How to Set up a Charity Car Wash

A car wash is a great way to raise money for your favorite charity. Whether it be your child's baseball team or a branch of a national non-profit charitable organization, you can set up a charity car wash in your neighborhood.

Put together a budget for advertising, materials and labor as well as a fund raising target to shoot for. Of course, if you can get most of these items donated or enlist enough volunteers, you will be able to add even more to your charity's bottom line.

Organize your car wash into either a pre-purchase ticket event or an on-site cash donation. Tickets should be handed out to responsible volunteers to sell throughout the community and should contain details on where and when the car wash is being held.

Advertise your car wash in as many media as possible. Remember that with a well-worded and timely press release, local television and radio stations may gladly include your event in their community calendars or as part of their regularly scheduled news broadcasts. Local papers may also be willing to donate ad space in exchange for a tax receipt from your non-profit organization. You can easily create an online buzz by sending emails to friends and family to help spread the word.

Call your volunteer car washers a couple of days before the event to confirm that they know where and when they are to report. You may also want to enlist a couple of them to stand with sandwich boards made of posterboard advertising your car wash on street corners around the area.

Keep track of cash by appointing one or two cashiers for the event. Using a locking cash box is a convenient method for keeping the money you raise safe during and after the event.

Set up clearly labeled entrances and exits for your car wash. You can use posterboard set up on saw horses to indicate where cars should enter for your charity event.

Have plenty of soapy water and clean water on hand to scrub down the cars as they arrive. If you have enough volunteers, you can assign as many as four people per car to get the job done quickly.


Check with the local authorities to make sure that your charity car wash complies with all area restrictions and traffic regulations.

Things You'll Need

  • Buckets
  • Telephone
  • Water
  • Sponges
  • Soap
  • Markers
  • Water hoses with spray attachments
  • Cash box
  • Paper towels
  • Printer
  • Pencil
  • Posterboard
  • Paper
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