That car has been sitting in the garage for a year now. Chances are you are not going to be taking it out anytime soon either. You might not realize the good it could be doing someone who needs a helping hand. Donating a car to charity not only frees up space for you, but it supplies money that goes to feed the hungry, help low income families pay their utility bills or buy books for a local library.

Jump to the top 10 makes and models of donated cars

Now that you know the car can do something other than drip grease on the floor of the garage, you wonder if it is in good enough shape to donate. Nobody has taken the time to get the oil changed or give a good washing lately. What kind of car do charities take anyway?

Does it have to Run?

The ideal donation is a running vehicle. Organizations that manage car donations for charity will take it whether it runs or not, however. A non running car still has value – the best scenario is a car that starts, though. It doesn’t have to be washed recently – no need to get it detailed or anything like that. If it has minor mechanical issues, that is okay too. What is important is that you want to give. That is the starting point. From there, the details get less complex.
The only real requirement is that you own the car outright with no lien holders. The collection company sells the cars or uses the parts. In order to do this, they must have the title. If you don’t have a copy of the documentation, they can help you obtain it.

Does it have to be a Sedan?

Absolutely not – charities are not looking for family cars. They use the funds, not the vehicle. Once you donate, auto experts will take the vehicle and sell or salvage it. That means any type transportation works for their needs. They take:

  • Cars
  • Vans
  • Trucks
  • RVs

They can even use motorcycles or boats with a trailer.

What Charity gets the Money?

That is up to you. When you decide to donate, you can go to the website and select the charity of your choice. You can donate to the Breast Cancer Fund, for example, or Mercy for Animals. Take your time and pick a charity that means something to you.

How to Donate?

You have two options; you can donate via a website form or call to talk to a real live person. Get some information together when you are ready. You need:

  • Make and model of the car
  • Year
  • Mileage – guess if you are not sure
  • VIN

The vehicle identification number, or VIN, is on the title, registration or insurance card. You can also locate it at the base of the windshield on the driver’s side. The managing organization will arraign a convenient pick up time with you. Before they can take the car, you must provide a signed title.

Is this a Tax Deductible?

That is the beauty of car donation. Most of the time, once the car is sold, you get a charity receipt that your tax professional can use for your return. It is a win-win situation. You give to a worthy nonprofit organization and benefit from your generosity at the same time.

Top 10 List of Cars Donated to Charity*

  • Buick Regal
  • Chrysler Town & Country
  • Honda Accord
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Ford F150
  • Toyota Camry
  • Volkswagen Jetta
  • Volkswagen Passat
  • Dodge Caravan
  • BMW 3 series

*Based on donations January 2013 through June 2013

Many charities these days rely on older generations to keep operating, as people under 30 have decreased in their charitable offerings. This can often be bad news for a lot of charities, and impede their ability to operate in many ways.

Donating your car, boat, or other vehicle to a charity is an amazing idea. Sometimes we have vehicles sitting around that we really don’t need. There are many charities that can benefit immensely from a donation such as this. The best part about it is you still get reimbursed for your vehicle in the long run because you are provided with a tax receipt upon donation of the vehicle. You are allowed to receive the full market value of your vehicle as a full tax donation through the IRS!

In addition to cars and boats, you can donate vehicles such as RVs, fleet vehicles, trucks, vans, motorcycles, and trailers. Many people have these vehicles just sitting around on their property, or they are seldom used. Even if they are used often, but you’re thinking of upgrading or getting a different vehicle, donation is a great idea.

Donating your vehicle to a charity is also a lot easier than selling it yourself. You might receive the money upfront selling it yourself, but then you have to go through all of the paperwork and finding a buyer. Choosing to donate to a charity not only helps other people, but alleviates the paperwork, DMV visits, and the hassle of finding a buyer and negotiating a price. In the end, you’ll still receive the full value of your car.

Another really great thing about donating your vehicle is that you can choose the charity the proceeds from your vehicle will go to. Choose from any number of charities that you are passionate about and feel like you are really making a difference in the lives of others. There are even lists of local and national charities to get you started.

Your vehicle can be donated in all 50 states. It takes up to two days after making the call for someone to arrive and pick up your vehicle. This is an excellent way to have a vehicle moved and out of your way and your worries quickly. Cars don’t necessarily have to be running for you to donate them, but if they are running it is a lot easier on the donation center and generally more money is provided to your charity of choice.

Choosing to donate your vehicle to a charity you feel is deserving is a very rewarding experience. Knowing that you have done something good in your life – something amazing for other people – provides an intense feeling of self worth and accomplishment. Putting a price on that is a hard thing to do, even if you do technically get reimbursed. You just get to experience the best of both worlds when you donate your vehicle!

What are you going to do with that car sitting in the driveway? You used to take it everywhere. It was your best friend when it came time to go the store or library. You haven’t loved a vehicle this much since you got your first car in the 1960s, but now it is time to let it go.

The answer isn’t to send it to that lonely salvage yard or to sell it to some stranger. Instead, make your sacrifice mean something by donating to a worthy cause and get a tax benefit at the same time.

What do Charities do with Donated Cars?

It’s a fair question. You are giving a piece of your history to this service. It’s only natural you want to know what happens with it. Cars are sold to get funds that go to support organizations in need of help. The money buys new books for libraries or schools. It go into a fund towards community development or education. You might end up financing a teen art project that keeps kids from joining gangs or buying sports equipment for the local community center.

That is the beauty of donating your car. You have control over who gets the money. Help support Autism Speaks in honor of your granddaughter or donate to the Diabetic Youth Foundation in memory of your sister. Celebrate your love for animals by supporting the National Marine Life Center. It’s up to you to decide how you want to utilize the funds.

What is in It for You?

That is a fair question too. You get more than just the satisfaction of helping someone or the knowledge that you are giving away something important to a good cause. There are tax benefits to donation, as well. You can maximize the amount you list as a charitable contribution and the total tax deduction when you give. It’s a win-win scenario for both you and the charity.

How to Donate?

The process is easy. You can donate your running vehicle to any nonprofit organization on the list of charities. Take your time and find one that really matters to you. If you don’t have a preference, select “Any charity.” Those managing the donation will give it to one truly in need of help.

Donate for Charity negotiates the highest sales price for the vehicle in order to get the charity you select the best return. You will get a receipt that shows how much your contribution is worth. This is what you use to calculate the deduction when tax time rolls around.

You have had some good years behind the wheel. This car was one of the best, but now it is time for it to help someone else.