How to Run a Successful Car Wash Fundraiser – Free Book Available Online

This school year as a parent, neighbor or just plain good citizen, you will undoubtedly be encouraged to organize or participate in a fundraiser. There are many ways to raise funds for your community organization, school or church, including bake sales, candy sales, pancake breakfasts to walk-a-thons and car wash fundraisers. Done right, a car wash fundraiser can be one of the most profitable fundraising methods you can choose – one that will not only provide a valuable service to supporters, but help your organization clean up in proceeds.

A car wash fundraiser might seem like a simple thing to organize. What do you need besides a hose, a couple of buckets, soap, water, some rags and volunteers?

This might be fine to raise a few hundred dollars. But if you’re serious about raising a substantial amount of money for your group and want to hold an event with the potential to raise $10,000 or more, the following are some tips from a company that has helped numerous organizations nationwide do just that.

According to Lance Winslow, Founder and President of The Car Wash Guys, the world’s first mobile car wash business, “Besides the cars, the most important ingredients in a successful car wash fundraising website are planning, organization and teamwork.” Winslow, a California native who began washing airplanes at the age of 12 and had his own Aerowash business by 14, started The Car Wash Guys in 1984. Since then, his organization has raised more than $1 million for charity and non profit groups.

The Car Wash Guys International has set up franchises in 23 states. A community-oriented franchise, each franchisee gives back to their community by assisting with at least one car wash fundraiser per month. Having held literally hundreds of car wash events, Winslow decided to put his proven tactics for success in writing to help organizations everywhere achieve or exceed their fundraising goals.

Winslow’s book – “How to Run A Successful Car Wash Fundraiser” is available as a free resource online from his Web site. The 63-page book can be viewed online, or downloaded as a PDF file. To find the book go to:

From the Home Page, access the pull down menu, scroll down to “Fundraising” and click “Go.” To see a list of previous fundraisers held by The Car Wash Guys, click on “Fundraisers.”

The book covers everything from picking a date, making provisions for a rain date, selecting a location, finding volunteers, pre-ticket sales, sample pledge forms, publicity, motivation, supplies, insurance requirements and a complete “day of event” outline. It also includes suggested post-car wash activities such as post publicity events and contains sample thank you letters, which can be tailored by your organization.

Additionally, the book addresses different strategies for raising funds. One method is to print tickets and sell as many tickets as possible prior to the event. Another approach is to hold a Wash-A-Thon and wash cars for free, but obtain pledges for the number of cars washed.

What’s the best day to hold a Car Wash? Typically Saturdays are the best day and a good window to hold the event from is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Location is also very important and should be as high traffic an area as possible. Grocery store or retail shopping center parking lots are a great spot. Be sure to have plenty of people on hand the day of the event, complete with signs they can hold to direct shoppers and traffic to your fundraiser.

Besides the basic supplies for conducting your car wash, you might want to look into purchasing, renting or borrowing a pressure washer instead of a garden hose. This is a faster and more efficient way to wash cars and it uses less water! A local painting company is one possible source to contact.
When planning for your event, try to do so at least six weeks prior to the desired date. It’s also best to split the duties up among several people so no one person gets overwhelmed. The division of tasks might include a site locator, a ticket sales captain, a supplies person, a volunteer coordinator, a publicity coordinator and a post event person.

To promote your car wash fundraiser, print up flyers and tickets or pledge forms, but don’t forget to enlist the support of local media. They can run Public Service Announcements or publish a brief in the local calendar or community section of the newspaper in advance. And then be sure to tell them the good news about how much you raised for your organization.


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