This is a quick and dirty (no pun intended) youth fundraising idea which is especially suitable for older kids. They will get wet and tired, but they’ll probably enjoy doing it.

As long as you have enough young volunteers to do the actual washing, the work is easy and can even be fun.

Each youth group will develop their own techniques, but the basic approach is as follows: A few young workers at a time wash a car with soapy water and sponges while another volunteer hoses it off. The car pulls forward and a few more volunteers dry the car with rags or chamois.

After a few cars have been cleaned, the entire process becomes easier as it works like an assembly line. The workers can rotate jobs to keep it interesting and provide rest for the ones doing the harder tasks.

Um…maybe we could try a little less soap on the next one…?

No kidding …

The best time for your youth fund raiser car wash is in the warm months – late spring through early fall, or year-round in sunny climates. The best days are usually Saturday or Sunday in the late morning, which is when a lot of people run errands and wash their cars. On Sundays you can catch them going to or from church.

Bring lots of dry towels or chamois, buckets, soap, sponges, brushes, trash receptacles with bags, and a long hose (or several to join together). You’ll also want some large, colorful signs to attract attention and direct interested people to your car wash fund raiser. A couple of volunteers can hold the signs and wave to passing vehicles to draw interest.

Choose carefully

Your youth fund raising group will want to get permission from a school, church or shopping center to set up the car wash. Select a parking lot near a busy street so you can attract lots of passersby. A location near a busy car wash would be good to pick up overflow. [IMPORTANT: Choose a location with a water source to connect one or more hoses.]

You will need lots of volunteers to run your car wash: people for washing, rinsing, drying, directing traffic, handling money, running errands to get supplies and to relieve tiring workers.

To increase traffic, advertise your youth fundraiser in local newspapers and on radio stations to appear on the day of the wash and a few days before.

FREE = More profits

Try to get a sponsor to pay for supplies or signs. To make your fundraising more profitable, add a small concession stand to sell refreshments to your customers, which would be especially good on hot days.

Other ideas

Here’s a free book to help your car wash that you can download (in .pdf format) or read online that covers just about everything you will ever need to know about the subject.


Chocolate Male Car Wash

When I was 16 my baseball team needed uniforms because we couldn’t find a sponsor in time for the season to start. We decided to sell chocolate bars to try and raise the money. That was going okay, but very slow because we didn’t know many people.

We decided to “sell our bodies” if you will. A couple of us guys decided we were going to have us an old fashioned “chocolate car wash”. You pay $2.00 for a washing and a chocolate bar while you wait.

Me and my friend stood on the street with our shirts off and a big sign that said Chocolate Car Wash! Half of the people just came by to see what in the world we were doing. Most of those people stayed and got the car wash and the chocolate bar. This tactic got us our jerseys and then some. It was a very fond memory I have of fundraising.


Working at the Car Wash!

What we did to raise money for our local school was a car wash. The money went to school events like homecoming and field trips. Because school funds do not get to go directly to school events, it is up to the faculty, teachers, and the students to raise the money.

We chose to raise money for school events because the students deserve it. They are hard working and well rounded kids that need a little extra push.

You may think once you have seen one car wash, you’ve seen them all, but you would be wrong.

First pamphlets were sent out with the students telling of the event and date of the car wash and encouraged parents to tell others of the car wash. The word spread like crazy thanks to this effort. On the day of the car wash, students, parents, and teachers helped to wash cars and hold posters up on the side walk.

We had music playing that everyone liked and had little acts and skits set up for people to view while they waited for their car to get washed.

The event was a huge success thanks to all of those who helped out in one way or another.