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How To Host a Fundraiser Car Wash in 8 Steps

Linda (Kaywood) Bilyeu is a self-published author. Her books are available on Amazon. She writes from the heart—there is no other way.

Child labor laws do not apply for car washes

Child labor laws do not apply for car washes

Fundraising for Success

Hosting a successful fundraiser car wash relies on how much work the host puts into the task at hand. A car wash requires dedication, motivation and a drive to succeed. Yet, no matter how much work you put into planning a fundraiser the outcome might not go as well as you had hoped. Either way, you did your best and hopefully you enjoyed the adventure.

Step One: Deciding which cause your car wash is for. Having a cause that is near and dear to your heart will give you the motivation for success.

The cause I choose was the Prostate Cancer Foundation in honor of my husband who passed away on July 6, 2015 from prostate cancer. At there are teams of dedicated personnel who go above and beyond to research treatments for prostate cancer and of course, the hope to find a cure.

In the words of Cap - Get Twerk

In the words of Cap - Get Twerk

Plan Ahead for Your Car Wash

Step Two: Selecting a venue that has an adequate water supply, is a safe location, has plenty of parking spaces and air conditioning when you need to slip in for a cool down. My friends Ray and Tim who own the local 7-11 in Avalon Park were actually the ones who suggested we hold the car wash at their store. I gladly accepted their offer. I did have other options after accepting their offer, but the deal was sealed and I knew I made the right choice. You should also confirm a date. This will give you a deadline for the following six steps.

Step Three: Enlist recruits who will give up their precious time to help make your car wash a success. These recruits could be family, friends and those who have a connection to your cause. Yes, even children and grandchildren are able to wash a car. They could also hold up signs. I noticed all they had to do was smile and look cute as coins began to clink in the donation can.

I requested the help of family members and they jumped at the chance to help raise awareness for prostate cancer. So many men are still clueless on the fact that every 19.1 minutes a man dies from prostate cancer. This is ludicrous since early detection and preventive care could help prevent these senseless deaths from a horrible disease.

I requested the help of our favorite nurse and chemo nurse, they arrived ready to cheer on the cause. The 95* Florida sunshine did not stop us from our mission of honoring Dave and helping to support prostate cancer research.

Have Your Voice Heard

Step Four: This step will bring out the creative side of you while preparing your signs. I suggest using cardboard and poster board, the bigger the better. Use lettering that is large enough for passing cars to read without causing fender benders. You surely do not want to be held responsible for any mishaps from drivers straining to read your signs.

Be sure the signs are easy to read. The less wording the better, remember you are creating a sign to read quickly, not writing a novel. Placing the cardboard on a stake to stick in the ground would be helpful. Having recruits hold signs while smiling proudly also helps. I suggested my daughters and friends wear bikinis to flaunt their goods, but they opted out. Kudos to them! I never said being scantily clad was mandatory, I just offered the suggestion.

These signs are your voice. Having your voice heard will make or break your customer count. Use your voice wisely. Pack a punch with as few words as possible.

Reasons to Host a Fundraiser

There are many reasons to have a fundraiser. Such as:

  • Students for school related events
  • Medical bills whether for yourself or a family member or friend
  • A charity of your choice
  • Family member or friend who is down on their luck
  • For a missions trip
  • For field trips
  • For the Girl Scouts or the Boy Scouts
  • For Summer Camp
  • To help stock a food bank
  • To raise money for college
  • For a church that needs a new program or building

List of Supplies

Step Five: Purchase supplies or borrow them. You could also ask your recruits to bring supplies.

You will need:

  • Garden hoses. I attached 3 garden hoses to make one long run that we all shared
  • A hose sprayer that is powerful enough to rinse the gunk and soap off of the cars
  • I filled four large buckets with dish soap and water. I prefer Palmolive, which is gentle on the paint of the car. This soap also is good at removing grease and grime from the tires
  • We had two large sponges, quite a few cloths to wash the vehicles
  • A brush to scrub the tires and rims
  • A few towels to dry the cars and to also wrap around the children after they are washed a few times
Scroll to Continue
Pimp out your car wash with virtual signs

Pimp out your car wash with virtual signs

Benefits of a Fundraiser Car Wash

  • Bonding time among family and friends
  • Making new friends is always a possibility if you are the social type
  • Washing cars is a great workout, along with being outdoors in the sunshine and retrieving some Vitamin D
  • Acts of giving back helps to teach kids about giving back
  • Your cause benefits from the proceeds

Pimp Out Your Car Wash

Step Six: Leading up to the date of your car wash pimp out your cause.

Create a virtual sign to post on social media that includes the necessary information.

Such as the date, time, location and the cause.

Share this virtual sign on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Via email
  • Google+
  • Snapchat
  • Texts

Just pimp it! Ask friends to share the photo. They could ask their friends to share. The power of the web could bring in many customers.

Goodie Bags

Goodie Bags

Give out Goodie Bags

Step Seven: Who doesn't like something for free? I like freebies! Tell your friends who own small businesses about your plan to have a car wash and that you would like to hand out goodie bags.

Suggest they offer coupons for their business and add these cards to your goodie bags. It is a win-win situation!

Your customers get their cars washed for a donation, they then get a goodie bag with coupons, your friends get some additional business. A brilliant idea!

Be sure and place the cards, along with a candy of sorts into a plastic Ziploc bag because the bags might get wet, remember you are at a car wash and nothing stays dry there.

Car Wash - Rose Royce

Mingle While You Wash

Step Eight: Now is when the fun begins, actually the work, but work could be fun if you allow it to be.

Have some recruits standing in high traffic areas, but out of harms way. They hold the signs with the large lettering that drivers could clearly read. Once again, bikinis are optional, but not mandatory. Children should not be in the high traffic areas. Be sure and smile and wave to the drivers.

You could also dance, but pole dancing is not suggested due to ordinances in the community, unless your locals do not mind it, then by all means pole dance while holding a sign.

Greet customers as they enter the establishment. Make them aware of your cause. I had my recruits wear blue awareness bracelets from Prostate Cancer Foundation as conversation starters.

These days most people are in a hurry, they do not want to wait a few minutes for a car wash, instead they will just give a donation, which is fine! Every dollar helps. I heard many people say they wait for a rainstorm to wash their car off, like I said previously, who doesn't like freebies?

Our car wash was a success. Everyone had fun, we met some very nice people. We educated men about Prostate Cancer and I was surprised that grown men were still so clueless about this disease. That was sad, but we did our part in our small corner of the world by advocating others.

Dave was smiling down at us, thankful that I didn't pole dance. I sent a donation to the following day.

Wishing you a successful fundraiser car wash.

Prostate Cancer Foundation

"Working at the car wash..."

"Working at the car wash..."

© 2015 Linda Bilyeu


FlourishAnyway from USA on September 26, 2015:

I've done a lot of different charity fundraisers but never a car wash. Your photos were terrific as well as your instructions. I know Dave is proud of you and smiling down on you. Hugs.

Dianna Mendez on September 12, 2015:

I remember holding car washes for our son's wrestling team. It was lots of work but fun and worth the effort. I like the goodie bag idea, what a nice way to say thanks and to spread the word. Pimping is so easy these days and a great way to market your fundraiser. By the way, you looked good out there!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 06, 2015:

It was a win-win kind of day, Sha! I am sure Cap was proud of his family and friends.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 06, 2015:

Thank you, Blossom!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 06, 2015:

Linda, this is such a great idea. The benefits abound! You raised money for a cause you're passionate about. Customers received a clean vehicle, goodies, education on prostate cancer, and good conversation. Those sponsoring the event had the opportunity to meet new people, feel good about their contribution, and play in the water on a hot day. What could be better?!

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on September 05, 2015:

What a great idea! You got so many people involved and made it fun, especially for those gorgeous little helpers, although I guess there are many days when life does not seem like fun at all. You did so well! Congratulations and God bless you and your little ones.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 05, 2015:

Thank you, drbj...I am sure my granddaughters will be willing to help out at your car wash also.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 05, 2015:

Thank you, Vellur!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 04, 2015:

My deepest sympathies on the passing of your sweet hubbie, Linda. So sorry to learn the sad news.

Your suggestions are excellent. Just want to know, if I decide to also have a similar fundraiser, how do I go about hiring those four adorable helpers in the top photo. Precious!

Before I forget, congrats on your well-deserved Hubbie, m'dear.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 04, 2015:

Great idea to help an important cause. The pics look great and the kids are awesome!! Goodie bags and coupons will definitely bring out the crowd and people will come just to support the cause. The signs are great.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 04, 2015:

Hi Effer, I wish you could have helped out too! I would have had you waving, smiling, greeting but avoiding the poles. :)

Suzie from Carson City on September 03, 2015:

YOU are a damned ROCK STAR! LOL...I LOVE this. Those pictures are all fabulous. Do I see another BOOK, here?? I hope so.

Oh how I wish I had been there. What fun and a GREAT idea, GF.

There simply is no end to your ingenuity!....I'm glad it was successful.

The kids are tooooo precious. Love, Effer

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 03, 2015:

Hi Peg, I am sorry to hear about your husband's BIL passing from Prostate Cancer. In my FB cancer group, we lost 5 warriors in just 7 weeks, with my husband leading the way, from PCa. Very sad. Both women and men need to advocate the evil disease. I recently received more supplies from to continue on with my commitment to have my voice heard. Thank you for your support.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 03, 2015:

Hi PS, The youngens were very excited about helping...the cousins had a great time together. I hope all is well by you.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 03, 2015:

Hi Greenmind, Just an FYI...It is against HP protocol to post links in hub comments, it is considered spam, but thanks for the follow!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 03, 2015:

Thank you, Ida! Wish you were there! :)

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on September 03, 2015:

These are great tips on holding a fundraiser and I really liked the goodie bag idea. What a win-win situation for both the businesses in the area and the participants at the event. Thank you for sharing your expertise on this and thanks also for your dedication to the cause.

My husband's brother in law passed in August of this year from prostate cancer. It is something that needs a lot more attention in men's health issues and spreading the word is important.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on September 03, 2015:

Sunshine....this is a lovely idea..with excellent tips. We host car washes at our church and our young kids are the ones who help us out quite a bit.

Thanks for sharing.

Angels are headed your way today ps

GreenMind Guides from USA on September 03, 2015:

So cool and a great idea for a hub. Why didn't I think of this? You really do deserve to have 1000+ followers (of which I am now one).

blessing980306 on September 03, 2015:

Awesome hub I will keep these tips in mind!Love the pics & car wash song you posted.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 03, 2015:

Thank you Audrey...your hug is appreciated!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 03, 2015:

I will try my best Nell, but I cannot promise anything! :)

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 03, 2015:

Hi SAA, If I could bottle my energy I would send you some! The car wash wasn't too difficult to organize, well maybe a little, but it was well worth the efforts. Thank you!

Audrey Howitt from California on September 03, 2015:

Hugs to you Linda--and Congratulations!!

Nell Rose from England on September 03, 2015:

Well done Linda! you are such an awesome inspiration! and no pole dancing, I mean it.......LOL!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on September 03, 2015:

Sunshine, I wish your energy was contagious. Fundraising projects are hard work. Take a bow from me!

I wish you the best of luck with all your endeavors.

Inspiring and useful hub!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 03, 2015:

Hi MM, You just never know...they do say we are never to old to learn something new. I continue to be a woman on a mission. XO

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on September 03, 2015:

Well you are not all wet, with your love, inspiration and attention to every detail.

Pole dancing...oh, that takes me way before I was your moxy...anything for the cause.

Love you and proud of you, MM

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