Choosing a Charity for Car Donation

Many charitable organizations now accept donations in the form of cars or other vehicles. Choosing the charity that is right for you take some consideration.

Perhaps the first consideration is whether or not the charity is one you would like to support. The second is if your donation to that Charity will qualify you to take a tax deduction if that is one of your purposes in donating. For you to take a deduction, the charity must be recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. It is also important to ensure that the charity is dedicated to using the proceeds of your donation for the stated mission of the charity. It is also important to learn whether or not the charity itself supervises the dispensation of your car or if a third party is used in the process. Usually, if a third party is a part, the charity usually pays them a fee. This fee will be subtracted from the amount of deduction you can take.

Steps to choosing a charity

Use the following steps as a guideline to help you select the charity that should receive your donation.

  1. Does the stated mission of the charity match values that you are passionate about?
  2. Does the charity have an effective and efficient record of contributing positively to this cause?
    • Many charities that appear altruistic use a larger portion of net donation proceeds for overhead than to assisting the cause they claim to support. A good place to check the record of a charity would be at a site like CharityNavigator.org. This site is also helpful if all you have is a desire to support a cause but are unsure of which charity supports that cause best.
  3. If taking a deduction for your donation is important, consider the following:
    • Is the charity eligible to offer you a deduction?
    • Are you willing to file your taxes using itemized deductions?
    • Would it be more beneficial for you and the charity if you were to sell the car yourself and donate the cash proceeds?

If you have more questions about donating a car, especially those concerning your best financial options, take a moment to look at the additional Car Donation information we have available.