How to Start a Car Wash Fundraiser: Everything you need to Know

You’ve probably heard all the great things about car washes, but do you know all the details?

Planning a car wash fundraiser can be a great way to support your cause and help get it on its feet. They are a popular and profitable charitable event. If you’re thinking of planning one, this article will give you some information on how to start a car wash fundraiser so that you can make it happen.

A car wash is an event where people pay to wash their cars. Usually, these events are organized by youth groups or other nonprofit organizations as fundraisers. The primary objective behind organizing any fundraiser is to generate income for your organization while offering something in return.

Here is everything you need to know about starting a car wash fundraiser:

What to Know Before You Start a Car Wash Fundraiser

Preparing in advance is important, so your car wash fundraiser runs smoothly and is a success. You’ll want to get the word out to all of your supporters to let them know when and where your car wash fundraiser will be held.

Also, you’ll need to know how much it will cost and how much you’ll need to charge your customers to break even. Finally, there are some rules and regulations that you’ll have to follow to make sure your car wash fundraiser complies with state and local laws.

Here are a few things to know before you get started:

There are different types of car wash fundraisers. The most common type is a coin car wash, when customers pay to have their car washed in exchange for tokens or money.

A self-serve car wash is another option, where a customer washes his or her own car and donates the price of what it would cost at a traditional car wash. You can also choose to hold a shakedown car wash, where volunteers wash cars for free in exchange for donations.

You’ll have to get municipal approval to operate a car wash fundraiser. This is to make sure that your car wash isn’t causing any disruption to the neighborhood and causing any harm to the environment. Check with your local government office for the rules and regulations you’ll need to follow.

Best Time to Start a Car Wash Fundraiser

You can hold a car wash fundraiser almost any time of the year. You’ll want to select a time that works best for your organization and is most convenient for your customers.

If you’re still unsure when to hold your car wash, here are three factors to consider:

Weather – It’s best to hold your car wash during a warm and dry day, when the weather is optimal for car washing.

Time of year – You’ll want to hold the car wash during a time of the year when people are likely to drive and need to wash their cars.

Holiday season – Holding your car wash during the holiday season is a great way to get more people involved and engaged with your cause.

Important Steps to Start a Car Wash Fundraiser

Here are some important steps to start a car wash fundraiser:

Choose a car wash location

Before planning the rest of your car wash fundraiser, you’ll need to find a place to hold the event. You can rent a parking lot at a local car wash or find a place with enough room for customers and volunteers to park.

Start advertising

Once you’ve chosen a location for your car wash, it’s time to get the word out. You can advertise your car wash fundraiser on social media and on your website to help get more people involved. You can also approach local businesses and let them know about your event. This can help you reach a bigger audience and generate more revenue for your cause.

Choose a date and time for your car wash fundraiser

You’ll want to plan your car wash for a day and time when there are likely to be many people driving around who can make good use of a car wash. Don’t hold your car wash during inclement weather when people won’t be driving.

Determine how much to charge

You don’t want to charge too much for your car wash; you want as many people as possible to participate. At the same time, you don’t want to charge too little either, as you won’t make any money.

Who Can Organize a Car Wash Fundraiser?

Anyone can organize a car wash fundraiser, but youth groups, school clubs, booster clubs & nonprofits are the most common types of organizations holding car washes.

If you are part of one of these organizations, you can start a car wash fundraiser. If you are interested in starting a car wash fundraiser but don’t have an organization, you can still do so by yourself.

What do you wear to a car wash fundraiser?

If you’re helping out at the car wash, you’ll want to wear something that is easy to clean or doesn’t get dirty easily.

Whatever you want to wear is fine if you’re one of the people paying for a car wash. However, if you want to make a good impression, you may want to wear something clean and tidy.

Where to Hold a car wash fundraiser

This is going to depend on what you hope to raise money for, but for the most part, you can hold a car wash anywhere that you have enough space for people to park, walkthrough, and turn around.

If you are hoping to raise money for a local charity, holding the car wash at a nearby car wash or washing bay is best. If you are hoping to raise money for a charity that is farther away, you can choose to hold the car wash at a nearby car wash or host it at a public location such as a church or local park.

Items needed for car wash fundraiser

It is important to understand the items needed to successfully execute a car wash fundraiser.

Here’s a list of important items (or you can call the checklist for the fundraiser)

  • A car wash location – You can choose to hold your car wash at a local car wash, in a parking lot at a gas station, or at a parking lot that is near a busy street with a lot of traffic.
  • A sign – You’ll want to put up a sign that lets people know about your car wash fundraiser. You can either make a sign yourself or hire someone to do it for you if you don’t have the skills to do it yourself.
  • Towels – You’ll want plenty of towels on hand for customers to dry their cars with after they’ve been washed.
  • Coins and bills – You’ll want a place where people can put their coins and bills to pay for the car wash. You can either put out a bucket or an old laundry basket.
  • A donation jar – This is where you can collect donations from customers who are giving to support your cause.
  • A donation QR code – This will help you get online donations quickly without any large setup. You can do this via Donorbox.
  • A measuring device – You’ll want to ensure that customers only wash their cars to the point where they’re clean but not so far that they’re damaging them.

How to Make Money With a Car Wash Fundraiser

Car washes are best used as a fundraiser for organizations and causes that benefit children. Other causes can also benefit from a car wash fundraiser, but it is best to research how to hold the car wash fundraiser for the specific cause you want to help.

The best way to make money with a car wash fundraiser is to sell tickets. You can sell tickets to the car wash itself or sell tickets that get people their car washed. It’s up to you!

3 Tips for Running a Successful Car Wash Fundraiser

  • Start planning your car wash fundraiser at least a month in advance. This will give you, your group, and those you are helping enough time to spread the word and prepare to make this fundraiser a success.
  • Be sure to have a team of people helping you with the different aspects of the car wash fundraiser. You don’t want this to be a one-person job! A car wash is a great way to get your group or club together and organize.
  • Make sure to have plenty of water, towels, and cleaning supplies. At least one person should be dedicated to making sure things stay clean.

Car Wash Fundraiser: Pros and Cons


  • Car washes are fun, interactive, and a great way to get the community involved in charitable giving.
  • They work best for smaller communities, clubs, and organizations where everyone knows each other.
  • Car washes are also great for getting new people involved in your organization.


A car wash fundraiser may not be the best idea if you want to raise money for a large charity or cause. Since you won’t get sufficient funds for your larger cause, you may want to look at some other fundraising ideas

Car wash Fundraising ideas

You can host a car wash fundraiser to benefit various causes and charities. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Help a Child – Hosting a car wash fundraiser to help a child in need is a great way to give back and make a real difference in your community. Many car wash fundraisers for children’s charities offer different packages for people to choose from.

Community Outreach – Hosting a car wash fundraiser for a local community outreach program is another great way to make a difference in your community.

Animal Rescue – Animal rescues often have difficulty getting enough funding to keep operations going. A car wash fundraiser designed to benefit an animal rescue organization is a great way to help out animals in need.

Health Organizations – You can also host a car wash fundraiser to raise money for a health organization such as the American Cancer Society or the American Diabetes Association.

How to Find the Best Volunteers for a Car Wash Fundraiser

Finding the best volunteers for a car wash fundraiser is all about finding the right people for the right jobs. Once you have a plan for your car wash fundraiser in place, you can start looking for volunteers.

Start by contacting the head of the organization you are hoping to raise money for. They may be able to help you find volunteers who can help host or run the car wash fundraiser. If you don’t get in touch with the right person at the right time, don’t worry! There are plenty of other ways to find volunteers for your car wash fundraiser.

Final Words: Stay Organized and Have Fun!

Hosting a car wash fundraiser can be a great way to bring your community together and make a real difference in your local area. From finding the right location to getting the word out about your event, a lot goes into hosting a car wash fundraiser.

The best way to ensure everything goes smoothly is to stay organized and track all the different things you need to do. Make sure to have a game plan for your car wash fundraiser and follow through with it. The more prepared you are, the smoother the process will go!

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