More and more people these days prefer to donate their old car to charity rather than selling it. One major advantage is being able to claim a tax write-off. Even more important, though, is the feeling of satisfaction that comes from knowing you have done something good to help other people.
If you are considering donating your car to charity, how can you choose the right charity? Which services are among the best? Here are some points that can help you make a good decision.
Choosing a Charity
There are many tactics to help you decide which charity to donate your car to. As a start, here are some questions to ask as you evaluate each one.
Does the charity accept vehicle donations directly?
This is a case where it pays to cut out the middleman. Why? Although many organizations may advertise that they can help you donate your car to charity, many of these keep a hefty portion of the proceeds for themselves. As a result, very little of the actual value of your vehicle may end up with the charity. So, if you can find a charity that accepts vehicle donations directly, then you know that the full value will be used for a good cause.
Is the charity a 501 (c) (3) organization?
The key part of this question is the (3) designation because organizations with 501 (c) (4) status may be non-profit, but donations made to them cannot usually be claimed as a tax deduction. If you’re hoping for your donation to be tax-deductible, you’ll want to make sure the target organization is a 501 (c) (3).
Does the charity allow you to sign the vehicle over to it?
Why is this an important consideration?
At times, charities may say that they prefer not to have you sign the vehicle over to them legally. They usually do this because they want to sell the car and collect the proceeds without having to go through the trouble of re-titling the vehicle. However, you are wise to be very wary of such an agreement.
If you do not legally assign ownership of the vehicle directly to the charity, you can be liable for how it is used — even after you hand over the keys. For example, this means that if the car is used to commit a crime, you can be held responsible from a legal standpoint. You can avoid such problems by legally transferring the title to the charity of your choosing.
The Best Charity Donation Services to Consider
One Car, One Difference
One Car, One Difference is the donation division of Insurance Auto Auctions. They have contracts with several reputable charities to accept the vehicle donation, including the American Red Cross and Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America).
Pros: A high portion (up to 72 percent) of the dollar value of the vehicle will go to the charity you select.
Cons: Although One Car, One Difference works with many famous charities, it’s possible that a more obscure charity you would like to support does not have a working arrangement with them.
Riteway Charity Services
This is a commercial organization that exists to do fundraising. Riteway works with a number of effective charities, including Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
Pros: There is potential for the target charity to receive as much as 75 to 100 percent of the value of your car.
Cons: Depending on the value of your vehicle, the target charity may not receive as much as you had hoped. That being the case, you are wise to check how much the charity will receive before you opt for this service.
The Arc Vehicle Donation
This nonprofit organization focuses on the needs of those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. It cooperates with Melwood, which is a charity that hires the same type of people that its charitable work benefits.
Pros: If you donate your vehicle through The Arc, you can make a difference in the lives of real people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Vehicle Donations to Any Charity (V-DAC) does commercial fundraising to support a wide array of charitable organizations. This company is completely transparent about their fees.
Pros: Since both the charity and the consumer are provided with information about the fees upfront, everyone involved can know exactly how much of the value of the car will go to the charity.
This charity accepts donations of vehicles and sells the cars received directly to people in need. What’s more, Charity Motors considers the fair market value of the vehicle and then sells it to the needy for just 50 percent of that value. On top of that, Charity Motors donates a generous portion of those proceeds to any other charity you select.
Pros: Your vehicle is used by someone in need, the proceeds benefit other charitable causes, and you receive the highest possible tax deduction because you are able to deduct the entire fair market value of the vehicle.
As you can see, donating your vehicle to charity is truly a win-win situation. You are able to receive a tax deduction, and people in need receive the kind of help they so rightly deserve.
Of course, since you have many options, you are wise to do your own research and select the right charity or vehicle donation service to fit your particular wishes. Do so, and you will find that it was well worth the time and effort involved.