Organising a session (or two!) of village bingo can be rewarding in several ways. It could be that you’re trying to raise funds for a school or other local charity. Or looking to create a regular social event for the community. Or both!
Gone is the image of little old ladies or holiday makers at a seaside resort. With the recent rise in popularity of online bingo it has fast become a recognisable – and fun – way to spend your leisure time. We now have more than just Mecca Bingo and Gala Bingo halls. Sites like Sun Bingo and Tombola are now instantly recognisable names.
Village bingo doesn’t have to take too much to organise. But there are some factors to consider.
How do I organise my village bingo?
This may sound obvious but the first thing to do is determine your aim. Are you trying to raise money? If so then a local project will – with the right promotion – attract local support.
Or are you creating a social event? We are in an age when many people say they don’t know the names of their neighbours. So a village bingo event can be fantastic for bringing people together.
This will help you decide how to promote your event. If it is a one-off charity event then it needs a lot of promotion. But if you intend to hold it regularly then you can start small and build up as word gets around. Which it will if it is successful.
However – beware of trying to operate this as a money making business. Bingo players will very quickly calculate how much is going ‘into the pot’ and how much is being paid out in prizes. They will accept a slight shortfall to cover costs – room hire etc – if it is explained to start with. And they will expect it if it’s a fund raising event. But if they think you are making money personally then you won’t keep your players for long………
You will need somewhere with plenty of space and access to chairs and tables. A local village hall, church hall or community centre is ideal. And will usually only charge a minimal fee – if at all.
But don’t overlook the less obvious just because it’s less traditional. Why not use your village pub? You will have chairs and tables already set out for you. There’s no need to organise refreshments. And its very unlikely you will be charged by the landlord. Any decent publican today is desperately trying to find ways to increase custom. Whether it’s a one-off or a regular event – he / she will most likely jump at the chance to hold your village bingo on their premises. Particularly if you are advertising the event because its free publicity for them.
And yes there may be a few drinkers heckling. But if your bingo caller copes with this and makes it funny …… who knows ……. they may even join in!
Your chosen location will influence this. There may only be certain nights when any village community centre is free. And if you are using your village pub then you don’t want to clash with darts or pool night.
And it may be wise to avoid Friday or Saturday evenings when people may have other plans. Particularly if you are holding it at the local pub – you may have just a bit too much vocal competition from the regular drinkers!
Also check on other local events in the area. If the neighbouring village hold a regular village bingo event on the first Monday of the month then don’t try and compete with them. Hold yours on the third Monday of the month and you may even have some of their regulars travel over and join you.
Yes it is possible to organise this yourself. But it’s always useful to have some help. Don’t forget that you need a bingo caller. Take a look at our page on how to be a successful bingo caller.
As said previously – if this is a one-off event then you need to promote it. A planned regular event can still do with some advertising but will build up gradually. Use village noticeboards. Is there a local community magazine? Don’t just put 20 words in the ‘what’s on’ section. Most editors will happily accept short pieces on upcoming events. (Don’t forget to do the same afterwards to tell the community what a great time everyone had!). Take advantage of social media. Use Facebook, Twitter etc. Don’t worry if you don’t use them yourself. Somebody you know will! If held at your local pub then ask your publican what they do to advertise? They may use social media themselves – also noticeboards outside etc.
Now consider what bingo equipment you need. But be sensible. This is a village bingo event – you’re not opening a bingo hall! Ok you need some bingo tickets. But you can easily create ‘bingo balls’ by writing numbers on pieces of paper and pulling them out of a bag. Or just start small with a mini bingo game set. And proper bingo dabbers would be handy but certainly not essential. Another advantage of holding your village bingo at the pub – would they invest in some equipment to make it a successful regular event?
Lastly – and importantly. Don’t take this all too seriously. It must be fun for everyone! If the bingo players laugh out loud because it goes wrong then great! If they enjoy themselves then they will come back again next time!