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5 tips to pick the right charity for car donations

5 tips to pick the right charity for car donations

If you have an old vehicle you want to get off your back, consider donating it to charity. Most charities accept cars, trucks, and even boats as donations. They either use the vehicle or resell it and use the funds. Not to mention, you also get to save a ton of money via tax deductibles on your donation. Read on for some tips on how to find the right charity for your car donation.

Make a list of organizations
The first step to donating your vehicle is making a list of all the possible charities that accept cars as a donation. You also want to ensure that the ones on this list are legitimate. This will keep you from being scammed or giving your generous donation to a charity with questionable motives. One of the ways to ensure that the organization is legit is by checking if they have a 501(3) status with the IRS. This ensures that the organization is qualified by the IRS to receive a tax-deductible on their donations. To check this, you can call the IRS along with the information of the charity or check on the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool online.

Know which kinds of vehicles can be donated
Before you get to the part of donating your car to a good cause, you need to understand which kinds of vehicles can be given away. Most non-profit and charitable organizations will accept any and all kinds of vehicles. This includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, and even farming and construction equipment. Some non-profits may even accept vehicles that are in a non-operational state or have an expired registration. So, once you’ve made your list, you can check through to see which organizations accept the type of car that you’re donating.

Vet the organizations
Even the largest and most popular non-profit organizations tend to be vague about how the donations are put to use. And while you may not be able to get to the nitty gritty about the use of donations, you can search for ones that are transparent about their operations. Some organizations serve only certain goals or do not reveal the true extent of their operations. Some may also use a large portion of the donations for their overhead rather than the program itself. You can always check the charity’s workings on websites such as Charity Watch. Such websites will provide detailed information about the charities on your list and help you make better decisions.

Opt for a charity that accepts donations directly
In some cases, a charity may redirect you to a for-profit intermediary to handle the car donation. But, this is something you want to avoid as the intermediary may charge a fee or not allow all of the proceeds to go to the charity. Instead, you can try choosing a charity that does 100% of the transaction themselves. This way, you can ensure that profit from the sale or transfer of the vehicle goes to the non-profit and the programs. If you already support any charities, you can ask them if they have any car donation programs. Most non-profits do, and if it is a charity you are familiar with, it makes the whole process much easier.

Provide your information
Once you’ve decided on the charity, you need to approach them and provide them with your information. There could be a lot of documentation and paperwork involved in this step. But remember that this is crucial. Ensure that you have the proper paperwork in place. You want to change the assignment of ownership from your name to the charity. If your car is valued over a certain amount, you also want to ensure that you have a written acknowledgment from the non-profit organization. There are other forms involved with donating a car, especially if the vehicle is valued over $500. So, you want to ensure that you have all of this before you file for your tax deductions.

If you want to donate your vehicle, here are some of the top charities that accept car donations.

Habitat for Humanity
This organization accepts cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, and farm equipment donations. The vehicles are recycled or resold to raise funds for the charity’s missions.

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army accepts car donations only in certain locations. These vehicles are sold to fund their programs, including homeless shelters, pantries, and disaster relief.

Goodwill does accept vehicle donations of RVs, boats, cars, and motorcycles. All donated vehicles are resold, and the proceeds are used for various programs.