How to Set Up A Car Smash Fundraiser: 12 Tips For Success

Planning to organize a car smash fundraiser? Wondering what is the right way to start a car bash fundraiser? Want to know the steps involved? This article has got you covered!

Car smash fundraisers offer a unique and exhilarating twist to traditional fundraising events. A typical car smash fundraiser is a fun, exciting event with the potential to attract large audiences. A smash-a-car fundraiser is also entertaining as people take turns hitting the car with a sledgehammer and other smashing tools.

But for maximum success, the event must be carefully planned with proper safety precautions. You also need to secure an old car and prepare it for the car-smashing fundraising event.

What is a car smash fundraiser?

A car smash fundraiser is an exciting event where participants get the chance to unleash their inner demolition experts by smashing an old car using hammers, bats, and other designated tools. It’s a unique and thrilling way to raise funds for a cause or organization. Participants make a donation or pay a fee to take part in the car-smashing fun, with all proceeds going towards the fundraising goal.

Is a car-smashing fundraiser a good idea?

A car-smashing fundraiser is a unique type of fundraiser as it deviates from the commonly organized bake sales, catalog fundraisers, charity raffles, school fetes, or marathons. Smash car fundraising has many benefits like

  • Ability to attract large crowds due to their entertainment value and appeal to people across various age groups.
  • Ability to raise a large number of funds from participation fees, sponsorships, etc provided the event is properly advertised.
  • Ability to engage a diverse group of people and build a sense of community and foster a sense of camaraderie and support for a cause

Who could organize a smash a car fundraiser?

A car bash fundraiser is suitable as a fundraising activity for any type of organization except one that works with or for really small kids. Some organizations that have used a car smash event to raise funds are schools, colleges, fire departments (Haywards firefighters planned a charity car smash event recently), youth clubs, sport organizations, schools and universities, etc.

When to avoid a smash-a-car fundraiser?

Even though car bash fundraisers provide a unique opportunity to raise funds in a fun and engaging manner, the event is not suitable for all types of organizations or age groups. Avoid organizing car smash fundraisers if

  • you are not interested in taking solid safety precautions
  • your target audience involves young school kids
  • the event is illegal in the area where you stay
  • you do not have an environmental-friendly car disposal system planned

12 Tips to organize a successful car smash fundraiser

Tip #1: Start with solid estimates and set proper goals

Organizing a car smash fundraiser is fairly challenging and so it only makes sense to arrange one if you have a clear goal set.

When setting goals for a car smash fundraiser, get estimates for the following

  • Cost of getting an old car (See if you can get one donated)
  • Cost of marketing the event
  • Cost of the venue
  • Cost of safety measures
  • Cost of other event materials like tickets, banners, brochures, photographer, etc.

Once you get a tentative figure of the total costs, figure out who your target participants are and ways in which you could raise funds.

You could raise funds

  • by selling tickets to the event
  • charging participants for every hit they take
  • getting event sponsors

Getting an idea of the costs involved and the means to raise funds through the event would help you set a realistic goal for the fundraiser. Also, assign a cause to the fundraiser. Thus you could raise funds for foster care or use the amount raised for school supplies or healthcare or any other cause that your organization works towards.

Organizing a fundraiser event like a car smash without a goal and an understanding of the costs involved would be unwise as the event may prove to be a failure either in terms of participation or in terms of fundraising.

Tip #2: Secure a car before making any announcements about the event

Car smash fundraisers are centered around a car. So getting an old, junk-type car is critical. To get a car for smashing

Contact Local Auto Repair Shops and Garages: Request local auto repair shops and garages to hand over a vehicle that is no longer roadworthy or awaiting disposal. In most cases, repair shops and garages could be willing to donate these cars to your cause.

Engage with Scrap Yards or Recycling Centers: Contact scrapyards or recycling centers in your area. Sometimes, they have old or damaged vehicles that they are willing to donate for fundraising purposes.

Collaborate with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies often handle vehicles that have been involved in accidents and deemed total losses. They might be willing to donate these cars to your car fundraiser instead of sending them directly for salvage.

Network with Car Dealerships: Reach out to local car dealerships and explain your fundraising initiative. They may have trade-in vehicles or cars that have been in their inventory for an extended period. They could be interested in supporting your cause by donating one of these vehicles.

Reach out to people through community programs or online: Finally, if none of the above options are likely to yield a positive result, use community programs and online platforms such as social media groups, and community forums, to request car donations.

It is critical to secure a car for the fundraising event well in advance – in fact much before you make any announcements of the event as the failure to procure a car after announcing the event would put your organization’s credibility for future events at stake.

Tip #3: Prepare the car for the smashing

car smash fundraiser - image of an old car wreck

The car that would take the beating must be prepared for the smashing. You can’t simply place an old car that’s not in roadworthy condition for smashing at the fundraiser venue without preparing the vehicle for the event. Here are a few steps that you must take

Remove Hazardous Materials: Before the event, thoroughly inspect the car and remove any hazardous materials. Drain fluids such as gasoline, oil, and coolant. Remove the battery, and safely dispose it. Follow local regulations in respect of the disposal of car batteries. Remove any loose or sharp objects from the car.

Secure the Engine: Disable the car’s engine to prevent accidental activation during the smashing. You can disconnect the battery, and remove the spark plugs. Seek an expert’s help to ensure the engine has been effectively disabled.

Remove Glass and Windows: Take precautions to remove or break the glass mirrors and windows of the car. This can be done by carefully smashing them with appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and goggles. Ensure all glass fragments are properly cleaned up to prevent injuries.

Reinforce Safety: Strengthen the car’s structure to ensure the safety of participants. You can weld steel bars or plates to reinforce critical areas like the exterior frame of the car. This step may seem counterintuitive but a strengthened car is safer for bashing. Focus specifically on components like the bumper, fenders, or doors and see if they are firmly attached to the vehicle’s structure.

Paint the car with slogans: This step is optional but painting the car with slogans in support of the cause for which you are fundraising is an effective way to build a fundraising sentiment around the car smashing event. You could also paint creative slogans about car bash fundraisers like

  • “Smash for a Cause: Drive Change, Make Impact!”
  • “Crash and Bash: Support the Smash, Fund the Mission!”

Tip #4: Advertise the event

Once you secure the car, you can start advertising your car-smashing fundraising event.

Use various marketing channels to promote your car smashing fundraiser.

Create eye-catching flyers, posters, and social media posts to spread the word. Leverage online platforms, local newspapers, radio stations, and community bulletin boards to raise awareness about the event.

Tip #5: Find a suitable venue

Car smashing needs a carefully selected venue. The venue should

  • be spacious to house a large number of people
  • accommodate safety precautions easily
  • have restrooms
  • have extra space to set up food stalls
  • ample electrical connections

In addition to these requirements, make sure you check if the venue has the permissions needed to host a car smash fundraiser.

The best venues for a car bashing event are

  • open parking lots (most commonly used venues for car smash fundraising events)
  • school fields
  • sport grounds
  • abandoned lots
  • fairgrounds (most ideal as they need little additional prep)
  • open arenas

Tip #6: Prepare the venue

A venue to be used for car smashing needs some extra preparation.

  • Clearly demarcate the car smashing area. Separate it from the seating area
  • Add barriers to the area to prevent dust, debris, and parts of the car from flying into the seating area or other public area
  • Even out the surface to strong enough to sustain car smashing activity
  • Display clear signage for navigation
  • Plan for proper waste management and disposal of debris

Tip #7: Gather tools

It is a common mistake to only consider car smashing tools when preparing for the fundraiser. But there are plenty of other allied tools too that must be kept ready at the venue. Here’s a solid list of all the tools you need for your car smash fundraiser.

To smash the car
– heavy duty sledgehammer
– baseball bats

To remove dangerous parts
– hacksaw
– hammer
– crowbar

Safety gear
– helmets
– protective glasses
– gloves
– protective outer gear and closed shoes

Emergency tools
– fire extinguisher
– first aid kit

Cleaning material
– brooms
– trash bags
– shovels

Tip #8: Train your volunteers

Car smashing fundraisers need responsible volunteers. You can’t assign the role of volunteering to school kids or random members of your organization.

To ensure that the volunteers are able to manage the event successfully, prepare your volunteers well

  • help them understand the goal and the vision of the fundraiser
  • explain the venue demarcation to them
  • provide them with tools to manage ticketing, collecting donations, etc.
  • provide a list of safety checks for participants and visitors (e.g. participants must be made to wear protective glasses, visitors should not be allowed to come too close to the smashing area, etc)
  • prepare them to handle medical emergencies
  • prepare a list of car checks to be performed before allowing a new participant to take hits. (e.g. removing dangerous loose parts falling off from the car)
  • educating them on the safe disposal of cars after the fundraiser event

You will need to divide volunteers into teams and help them understand their specific roles.

Tip #9: Appoint a supervisor

A car smash fundraiser can turn chaotic in the event of an injury or medical emergency. It would not only cause a lot of panic amongst participants but would damage the goodwill of your organization.

To prevent any mishap, it is advisable to appoint a safety supervisor over and above the volunteers.

The safety supervisor must ensure that the particpants and the other visitors comply with safety rules.

Tip #10: Have fun and record the event for memories

Honestly, this tip is more of a suggestion. So many people organize fun fundraisers and do not appoint a proper photographer or videographer to record the event.

While you may not need to record memories of common fundraisers like bake sales etc, a car smashing event creates many wonderful memories. Capturing and looking back at those moments is a great way to stay connected with the cause of the fundraiser.

Releasing photos and videos of the event can improve your organization’s visibility and generate interest for future events.

Tip #11: Dispose of the car neatly

How you dispose of the car after the fundraiser is critical

  • to avoid environmental damage and
  • to avoid exposure to the attractive nuisance doctrine

To neatly dispose the smashed car

  • remove and separate recyclable parts like tyres, electronics etc
  • get the car delivered to a local scrapyard or a recycling center that accepts smashed cars.

Tip #12: Thank the participants

We recommend this step in all our fundraiser ideas as this step helps organizations build long-term partnerships with its participants.

After the event, send out a financial summary to the particpants giving details of the funds raised, the amount spent, etc. along with a thank you note.

This communication could be in the form of a social media post, an email or a physical letter but regardless of the medium, it goes a long way in establishing your organization’s credibility.

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