Sunday, June 3, 2007

An Inconvenient Carwash

Best Fundraising Idea of 2007:

While-U-Shop Carwash

Your organization can raise $1,000 or more in a single day with a crew of 8 – 12 teenagers. This is really a great fundraiser – no order forms, no advertising, no door-to-door sales, a few simple supplies, and minimal training or advance planning required. Unlike the carwash fundraisers you normally see, this one has no hoses, no soap, and minimal space requirements, and the car owners don’t have to wait in line or even wait while you wash the car. And the car gets cleaner! You are providing a great value, and you can repeat it as often as you’d like!

Here is everything you need to know to organize and hold While-U-Shop carwashes to raise money for your group:

The Service

Shoppers enter the parking lot to the store or commercial center where you have set up your fundraiser. After they park, one of your friendly volunteers approaches them and offers to wash their car while they shop, for $5 (or whatever price you choose), using “an environmentally-friendly European wash technique”. Most people readily agree (most people tip!). The volunteer/salesperson collects the money and puts a flyer under the windshield wiper of the car, then signals a wash team to come and wash the car. By the time the customer returns from the store, the car is washed and dried and looks great. No waiting, great value and they helped a good organization!

The Method

This unique method of washing cars with no soap and very little water is well-known in Europe and is the secret to the whole carwash fundraiser. Two students can wash and dry a car in about eight minutes if they work quickly and follow the instructions to the letter. Here are the three simple steps:

1) The washer-person dips a micro-fiber washcloth in the small water bucket and squeezes out any dirt from the cloth into the water, then lifts the cloth out of the water and wrings it out until it is just damp (not dripping wet).

2) Next, he/she wipes one section of the car (for example, a door, the roof, the hood, etc.) clean with the cloth, then flips the cloth over and repeats for a second, fine cleaning.

3) While the washer-person moves on to the next section, the dryer-person follows behind with a microfiber towel and dries off the section just washed. They repeat this until the car is done!

Materials Needed

There are only three items required, but two of them are very important to get right!

- First, one or two microfiber washing cloths for each wash team (like these at

- Second, two or three microfiber towels per team for drying (you need a couple of extra towels so you will always have a fairly dry towel to work with). We found these at amazon.

- The third item is simply a small bucket to hold the water in. Anything works, but if you are shopping at amazon, these are cheap and good enough…

VERY IMPORTANT: cotton towels won’t work! Microfiber cleaning cloths work without soap, making the carwash faster and more environmental. Microfiber towels absorb water three times faster than cotton and dry five times as fast. They also last much longer. The good news is that these products are very inexpensive if you shop around (if you want a good towel at a great price, we found the products highlighted at, or you can check the automotive section of your local discount superstore).

Checklist For Your Fundraiser:

First, recruit a good work crew with enough tall people to reach the car roofs.

Second, decide on your desired date(s), hours, location, prices, and promotion strategy.

Third, go to the target site(s) and get permission to hold the event. Make sure there is a water source and drain nearby – you’ll need to exchange bucket water every three or four cars (more often if they are muddy, less often if not – in fact the salesperson should avoid selling carwashes to really big or really dirty cars!)

Finally, print up some simple handouts to explain the fundraiser to prospective customers (samples attached). You can also use these to put on the windshield to mark cars that need to be washed. Bring cash box and some change, and have a responsible advisor store your earnings someplace safe so you don’t have hundreds of dollars sitting around the parking lot.

Have fun and good luck!

Sample Handout:

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While-U-Shop Car Wash

Raising Funds for the CHS Band trip to San Diego

Only $5

Your car hand-washed and hand-dried, using ultra-soft micro-fiber cleaning and drying towels. No waiting! No detergents or chemicals, minimal waste-water. The most efficient, most environmentally-friendly carwash you’ll ever find!

Thank You For Your Support!

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