St Patrick’s Day Fundraiser

St. Patrick’s Day (on March 17th each year) is a tribute to St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. And whilst his story is not commonly known, St Patrick is said to have removed all the snakes from Ireland. The day is celebrated by Irish communities all over the world with parades and other traditions. We know it more commonly as a day when everyone can be ‘Irish for a day’. We also know that celebrating this day usually means wearing (or drinking) something green. It lends itself well to many different fundraisers and that, my fellow fundraisers, gives you the perfect opportunity to organise a St Patty’s Day fundraiser and there’s still time to do it!

To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a list of ideas to cater for all age groups and your ‘theme’ is already taken care of.

Irish Bake Sale

Just your typical bake sale but where everything is green or Irish themed! Great to run in conjunction with another event.

Four Leaf Clover Hunt

Depending on the space you have available and the number of people who would like to participate, you can choose how many 4 leaf clovers you will hide. Four leaf clovers can be made from cardboard, paper or whatever will be suitable for your hunting area. Participants will pay a fee to enter the hunt and the first to find a four leaf clover wins a prize. If you don’t have a lot of space, another variation on this could be to make a whole bucketful of clovers, mostly 3 leaf, with a few four leaf ones thrown into the mix. Participants can pay to reach into the bucket and see if they can pull out the four leaf clover. You might give them 1, 2 or even 3 attempts depending on how much you are charging or they could have a time limit to dig through to find a four leaf clover.

Irish Raffle

Give your raffle an Irish twist with a Irish themed prize. A voucher to a local Irish restaurant, a nice bottle of Irish Whiskey or some Guinness, or if you have some good contacts, how about a holiday to Ireland!

Flower Fundraiser

Get your hands on some green flowers. Depending on what’s in season, you might be able to ‘cheat’ with a tin of green spray paint! Bunch up your flowers if you have enough or you can sell them individually. This would run well alongside another fundraiser like a bake stall.

Green Dress Day

Instead of your usual ‘free’ dress day, make it a green dress day and take gold coin donations from each person who chooses to wear green.

Irish Button Sales

If you have access to a badge maker (if not, you can hire one), create Irish themed buttons to sell. They could say: ‘Kiss me, I’m Irish’, ‘Hug me, I’m Irish’, ‘Top of the mornin’ to ya’ etc …

Green Hat Competition

Charge an entry fee and have either a panel of judges or choose by audience reaction. Have your hatted entrants parade around so winners can be chosen. You might have different categories for winners eg. most original, most Irish, most outrageous etc …

Irish Dance

An excellent opportunity to get your community together for some fun. Charge an entry fee per person or per family. Think about getting someone along to teach Irish dancing. Hire an Irish band and make sure you have a selection of Irish (or green) food and drink and have some games for all ages.

Irish Themed Games:

Who is the leprechaun? – someone is chosen to be ‘it’ and sent out of the room or where they cannot hear the rest of the group. The group then selects its leprechaun and then the ‘it’ person can come back in the room. Have some Irish music playing and the group dances to the music, however, the leprechaun will choose the dance moves and the group must follow. The ‘it’ person must observe the group and try to work out who the leprechaun is. Your leprechaun should change up the dance moves to keep the ‘it’ person guessing but the group must change moves too or the leprechauns identity will be given away. When your ‘it’ person guesses correctly, they can then choose the next person to be the guesser.

Gold hunt – Hide lots of gold coins around your nominated area. If it’s not too hot, you could use chocolate gold coins. Split your group into 2 teams and give them a bucket. They are given a time limit (say 2 minutes) to find as much gold as they can and team with the most gold is the winner. You could even make the finish line a rainbow – each team has to make it back to the end of the rainbow to count their pots of gold!

Shamrock Scramble – this is a different take on musical chairs and your group number is not limited by how many chairs you can find. Make 4 large shamrocks and place them in the corners of the room. Play some Irish music for your group to dance to and when the music stops, they need to get to a shamrock as quickly as possible. The last person to reach a shamrock is out. Continue this process until you are left with a winner.

Trap the leprechaun – For this one, you’ll need a cardboard box big enough for kids to crawl through or if you can find a large enough box, the adults can join in too 🙂  Open all the flaps on the box (top and bottom) and the kids take turns to crawl through while music plays. When the music stops the children at either end of the box ‘trap’ whoever is inside the box and that person is out. Keep going, knocking people out until you have one person left who can’t be caught.

Gold coin toss – You’ll need a bucket or two. You could also use an upturned leprechaun hat (which you can usually pick up at a cheap shop). Line people a distance away from the hat or bucket and have them toss ‘gold coins’ in. Points are allocated on the number of coins that successfully make it into the hat or bucket and prizes can be awarded according to points. You could also have the option for people to donate by tossing their own ‘real’ gold coins ($1 and $2 coins). They still get the points and you get to keep the cash.

Rainbow relay – This is a team game and you can have as many teams as you need to, depending on numbers. Each member of the team is given a roll of coloured paper (crepe paper is great for this). Each team member must run a designated length and unroll their coloured paper as they go. When they reach the next team member, they tag them and that person then runs the same length unrolling the next colour and so on. The first team to complete their ‘rainbow’ is the winner.

Pot of Gold relay – Another team game where again you can have as many teams as needed. You’ll need a ‘pot’ or bucket at one end of the racing field and a pile of coins (or similar) at the other. Once the whistle blows, each team member races to the pile of coins and brings one back to put in the bucket, then the next team member does the same and so on until time runs out. The team with the most coins at the end of the allocated time is the winner.

Leprechaun relay – For this one you’ll need one leprechaun costume per team. The first team member starts dressed in the leprechaun costume (it need only be a simple costume) and runs to the other end of the field. This could be via an obstacle course if you want to make it a bit more challenging! Once they reach the end they must undress out of the costume and hand it to the next team member who puts it on and repeats the whole process and so on. The team to complete the course first are the winners.

These are some great ideas to get you started but there really are endless opportunities for creating games which can, in turn, be fundraisers. Whatever you choose to do, may the luck of the Irish be with you!

Happy Fundraising!

Mandy Weidmann


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