Fundraising with a dog wash is a popular event for animal rescue groups, and it can run all day long, or just for half-a-day. The idea is that dog owners come and get their dogs washed by volunteers in exchange for a set charge or donation.

The dog wash often takes place in a parking lot, where an area is roped off for the event. As water will be needed, this may be adjacent to, say, a gas station, and this also provides spin-off customers for the convenience store at the gas station, which is a good point to make when trying to get assistance.

The event is best in a warm season, so that the dogs do not get cold when wet and this also means that some form of sun shading, such as a tent, may be needed for the helpers.


This fundraiser requires several hoses with sprays and/or buckets, pet shampoo, and a plentiful supply of towels to dry the animals.

For success, it’s essential that a good group of volunteers is assembled. They have to be confident when handling unknown dogs, and alert to any signs that the dogs are becoming unhappy, so that they do not become vulnerable to a dog turning on them and biting. Volunteers will also man a registration/information table and take the money.

To make this event a success requires good publicity, with local newspapers and radio stations involved and perhaps signs on the street. Often a radio station will have a publicity van from which outside broadcasts are made. As the van is usually parked at a different location each day, the station may be interested in covering the event and attracting customers.

Pondering another proven pet project for people’s pooches? Consider a dog walk-a-thon.