Hosting A St. Patrick’s Day Themed Fundraiser

A family portrait of a dad and his two daughters celebrating St.Do you start to favor the shade of green in your work wear as March 17th approaches? Are you suddenly day dreaming of a little green men with pots of gold? Are you itching to put your lips on the Blarney Stone or perhaps a frosty green beverage?

Well, despite all of the festive cliches, St. Patrick's Day is, undoubtedly, a great day to host a fundraiser. Why? Well because half the work is already done for you – the theme is already set for you, the traditional games are decided!

So if you plan to put all of your lucky fundraising coins in one pot of gold this year, choose March 17th, and bless your charity event with the luck of the Irish.

Now all you have to do is provide a suitable event that will pay adequate tribute to the festive reputation of Patrick, Ireland's patron saint. But first, those on this side of the pond might want to know why the Irish celebrate St. Patrick's Day to begin with.

According to legend, Saint Patrick is honored because he brought Christianity to Ireland. His is often pictured holding a shamrock, a symbol sacred to the Druids (the prime pagan religion of Ireland at the time). He used this symbol to explain the holy trinity using the three leaves – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the divine beings of the Christian religion.

So this is the story behind why, every March 17th, scores of folks don their green apparel, dye their pooches the color of lucky shamrocks and toast with green pints – a date that lends itself to the perfect charity event.

St. Patrick's Day is traditionally a holy day, but it's also about celebrating, drinking, and merry making with good friends. That being said, you won't have to convince people to come out to a St. Patrick's Day shindig. You bet they are already planning a good time well before the date.

But the key is to get your plans rolling early enough to entice lucky guests to your perfect event to honor your charity and St. Patrick.

Let's start with some ideas for kids. These are perfect for school or youth group events:

Pop the Green Balloon for a Prize

Fill green balloons with lucky messages, but put a gift certificate in one lucky poppers balloon. Buyers can pay $1 for their chance to pop a balloon.

Grab the Four-leaf Clover

Who will be lucky enough to pick the four-leaf clover from the box of standard three-leaf varieties? Take the time to cut out a bunch of not-so-lucky shamrocks, but make sure to craft one lucky one with four. Buyers can pay $1 and try their luck at the draw.

Kiss the Blarney Stone

Set up a spot for people to kiss the stone and make a wish (for a donation of course). This game acts much like a wishing well.

Spot the Lucky Leprechaun

Cut out small and large cardboard cutouts of lucky little men, and in “Where's Waldo” tradition, send the kids out in teams to hunt for the leprechauns. When they find one, they can record its whereabouts on a tracking sheet. The team with the most spottings at the end of an hour wins the prize.

Count the Lucky Clovers

Fill a jar with candy four-leaf clovers and put it on display in a prominent area in your school or youth group facility. Every chance to guess costs 50 cents or $1. The person who is closest wins a donated prize (gift certificates, a pizza lunch or a CD or DVD are great prize gifts).

For teen and adult parties try these festive ideas:

Is it Truth or Blarney

This game is fun because it tests guest's skill at weaving the perfect fish tale. Ask a small group of individuals to tell a funny story to the crowd – the only catch is that no one knows whether it is truth or blarney.

The guests will be asked to make bets after each story to the true or false nature of the tale. This can be done in auction style or double or nothing style.

Irish Jig

What is a good Irish party without Bagpipes, an Irish band, or traditional dancing? If you can't afford to pay for entertainment, and you can't find it on a volunteer basis, burn yourself a good collection of Irish tunes just for the occasion. You can charge per ticket for entrance to the festivities.

Traditional Irish Grub

Get your volunteers to whip up Irish favorites such as corn beef hash, Irish stew, steak and potatoes, or green grub galore using food dye – such as lucky mashed potatoes, clover shaped sandwiches, mint cakes, and leprechaun shaped cookies. Those of legal age can wash it all down with a special Irish green brew for a minimum donation.

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