The question I am asked most often when it comes to putting on a benefit fundraiser is, “When should we have it? Is there a better day? A better time?” If you were to ask five different people who have put on benefits in the past, you would probably get five different answers which would really confuse you, right?
For my money, and to make the most money, I am partial to Saturday nights from 5-10pm. Before I give you the pluses of a Saturday night, let me give you the negatives of other nights. There are some who think Friday night would be a great time for a benefit. Their rationale is that people have had a hard week at work, they’re thrilled it’s finally Friday (TGIF!), and they’re ready to party and spend. The drawback to Friday is that most of your guests are probably still at work at 5pm when your event begins and even if they want to attend your fundraiser, they first have to make the drive home, freshen up and change out of the clothes they’ve lived in all day. Some may even need to grab a bite to eat before they leave knowing there is a long night ahead. Thus, they may not arrive until 6:30 or 7. The long night ahead creates another issue. These folks have been up since 6am and off to work by 7. Will they really be in the mood to party and bid until 10?
Sunday presents a different set of challenges. True, you would not have to rush around as you did on Friday and perhaps you could even bring the kids. But partying, spending and drinking until 10 is out of the question for most people. Monday morning is just around the corner and it’s not only a work day, but for 9 months out of the year it’s a school day as well.
Which brings me to Saturday. Mom and Dad have had a leisurely day of perhaps grocery shopping, catching up on housework and doing some yardwork. At about 3 in the afternoon, Mom can begin to get ready for the benefit with a shower or bath and have all the time in the world to put on makeup and party clothes – all with the help of a wine in hand! There is no rush and your guests are in a mood to reward themselves after working around the house all day. They can come early, spend lots, stay late and then sleep late!
What about Sunday morning church service, you ask. Most people will rationalize skipping service after having done such a good deed the night before!
Bingo fundraising events have been around for decades. That’s because people love to play bingo and charities can earn several thousand dollars in just one evening of bingo. Many nonprofit organizations, clubs and schools have annual basket bingo events. There are some organizations whose basket bingo fundraisers have become so popular and lucrative that they hold basket bingos two and three times a year.
While your organization can earn as much as $5,000 for an evening of basket bingo, it does take quite a lot work and preparation behind the scenes to put on one of these fundraisers.
So what is a basket bingo fundraiser?
Basket Bingo is like regular bingo except that the prizes are all baskets. Most often the baskets are Longaberger baskets. The baskets are filled with products such as Longaberger accessories, gift certificates, candles, scrapbooking supplies, beauty products, gourmet foods, etc. Each filled basket can be worth several hundred dollars. This is a big draw for your fundraiser.
The typical basket bingo fundraiser lasts from three to four hours. Holding them on a Saturday afternoon or evening are good times.
The elements of a typical Basket Bingo Fundraiser are:
Admission tickets are usually sold for $20.00 at the door or $18.00 in advance. For this price each participant receives a book of Bingo sheets good for 20 games of Bingo. You an sell extra game books for $5.00 each. Some people will buy extra sheets to increase the odds of winning in each bingo game. You can also have a couple of special bingo games that people pay extra for. You should aim to sell between 100 and 200 admission tickets. If you sell 125 tickets for $20.00 a piece that will bring in $2,500. By holding raffles and selling food during the event you can bring in more money for your organization.
In addition to prizes for each bingo game, you can also hold a raffle of a special prize. You can presell the raffle tickets and sell more during the event for an amount such as $1.00 or $5.00 per ticket. To maximize your earnings you should advertise the prize and presell tickets. Do not require that the winner be present during the drawing. The raffle prize doesn’t have to be a basket but should be a nice prize with a high dollar value. Longaberger wrought iron tables and accessories are good for raffle prizes.
Raffles for monetary prizes. 50/50 raffles are also a good way to raise more money during a basket bingo fundraiser. With a 50/50 raffle, tickets are usually sold for $1.00. At the end of the raffle one ticket is drawn and the winner receives fifty percent of the total amount raised by the sale of the tickets. The other fifty percent of the pot is kept by your organization.
You can also have door prizes that you hold drawings for during the event. Give everyone who purchases a ticket to the event one raffle ticket for each prize. The door prizes are usually small items.
Food and Refreshments
Snack Bars and Concessions. Since the event will last for three to four hours you should have refreshments available for purchase. At some basket bingo events a buffet luncheon is served that attendees pay extra for. You can raise more money by having food donated. You may want to provide one free drink to everyone who purchased a ticket. Bake sales are also good earners during bingo fundraisers.
Professional Bingo Caller and Bingo supplies
A professional bingo caller is recommended because it takes a person with experience and bingo equipment to run a night of bingo. You will also need a master of ceremonies to be in charge of making announcements and keeping the activities moving.
The Prize Baskets
You will need to have a unique gift basket as a prize for each game of bingo. Longaberger baskets are good to use because they are collectible. There are a lot Longaberger basket collectors who might not otherwise be bingo players but will come to your event for a chance at winning a basket. Many Longaberger baskets are also created with a purpose so filling them with items based on a theme is easy. In order to make money on your fundraiser the baskets and prizes should be donated. YOu can contact a local Longaberger sales representative who can sell you the baskets and give you advice on how to fill them. Raising the money to buy the baskets, or getting them donated, and filling them will take time and money. If your organization is a school you can assign each class a basket theme and ask the families of the students to send in items to fill the baskets.
Realistically it will take a couple of months of work in order to hold a basket bingo fundraiser. You first need to decide if you will be able to assemble of team of volunteers willing and able to do it. After you have assembled your team then you have to get the word out that you need donations of baskets, money, and prizes. You also need to select the venue and date for the fundraiser. Then you will be well on your way to a successful basket bingo fundraiser.
Are you looking for fundraising ideas for your nonprofit club, organization, school, or team? How about holding a yard sale?
Garage Sales, tag sales, rummage sales, yard sales. Whatever you call them in your part of the country, we’ve all been to them, and we all know that people love to find a bargain at a garage sale. Some nonprofit organizations hold a yearly “spring cleaning” garage sale. Or, your club could also hold a sale twice a year, one in the spring and then again in the fall. Members of your organization can save things all year long and accumulate lots of items to donate to the cause. Most members are usually very happy to get rid of their unneeded items.
Anyone who has ever conducted a garage sale knows that they require a lot of planning and labor but the rewards can be substantial. Your club should plan for it well in advance and allow about a month to gather all the donations and prepare for the sale.
Tips for a successful Fundraising Garage Sale
Before the Sale
Check with your city to find out if you need to have a permit to hold a garage sale. Ask if there are regulations concerning when and where you can place signs to advertise your garage sale. For example, some cities forbid placing signs on light poles.Announce the sale to the group. Tell them when and where it will be held and when and where to drop off donations. Decide on whether items will be priced by the person donating them or by the organiizers. Designate a person in charge of receiving the donations and choose a place to store the donations
Advertising – Plan your advertising well in advance in order to put classified ads in your local newspapers. Send press releases to your local newspaper and radio stations. Place flyers in public places such as grocery stores, libraries, bookstores, schools, and churches. The night before the sale place posters and signs on the street advertising your sale. Make sure you take down your signs and posters after the sale.Contingency Plans – It’s best to plan to hold the sale in any kind of weather. Try to hold the sale indoors or under tarps. You will have placed advertising and engaged the services of your volunteers for a specific day. If you have to cancel your sale because of weather you will have lost your advertising and your volunteers may not be available for a later date.
Pricing garage sale items – Pricing should be in round numbers. This will make pricing and selling much easier. You can buy pre-made pricing stickers at office supply stores or make your own on a printer. Generally speaking, items in good shape should be priced at one-third of their retail price. Of course there will be expections. For example, you might want to price hard cover books at $2.00 a piece no matter what the retail price was. Or, you may want to price CD’s, DVD’s, and tapes at $2.00 each. You should group like items together during the sale and sell them all for the same price unless otherwise marked.
Supplies needed – Tables, chairs, umbrellas, extension cords, clothes racks, boxes, plastic bags.
The Day of the Sale
Have as many volunteers on hand as possible. You will need people to help shoppers and keep things running smoothly. You’ll need people to take the money and provide security. You may want to offer to deliver items if your group has access to a willing person with a truck. Be aware that you will have “early birds” show up so try to be ready to sell up to one hour ahead of your advertised start time. In order to bring in drive-by traffic you can have volunteers hold up signs on nearby streets
Have a check-out table with chairs so that your volunteers can sit. At the table have plastic bags, boxes, scissors, a yard stick, measuring tape, and wrapping supplies such as newspapers. and tape Make sure that you have access to electricity so shoppers can test items. Display valuable items such as jewelry at the check-out table in order keep them from being stolen. You can use a cash box or fanny pack to hold the money. A fanny pack is recommended for security purposes. Make sure your money is never left unguarded. Have plenty of change in small bills at the beginning and throughout the sale. You will no doubt be receiving lots of twenty dollar bills. Take cash only, unless you are willing to take a check from a person who is known to you.
If the sale is being held at a personal residence take precautions against theft from shoppers. Never allow shoppers into the home and make sure outside items that are not for sale do not get stolen. Pets should be locked up also. As your cash builds up throughout the day take it inside to keep it safe.
Selling Tips to Maximize Your Sales and Raise More Money
Let your shoppers know that your yard sale is a fundraiser. Make sure your signs say what you are raising money for. You may want to make a display board at your check-out table the gives information about your organization and cause. Have your volunteers wear your club’s t-shirts or uniforms, if you have them, so shoppers will know who is working at the sale.
Decide in advance if you will bargain on prices. Expect that your shoppers will want to bargain. You may want to tell shoppers that you can’t lower prices until the afternoon. Let your shoppers know that your yard sale is a fundraiser and tell them how the money that the sale brings in will be used.
Additional Ways to Make Money During a Yard sale
Have a donation jar at your check-out table to collect donations.
Hold a raffle for a special item. You can display the actual item or a picture of the item you are raffleing. Sell tickets throughout the sale and have the raffle drawing at the end of the sale. Or, sell raffle tickets to a raffle that is ending at a later date.
Sell baked goods, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, sodas, coffee, tea, bottled water, candy, etc.
Sell products your organization has produced such as cookbooks, calendars, CD’s, shirts or other spirit items.
Sell fundraising products such as cookie dough, candy bars, wrapping paper and more. There is a wide variety of items available from fundraising companies that nonprofit clubs and organizations can sell to raise money.
In addition to raising money, yard sales are a good way to raise raising awareness for your cause and nonprofit organization. Who knows, you might even recruit some new members during your yard sale.