Q: What was your fundraiser?

A: My fundraiser was called the 4K For Cancer Bingo Extravaganza.  I got food donations from David’s Natural Market in Columbia, MD and got pizza discounted from Vocelli’s in Ellicott City, MD.  People also brought food that they made at home.  There was also a keg that my parents kindly donated.  Prizes were won through bingo games.  It was held in my parent’s backyard in Ellicott City.

Q: If you could do it again, would you do anything differently?

A: If I were to do this again, I would look for more prizes that aren’t gift cards and are more take away prizes.  A lot of people came who don’t live in the area, so they didn’t play the bingo games for the gift card prizes, meaning less donations.  Some takeaway prizes I did get donated were bottles of wine and a dental care package.

Q: How long did it take to plan?

A: The whole thing took about a month and a half to get together.  Prizes came together sporadically.  Sometimes I wouldn’t get donated prizes for a week and sometimes I would get 4 in one day (just like fundraising!).  Discounted pizza took weeks to get, just because I kept missing the owner of the pizza place when I called in.

Q: How did you advertise it and how many people showed up?

A: I advertised by making an open facebook event so that people could invite other people.  I also sent out invitations in the mail just to be sure that everyone would know what’s going on. Facebook was super useful because I knew how many people were going to come, and I was able to update onweather/what to bring. About 40 people came.

Q: Were you able to get things donated? If so, what?

A: I got bingo prizes donated by typing up a little piece of paper about what I was doing and why I was doing it.  I carried a lot of these around with me and a stack of invitations and anytime I was at a business that I thought would be a cool prize, I gave them my spiel and gave them a sheet of paper, which also had my contact info on it.  I also kept a list of businesses in my phone that I needed to stop by/call for a donation. A lot of gift cards were donated, along with tickets to O’s games, wine, the dental care package, a free game of golf, etc.

Q: How did you make the money?

A: In order to play bingo, you need bingo cards.  Each card costs $1.  You can play more than one card per game.  So if you realllly like the prize that’s up for grabs, you could potentially play 10 cards ($10).  I had 26 prizes, so if there was an average of 40 cards in every game, there’s $1,040 made right there.  But on top of that, I also had small prizes (free Rita’s Italian Ice, free bowling games, etc.) which were raffled off every couple of games.  Raffle tickets were also $1.  Every time I pulled for a small prize, I would put the ticket back in the raffle bucket so that it could potentially be pulled again for a 50/50 cash raffle at the end of bingo. After the 50/50 split, I made $100 off the raffle tickets.  Finally, people wrote checks.

Bonus Tip: I feel like it wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without my parents inviting their friends, so this is a must!! Also have good food and music, and keep the games going fast or people will lose interest and leave.