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How to Run a PTA Bingo Night

UK Blogs 5 min read

Bingo used to be thought of as a game for old folks. However, if you have been to any bingo hall recently you will see an increasing number of younger players. A PTA Bingo Night is not just good fun for all, but a fab way to boost funds for your school PTA.

Bingo nights are fairly easy to set up. Many schools choose to throw them annually, due to a great turnout and profits to match. In fact, some schools find it is so popular that they have to limit numbers attending and hold several bingo events a year, to keep the punters happy.

Larry David celebrating a bingo win
Larry loves a bit of Bingo! via Tenor

If this is your first PTA bingo night, here’s how to make it a success:

  1. Learn the Rules and Regulations
  2. Book your Venue
  3. Pick a theme for your bingo night
  4. Buy your Bingo equipment
  5. Get ready to sell tickets
  6. Plan your food and drink
  7. Ask for prize donations
  8. Secure sponsors
  9. Add a raffle to the mix
  10. Promote the event
  11. Recruit and remind volunteers
  12. Have fun on the night!
  13. Thank everyone and give a fundraising update

1. Learn the Rules and Regulations for a PTA Bingo Night

There is no need for a license specifically for this Bingo, as long as your PTA adheres to a few simple rules:

  • First and foremost tickets must not be sold for more than £8 per person.
  • Secondly, there are going to be a number of prizes up for grabs, and the total value of these prizes must not exceed £600.

Remember that licenses may be needed for other activities at your PTA Bingo night though. For example, if you plan on serving alcohol or if you want to play certain music.

2. Get a date booked in for your venue

Most PTAs hold their bingo event in the school hall as it’s usually free and made available for this type of thing. However depending on the scale of your event, you could also hire out a local community hall or other venue space.

3. Pick a theme for your PTA Bingo Night

Now all of the technical stuff is out of the way, it is time to get planning. The great thing about a bingo night is that it can be held all year round. It’s handy that it’s so adaptable, and can be a great filler for slower periods of the year.

Set a theme for your bingo event to help with organising decorations and even prizes. Christmas bingo night? Think Christmas decorations and Christmas hampers as prizes. Valentines Day? Valentine’s decorations and prizes could include meal vouchers and spa treatments.

You can make it a whole-family affair with the kids after school, or just for the grown-ups later in the evening.

The theme could be anything at all. Music bingo, Chocolate Bingo, Solar Bingo. You get the idea. Just B-B-B-BINGO!

Teacher shouting out Bingo!
Teachers love Bingo too! via Tenor

4. Buy your Bingo equipment

You’ll need to pre-order lots of bingo cards and daubers to hand out on the night. Click the images below to see details of handy PTA Bingo Night starter kits from Amazon (affiliate links)

Bingo Kit with digital display to select numbers for PTA Bingo Night
PTA Bingo Night - Digital Starter Kit (Amazon)

If you prefer the old-school bingo “cage” to pick your numbers, try this one:

Bingo Kit with cage roller to select numbers for PTA Bingo Night
PTA Bingo Night - Cage Starter Kit (Amazon)

You may already have access to the school’s Public Announcement (PA) equipment, but if not you can invest in a system for your PTA, which will make bingo calling easier at the event:

Large portable bluetooth speaker with microphone and remote control (PA system for PTA bingo night)
Get the right PA equipment (Amazon)

We’ve also provided a handy list of bingo caller numbers at the end of this article for you to download.

5. Set up online ticket sales

You can either sell tickets in advance using paper forms and cheque/cash payments, or use an online event ticketing platform like PlanSocial, which is specifically designed for PTA event organisers. It’s a lot cheaper than popular alternatives like Eventbrite, and has built0in features to promote volunteerism, perfect for your PTA!

Selling tickets in advance means you get paid up front and have guaranteed numbers. In fact if your space is limited, it means you won’t have to turn away disappointed people on the night trying to buy tickets at the door.

You can create a free PlanSocial Hub to add your Bingo Night event in under 2 minutes, and easily connect your PTA bank account to get paid securely online. There’s even a built-in Bingo Night event template that you can use and tweak as needed.

6. Plan Food and Drink for your PTA Bingo Night

To make a good amount of extra cash on the night, sell food and drinks too. Some PTAs just order in Pizzas or Fish’n’chips, but obviously you’ll make more profit if you manage to provide the food yourselves. You could do something really easy like hot dogs with frankfurters for instance. (Don’t forget a veggie option!)

It depends on how much work you are prepared to do, and how many volunteers you can muster too. You might just ask people to bring their own snacks, and simply run a bar. Up to you!

If you do go down the food route, meal choices can be made ahead of time by asking parents to fill in a form when they buy their tickets (ahem... also super easy on PlanSocial! 😇)

This way you can get them to not only pre-order food and drink, but also pay for it up front! This is a fabulous way to bring in funds ahead of time to pay for your stock, and minimise your risk as a PTA.

Joy from Friends points to his head and says
Even Joey know this is smart (Giphy)

7. Ask parents and businesses for game prize donations

To add to the excitement of the night, you’ll need to source lots of prizes for when people win lines, double lines or “house”.

Rather than bulk-buying mini-prizes, request a school non-uniform day where the students bring in donations like small treats, toiletries, etc. to build up a good stuck of items.

You can also approach your local businesses to request vouchers or other donations, which brings us to the next opportunity to raise funds, which is...

8. Get sponsors for your PTA Bingo Night

... ask them to sponsor your event! There are actually lots of opportunities to give local businesses good exposure at your PTA Bingo Night since there will be announcements made throughout the night.

You can put the businesses name on tickets or any other promotional material, or simply have their name and website link on your online event page.

(Pssst.. Your free PlanSocial Hub even makes it really easy to invite event sponsors, directly receive their funds online, and display their names and website links on the event page.)

You could even have one sponsor per bingo round, thereby engaging lots of sponsors but still giving each sponsor their big moment in the spotlight.

Homer Simpson wearing a crown and regal robe, saying
Make the most of that moment! (Giphy)

9. Add a raffle to the mix

Save any big prizes for a raffle towards the end of the night. This will keep some excitement going, and can crank up the money raised.

Remember you can pre-sell raffle tickets online too, and then sell the rest on the night. This is the best way to maximise your fundraising at this one event.

10. Promote your PTA Bingo Night event

Now you’ve done all the groundwork, make sure you put lots of effort into promoting the event so everyone hears about it and knows how to buy tickets.

Ask the school to email out a link to your event page, share it on social media and put posters up around school.

Start promoting it several weeks in advance, and keep going weekly until you are sold out. Why go to all this effort if you’re not going to get bums on seats?

Door sign
Take it to the max! (Giphy)

11. Recruit and remind volunteers

Make sure you rally the troops to help with everything that needs doing, not forgetting poster designers, event promoters, tickets checkers, food makers/orderers/servers, PA set up, bar staff, room decorators, and people to help tidy up.

If you set your volunteer rotas up on PlanSocial, then on the morning of the event, simply post a message to the helpers on the event wall to remind everyone what they offered to do, and a personalised reminder will go to each volunteer.

12. Have fun on the night!

If you’ve get enough help on board, hopefully you’ll have a little space and time to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Join in with the fun and trust in your merry team to run a tight ship. Congratulations on organising a fab event that your whole school community can enjoy!

Don’t be shy to have the PA ask everyone to pitch in to tidy at the end of the night - hand out bin bags and ask people nicely to stack the chairs and move the tables. Two minutes each from 100 people saves your Bingo crew from an hour of effort at the end of a long night!

13. Thank volunteers and update everyone with fundraising news

Once it’s done and dusted, you can send a heartfelt thank you to everyone, ideally with a few photos to bring it to life and entice even more parents to come next time. If it was a sell-out, it may even warrant a second (or even regular) PTA bingo night!

Tot up your profits and make sure you share this with total all concerned, so they can feel great about raising useful funds for the school while having so much fun. Ideally, also tell them what funds will be spent on, so they are reminded about the good that the PTA does.

Don’t forget to give an extra shout-out to those who volunteered of course, and let everyone (i.e. not just the current helpers) know you’d love them to pitch in next year as well.

Oh and give yourself a pat on the back too! 😉

Woman high-fiving herself saying
Go you! (Giphy)

Ready to get started with your Bingo Night?

Check out this downloadable Bingo Night event guide. This Bingo Night event template shows you how easy it is to use the the bingo event template that comes built in to your free PlanSocial Payment Hub. Just give us a shout if we can help you with anything!

About PlanSocial

PlanSocial Payment Hubs have a free* and easy-to-use ticketing system that’s perfect for school PTAs. We’ll help you connect your PTA’s bank account (via Stripe) to receive online payments paid safely. Then simply share your PlanSocial event page so parents can buy their tickets online. Start a free hub for your PTA in 2 minutes.

* No fees are charged to the PTA. Parents pay a low platform fee on transactions (1.5% + 5p) .

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