How much will your bingo night cost?

  • Updated
  • By Hannah Timoney
How much will your bingo night cost?

When you are organising a bingo night as a fundraising event you will want to make sure you keep costs as low as possible, to ensure you raise the maximum amount for your chosen charity or cause. We have put together a comprehensive guide of every cost you may incur while planning and running your bingo night event, using a turn out of 50 people as a reference. Remember all values given here are estimates and will depend on your needs and event.

Equipment

Daubers (or any pen really!) will be a necessary piece of bingo equipment for your players, in order to be able to cross off their numbers as they are called out, so they can track when they get bingo! You can find multipacks of daubers for around £1 in most craft and hobby stores and in general merchandise stores. If you have 50 players you may need to purchase around 17 packs of daubers, as these usually come in multipacks of 3. With an average price of £0.55 per pack, daubers aren’t all that expensive, coming out at roughly £17!

You could also save money here by asking players to bring a pen, or by getting a multipack of felt tip pens, which you can get 20 for just £1.

Min cost: £3
Max cost: £17

You will also need a bingo number generator. If you decide not to use an online bingo caller, which you can find for free, you will need to either hire or buy one. If you are using an events hall, or hiring a venue which regularly hosts charity events they may already have a number generator you can borrow, either for free or for a fraction of the price of buying one.You can even find them available for hire. However, you can easily find generators for low prices online. If you are trying to keep costs to a minimum we recommend using a generator app or website, you can find an electronic bingo machine for as low as £50 on sites such as Amazon and eBay.

Min cost: £0
Max cost: £50

Of course, the most important thing you will need is bingo sheets! You can find free downloads of these, to print off yourself, or you can purchase 600 sheets from as little as £3 online from online retailers.

Min cost: £0
Max cost: £3

Advertising

While organising your bingo night you may incur costs during the marketing stage. You can always use social media to advertise for free, but by doing it the old-fashioned way will add some costs to your overall budget. This includes the cost of printing flyers, if you do print any, and paying for an advert in the local newspaper. Advertising in your local paper will usually set you back between £20-30. You can get flyers printed for very low prices online, for example one site offers 100 A4 size flyers for £22. This is a great deal as you will get a wide reach and won’t cut much into your budget.

Min cost: £0
Cost: £40

Location

You will also need a venue to host your bingo night in. The cost of a venue varies greatly depending on the type of venue you choose, when you are using it, what facilities it provides, and of course geographical location. Venues in London will cost considerably more to hire than ones in a village. Note that if you are raising money for your local church or sports club you may be able to
request to use the venue for free. If you are using a community hall the prices can start at £30 per hour. So, if your event lasts three hours you could expect to pay upwards from £90.

Min cost: £0
Max cost: from £90 

Food and Drink

As this is a charity event, you will be wanting to keep costs down. For this reason, it is advisable to prepare your own food rather than outsource or hire an event caterer. You could consider preparing a large portion of a cheap and easy meal like Spaghetti Bolognese or chilli ahead of time if you know how many attendees you will have. In this way, you can feed your players from as low as £1 a head. Make sure to have accounted for dietary requirements, such as vegetarianism and gluten intolerance. Remember also to check FSA guidelines and your local council for advice on keeping yourself and others safe!

Of course, if you want to cut costs you could ask your guests to provide their own food. Just remember that not only is food and drink a good way to keep people happy, it is also a great way to raise more money by charging more for the food than you paid for the ingredients.

Min cost: £0
Max cost: £50

Drink prices will depend on whether you are providing alcohol or only soft drinks. If you are planning on serving alcohol make sure the venue is fully licensed and you are checking people’s IDs to ensure you do not break the law and receive a fine. You might consider setting limits, like a bottle of wine between 2 adults, or three beers per guest.

The option of asking people to provide their own drinks also works here and would also mitigate the issue of requiring a license to sell alcohol.

Min cost: £0
Max cost: £100 

Prizes

To comply with the law and avoid any issues, your bingo night prizes can only total £600 in value. If your event takes place over multiple nights your prize value can increase to £900. If you spend any more on the prizes for your bingo event you would need to obtain a gambling licence, so it is best to just make sure you spend less than this overall on all your bingo rewards. It is a good idea to ask for donations for gifts from the local community and businesses to reduce your costs.

Of course, if you have 50 people coming to your event, in order to raise money you will want to think about how much you can spend on prizes in order to still make a profit. £600 is the maximum you can spend, but you may want to aim for around £150-200.

Cost: £150

Total cost of your event

If you stick to the budget above you could expect to pay around £500 in total. However, you can ask your guests to pay for food and drinks so lots of this cost will be covered, and you can outsource prizes, or reduce the value of your prizes if this cost seems too high. Make sure to ask guests to buy tickets in advance so you can budget and figure out how much food and drink you need to purchase and prepare to avoid waste.

Min total cost: £150
Max total cost: £500

If you have stuck to this budget you should be able to make a hefty contribution for your charity. By charging £8 per person for entry and bingo tickets you can raise £400. And you can raise upwards of £625 if you charge £4.50 per head for the food and £8 for a bottle of wine and £5 per beer. This means you can expect to raise £1104, meaning the total amount raised from your event could be anywhere from £600 and up!

Remember that if you opt for all of the cheaper options when setting up your event, you can actually reduce the amount you could make for your chosen charity, as a large chunk of the money you make will come from the sales of food and drink. It's best to weigh up what's best for your event when you're planning, using the above as a guide.

Potential donation size: £604!

Now you've worked out how much money you're going to make from your event, it's time to decide what prizes you should award.


Check out the previous article in the series: How to raise money at your bingo night. Visit the hub page and read our entire 12-part guide to organising a bingo night fundraiser here!