An Autobell employee puts the finishing touches on a car. (Photo: Flickr)

An Autobell employee puts the finishing touches on a car. (Photo: Flickr)

A family-owned car wash chain based in North Carolina is running a great marketing campaign and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity at the same time. Autobell Car Wash, a four-decade-old company based around Charlotte, says it helped raise more than $740,000 for various charities and schools in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia.

According to the company statement:

Through the program, Autobell provides 501(c)(3) groups with full-service car wash tickets custom-printed with the organization’s name; the tickets are sold by the nonprofit at full price and honored at all Autobell locations. Fundraisers keep 50 percent of the proceeds from all ticket sales.

“We’re happy to offer this simple and effective way for so many worthy nonprofits to reach their fundraising goals,” said Autobell President & CEO Chuck Howard in the news release. “There’s no need for organizers to plan and execute a parking lot car wash or other large-scale fundraiser, worry about rain dates, or incur any upfront cost.”

Many car wash businesses use ticket books or cards anyway, and it’s relatively inexpensive to have them printed with different logos for nonprofit groups. So it’s not a ton of work on the part of the car wash. Meanwhile, charities are always looking for new ways to raise money. Partnering with for-profit businesses is an emerging trend in the nonprofit industry. As Howard explained, all of the up-front cost is absorbed by the business.

“And since all Autobell locations treat 100 percent of the wash water used and recycle up to 100 percent, organizations can feel satisfied they’re encouraging supporters to utilize the most environmentally friendly method for washing their cars,” Howard said.