. Post
reminders on Facebook as the date gets nearer. Ensure you have
enough helpers, collect donations and sort out prizes. Check you
have all the equipment you need - a PA system is a useful way to
make sure numbers are heard above the noise of the crowd!
One week before: Prepare your
prizes, labelling them up into categories such as 'one line' or
'full house'. Buy cups and refreshments. Ensure you have enough
people to set up tables and chairs, serve refreshments and to help
clear away. If serving food, contact your supplier to confirm your
order and the delivery arrangements on the night. Order change for
floats from the bank.
On the day: Collect floats from the bank.
Arrive early to set up tables and chairs and prepare the bar or
heat up the tea urn. Set up the bingo calling system, PA equipment,
After the event: Have a post-event
debrief to discuss what worked well and what may need tweaking for
next time. Thank your volunteers after the event and ask for
feedback. Give details about how much the event raised and how this
will be spent.
Tips and advice
- Licensing: You don't need a gambling
licence for a fundraising bingo event as it falls under the terms
of 'non-commercial prize gaming'. Admission charges mustn't exceed
£8 per person and prizes must not exceed £600. Go to
gamblingcommission.gov.uk for more details. If selling or supplying
alcohol, you will need a TEN (England and Wales). Submit an
application to your local council at least ten days before your
event. If planning a music bingo event, i.e. through Rock and Roll
Bingo (rockandrollbingo.co.uk), you will need PRS for Music and PPL
licences - check with the school to see if their licences cover you
for events held on school premises.
- Prizes: Hold a mufti day where children
bring in a prize in exchange for being able to wear their own
clothes. Ask local businesses and supermarkets for donations to
boost the prizes on offer or request a prize for a raffle to be
held on the night. Have a big prize for 'house' and smaller ones
for a line, for each game.
- Boost profits: Select some of the better
prize donations and use them in a raffle. Sell tickets on the door
and in the interval, drawing winners at the end of the evening.
What food and refreshments are you going to offer? Soft drinks or a
licensed bar? Snacks or a hot meal? Including food in the ticket
price means you can charge slightly more. If providing a full meal,
take orders in advance via forms in book bags. Ask around local
businesses to see if they can do you a deal in exchange for
advertising at the event. If you're approaching companies with
raffle prize requests, see if they would also like to sponsor a
bingo game, announcing them at the start of that round!
- Equipment: Consider whether you're going
to go down the traditional route of a cage and numbered balls, or
go high-tech with a bingo caller app or digital machine. You may
not have a cage handy, but could anyone on your committee download
a free caller app onto their laptop? Or can you borrow equipment
from another PTA or community groups such as Rotary or Lions Clubs?
Bingo cards and dabbers can be bought in bulk online. Find bingo
equipment suppliers in our directory.
- Theme it: Upcoming spring celebrations
include Valentine's Day and Easter, so why not theme your event
accordingly? Think about the décor and prizes, as well as themed
- Charging: Are you going to charge for the
whole night, or game by game? Will food be included in the price?
Most PTAs charge around £1 for four games, or £5 entry per family,
which includes eight games as well as a snack and soft drinks.
- Timings: Allow 15-20 minutes to play each
full-house game, which includes time to award a separate prize for
- Rhyming calls: Calls can vary by region, but we've put together
a sheet you can download to use as a starting point.
Remember to call numbers out like a pro: 'six and three,
print-friendly PDF version of our step-by-step guide to running a
Lisa Philogene-Jones, PTFA Chair, Hill View Primary
School, Bournemouth (660 pupils): 'We have
been running an Easter chocolate bingo night for the past three
years - it's a really successful event that doesn't take much
We gather prizes through a mufti day where we ask for donations
of chocolate. We then put together hampers using small supermarket
veg boxes, which are also donated. We have a spare prize bag in
case two people win at the same time, and small eggs are saved to
give to the children who attend.
We bulk-buy tickets and dabbers from Amazon at about £16 for 750
books of bingo tickets (enough for two events) and 30p each for
bingo dabbers, which we sell for £1 on the night. A couple of
parents volunteer as callers and they use an online bingo number
To boost profits, we hold a raffle with some of the better
chocolate donations, selling tickets both on the door and in the
interval. We also make up around five extra hampers to raffle off
for families who couldn't attend. We do this the week after the
event and draw the winners in the school playground in front of a
At our last event, we had 180 people attend, which is the
maximum we can fit in the school hall. We sold tickets in advance,
charging £1 for a bingo game ticket, and sold out well before the
event! On the night, we offered extra game tickets for £1 a game or
six games for £5. We made a total of £1,183 from our last bingo
It's such a popular event, but because of space restrictions we
have to limit numbers, so we're planning to hold a Christmas bingo
night this year, too.'
Richard Nurse, PTA Social Media Manager, Norris Bank
Primary School, Heaton Norris, Stockport (399
pupils): 'The purpose of our bingo night was to
introduce new people to the school. Because of this we wanted to
run an event that was affordable for everyone. We charged £5 per
family, as some parents have up to three children at the school. We
boosted profits by charging separately for a fish-and-chip supper,
supplied by a local shop and sold on for a profit, and running a
For the prizes, we took advantage of items left over from other
events. We used wine from the summer fair as the prize for the
adults, and sweets from the Halloween party for the children. This
was key to ensuring we could keep costs low for the families, while
still making a profit. We bought everything else wholesale,
including colouring books as extra prizes for the children, and
bingo cards and dabbers, which were all included in the price of
Because we had to place orders for food, we sold tickets in
advance. We had around 50 families attend. The event lasted for an
hour and a half, including a half-hour interval for food. It was a
fun and relaxed evening where everyone could get to know each other
and the community came together. And we were able to raise
£345.64 for the school!'
The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you
contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to
insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection
requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for
any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance
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