Car Donation Experiences

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onmyway33
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Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:40 am

Car Donation Experiences

Post by onmyway33 »

I am helping an elderly home-bound relative in Ohio get rid of a older (2002) vehicle with a few moderate mechanical issues (likely worth ~$1000). I am considering recommending that they give it to a charity for the assumed benefit that the charity will handle just about everything (taking possession of the vehicle, transferring the title, providing documentation for a tax deduction, etc.). I was thinking of a military veteran related charity or a Catholic charity, as those are 2 things important to the life of my relative.

Does anyone have any good or bad experiences to share with donating vehicles to a charitable organization? Thanks.
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stupidkid
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:11 pm

Re: Car Donation Experiences

Post by stupidkid »

We donated my SO's car after she drove it into a pole and it wasn't driveable. Left it in a strip mall parking lot; called Public Radio and they picked it up. We did nothing besides the call, they handled all paperwork, sent a receipt after it was auctioned, got a $500 deduction out of it. Scrapyards offered ~$100-$150. Remarkably painless.
psteinx
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Re: Car Donation Experiences

Post by psteinx »

While a car donation might be both rather painless and a good deed, *if* your relative wanted to realize some cash from the vehicle, in a relatively low effort way, they could drive it to a low to moderate income area of a major city that has a bunch of cheap used car lots in close proximity. Take it to 2 or 3 in a row, say he wants to sell it for cash, that day, to the best offer, and get a lift home afterwards.

There's a good chance he would get a decent result out of this, if the car is close to the rather modest level of low-end cars sometimes sold at these lots (or could be cheaply and easily repaired/detailed to such levels)...
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dm200
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Location: Washington DC area

Re: Car Donation Experiences

Post by dm200 »

onmyway33 wrote:I am helping an elderly home-bound relative in Ohio get rid of a older (2002) vehicle with a few moderate mechanical issues (likely worth ~$1000). I am considering recommending that they give it to a charity for the assumed benefit that the charity will handle just about everything (taking possession of the vehicle, transferring the title, providing documentation for a tax deduction, etc.). I was thinking of a military veteran related charity or a Catholic charity, as those are 2 things important to the life of my relative.
Does anyone have any good or bad experiences to share with donating vehicles to a charitable organization? Thanks.
Many years ago, I donated a car to the local school repair auto training. Positive.

If the car is roadworthy, then maybe a local repair place might know someone who would buy it for a modest amount (cash).

I also donated one to a church program. It was fine.

Some Catholic Charities offices in some areas have such programs, so give them a call.
jebmke
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Location: Delmarva Peninsula

Re: Car Donation Experiences

Post by jebmke »

There are a couple of fairly recent threads on this subject that might be worth reviewing.
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arsenalfan
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Re: Car Donation Experiences

Post by arsenalfan »

I donated my car to a Vet organization - left it at the Volvo dealer and took the plates.
They mailed me a $1k tax deduction.
In nostalgia, I sometimes wish I'd paid $1k for the new car computer - I miss that horridly underpowered tank of a Volvo 240 wagon.
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Blackwood
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Location: Atlanta, USA

Re: Car Donation Experiences

Post by Blackwood »

We donated a car last year to a Catholic charity (St. Vincent de Paul). They sent someone to our house who understood the process and took the necessary information from us before driving the car away (I believe they can tow in necessary). They provided us the proper tax receipt shortly after, and we took the tax deduction on our 2016 return. The whole process was completely painless, and a deserving family got transportation that they needed.

You will probably be financially better off if you sell the car, but that can be a hassle and you don't get to feel that you helped someone out.
newbieboglehead
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Re: Car Donation Experiences

Post by newbieboglehead »

If you care about how much of the car value actually goes to the charity, be sure to ask the charity what percentage it gets to keep. A handful of charities can handle the process in-house; most use a middleman. The percentage varies. Anywhere from less than 10 % to 50% is typical; the rest goes to the middleman. Some charities manage to have better contracts with the middleman and can get in the 60 - 80 percent range. I work at a small nonprofit and we use one company for local (in state) car donations where we get around 40% of the car proceeds (net of expenses); we use a big national company for all other states and we get somewhere around 10%. We're not big enough to have more negotiating power.

Articles that address this include:

http://www.ocregister.com/2017/01/25/ar ... h-caution/

https://www.thebalance.com/car-donation ... es-2501906
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