Darcy’s ‘How to organise a Family Bingo event to raise money for Facial Palsy UK’

BingoDarcy and her family have organised fundraising Bingo events for Facial Palsy UK very successfully and have shared some tips here for us.

Choosing a venue

Make sure it is accessible – that means people in wheelchairs or with other walking difficulties can get to your event and use all the facilities. Think about parking and how people can travel to your event. Think about how many tables and chairs you will need for players and to display prizes, etc.

Who do you need to help you?

  • Volunteers to sell bingo books and raffle tickets.
  • A volunteer bingo caller.
  • Volunteers to check bingo numbers and hand out raffle prizes.
  • Volunteers to help with refreshments.

What equipment/supplies do you need?

Bingo books

  • A microphone and amplifier or loud speakers so your bingo caller can be heard.
  • A bingo machine, such as the Bingola Elegance, you might be able to borrow one.
  • Bingo pens (to sell)
  • Jumbo Bingo Books (Darcy uses ’10 game’ booklets which are 6 to view). These can be purchased from places like Amazon or specialist bingo suppliers.
  • Bingo prizes
  • Cloakroom tickets (raffle tickets)
  • Raffle prizes
  • A good supply of teas, coffees and cake or biscuits available to purchase. Put allergen notices up to warn people who might be allergic to ingredients.


  • Raffle tickets should only be sold at the event unless you have a local council licence.
  • A non-commerical bingo night can be run without a licence or other form of permission providing you follow certain rules. The maximum amount that a player can be charged is £8 per day (this includes entrance or participation fees, stakes and any other payments in relation to the gaming). You must ensure that the total amount paid out in prizes remains below £600 in total and proceeds of the event (excluding reasonable costs) must go to charity. Please see more information on the Gambling Commission website.
  • If you are having cash or alcohol prizes children can’t take part. In this case consider running two games at once, one for the kids and one for the adults, with different sets of prizes.
  • If you are providing alcohol as refreshments you may need a licence from the local authority.
  • Ask Facial Palsy for an ‘Authority to fundraise’ letter and hand copies of this to shops, etc. who you are approaching for raffle prize donations.
  • Plan how you will manage a ‘play off’, if two people call line or house at the same time.
  • Work out how many games you are going to have. Estimate 10 minutes per game from starting it to handing out the winning prize.

Important things to remember on the day

  • Remember to welcome everyone and explain what you are fundraising in aid of.
  • The bingo caller should not call numbers out too fast, some people struggle to keep up.
  • Do your thank yous before the last game before people rush off.

Ice breaker idea

  • Selotape a raffle ticket welcome number on the front of each Bingo Book. Draw a winner as a welcome before the Bingo begins.

How to play bingo

If you play with the bingo books which are ‘6 to view’ you will have all the numbers on your page. Six bingo booklets are joined together (15 numbers arranged in three rows in a rectangular grid) and you turn the page for the next game, you play all six booklets for each game. There are no repeat numbers, so six books means you have to mark every time a number is called. If you play with a ‘3 to view’ (three booklets joined together) then you will only have three tickets which means you will only mark half of the numbers that are in play. This is why it is often simpler to use ‘6 to view’, i.e. six booklets, because you know you always have to mark at least one number each time they are called.

The numbers are arranged in columns, 1 to 9, 10 to 19 and so on. You have to mark all the numbers on a line to have a win. When you get a line call either ‘Line’ or ‘Bingo’.

Once the line is won the game goes to the next stage where players have to get a full house. Some places have a middle stage but it is often simpler just to have a line and full house. If you mark all 15 numbers in one of your six booklets you call ‘Bingo’.

You will need to decide how you are going to handle tie breakers where more than one person calls house or line. If you have a cash prize obviously you can split it but with other prizes it is not so easy. One option is to have a ‘play off’ at the end of that game. Reset the bingo machine and then tell players to only use one line, this could be the line that the last number was called out on or the very top line in their booklet. The bingo caller starts calling out new numbers and the first person to match a number on the line wins the prize.

If your bingo caller is new to this, they need to remember to reset the numbers after each Full House is won.

Further information

The Lets Get Fundraising website has a step-by-step guide to Bingo which you may find useful.


Last reviewed: 04-01-2020    ||    Next review due: 04-01-2023