Parenting, Summer, Tips and Tricks

Tips for Throwing a Charity Car Wash

Tips for Throwing a Charity Car Wash

Hosting a car wash is a great way to get kids or teenagers involved in raising money for a cause or charity. If you are in charge of organizing a charity car wash, there are lots of things you will need to do beforehand to get ready and to make sure that everything is well-supervised. You already know the basics: get all of your volunteers together to agree on a date and time that don’t conflict with a holiday or other major event. Select a location and get permission from the home or business owner well beforehand. Here are some more tips for making sure that your car wash goes off without a hitch:

Spread the Word
Now that the weather is starting to get warmer, lots of groups will be hosting their outdoors activities, so you will need to make sure that your car wash is getting the press it needs to be successful. Of course, your volunteers will tell their families and friends. Consider printing flyers for your volunteers to give to friends and family members. Ask parents to post the flyers in their work places and have the kids post flyers at school. You may also be able to get permission to distribute flyers to their teachers in the school mail.

Put notices in school, church, and local business newsletters. Before the day of the car wash, get the kids together to decorate signs in varying sizes. Signs should most prominently feature the words “Car Wash,” but can include other things as well as long as they don’t obscure the main point. You can also consider printing up custom banners. These are a great way to decorate the actual area of the car wash and can also be used for directional signs to keep traffic moving in the right direction.

Designate Jobs and Figure Out Logistics
One of the biggest challenges for organizing a car wash is to keep volunteers focused and to keep things running smoothly. Before the event, figure out where you will host your event and work out logistics with the administrators or business owners if you will be using a  school or business parking lot. You may even be able to use an actual car wash’s location, though they may require a share of the proceeds.

Next, you will want to figure out how traffic flow will work. Map out the area to figure out how many cars you can have waiting at any given time, and how to minimize traffic problems. You should also figure out where your different stations should be. This will help keep your volunteers safe and out of the way of driving cars, and will also help to minimize the risk of materials being run over.

Next, figure out how many volunteers you will have at each station at any given time, how long shifts will be, and what the rotation will be. Of course, this will probably change throughout the day as you find that one station tends to cause more of a jam or as traffic flow fluctuates, but it is good to still have a tentative plan at the beginning. This will also allow you to best designate resources. For example, if you’ve got a few volunteers who have a lot of energy and personality, these might be best placed at the entrance or along the road side with signs for advertising.

Get the Right Supplies (with Extras!)
If you don’t do your research beforehand, it would be easy to buy the wrong type of materials or to get too little of something. You will definitely need the following:
  • At least three or four large buckets
  • As many old towels as you can find (that you won’t need back)
  • Up to 300 feet of garden hose and extenders. You may want to get “Y” attachments to minimize the risk of cars running over your hoses.
  • About five lamb’s wool squares, rather than regular sponges which can scratch paint. You can get these from a car supply store or a mechanic. Also consider squeegees and chamois.
  • A locking box to collect money, plus a tip and donations jar.
  • Whistles and possible stop watches
  • Rubbing alcohol and distilled water (about 1: 5 parts per spray bottle) for washing windows and mirrors.
  • At least three spray bottles.
  • Soap

Also consider serving food to volunteers and offering food for sale to customers. You may be able to get a local business or parent to donate some food for the volunteers. Otherwise, be sure to adjust cost to account for the food. Good items to consider would be things like hotdogs and hamburgers, trail mix, or protein bars. You should also have plenty of jugs of water. You could also offer coffee, tea, or sodas for sale.

Remind Everyone to Have Fun!

It can be easy to get overwhelmed when organizing a bunch of teenagers. Make sure to have fun and to remind all of the kids to have fun. Otherwise, you will seem like a big grump and no one will want to do any work!

Disclaimer: These tips are shared to Parenting Healthy and displayed for you.

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