Car washes are one of the most popular small fundraisers. They can be a good fast fundraiser for groups who don’t have time to spend planning big events. There is also little cost required to put on the car wash. You just need to make sure there’s plenty of supplies.

You need workers with lots of energy to work a car was fundraiser! That’s one reason that the groups that most often hold car wash fundraisers are cheerleaders, school bands, scouts and other youth groups.

Here are some tips to maximize your results:

1. Plan the date of the event at least a month or more ahead. Give your volunteers enough notice so they can plan on being there.

2. Sign up volunteers ahead of time, if appropriate have shifts. Have as many people working as possible. The more people, the more cars can be washed. This attracts even more customers.

3. Choose a location that is on a main street, easy to get to, and so people can see you washing cars from the street. Make sure there is an outside faucet and your hozes will reach. Fast food restaurants and grocery store parking lots are usually good bets. Contact the manager a the location to set up your car wash date.

4. In the parking lot where you hold your wash, set up a drive through lane. People drive their cars in a lane, pull up when it’s their turn and the car is washed. Then they can pull over to another area for the volunteers to dry the car. This makes the process faster. Have someone directing cars where to park, and have two lanes if possible.

5. What to bring on the big day: liquid soap, buckets, brushes, sponges, lots of towels, hozes with spray nozzles, signs, a bucket for donations. Instead of buying all your supplies, request donations from the members of your group. This will allow other people in the organization to help who would not otherwise be able to participate. (And your event makes more profit!)

6. Decide if you want to have a set price or by donations only. Requesting a donation is fairly common. On your signs, write donations appreciated. On the other hand, making a set price takes the guesswork out of it for the customer. If you make a set price, don’t aim too high. You may still receive “tips.”

7. You can also get higher donations if you offer more services, like window washing and drying and tire cleaning. The better the job is done, the higher the donation will be. You could make a set price for additional services.

8. Let people know what you are raising money for. Just so people know that the donation is for a “good cause” will encourage them to help.

9. Here’s a great way to boost your profits…sell tickets in advance. This would work especially well if you are offering deluxe services like vacuming and waxing. Then you can make a set price. Plus you would still get drive-by traffic. If you sell tickets, have a provision for a rain out. Will the ticket be vailid for a second day? Decide this in advance.

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Posted on 24 April 2005

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