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Understanding Car Donations

What you need know about car donation.

People discussing the diferences of charities.Car donations, including other vehicles, like RVs, boats and motorcycles (or even golf carts) do not all go through the same process. That is, most donations are first sold by a company which handles the pick up and title transfer of the vehicle. Once the car is collected from the person who makes the donation the proceeds then go to the chosen charity after the vehicle is disposed of and expenses are charged. This "company" will usually charge some fees, like the towing expense, title transfer fee, and a service fee. The lower the overall fees, the greater the amount the charity will end up getting from the proceeds of the sale. Some companies charge a larger fee than others, and while many are in a "reasonably low fee" range, some companies that act as the middle men charge more sizeable amounts without donators actually realizing it. This in turn lowers the end value of their donation to the recipient charity.

NPR in letter blocks.National Public Radio (NPR), accept car donations through Advanced Remarketing Services, a company with a social mission that is based in Warren, Rhode Island. They charge a flat $55.00 fee per car to cover their services, however they also charge expenses that they incur, like title transfer and towing. ARS has handled over $85 million in actual donations delivering eighty three percent of those proceeds directly to the organizations that they represent. Among the other charities that they work with are Habitat for Humanity, WORLD, and the American Cancer Society.

Non-profit organizations have increasingly come to rely upon the revenue from car donations. Car donations have become more and more common place; back in 2000, 733,000 U.S. taxpayers reduced their taxes by $654 million. Today those numbers have dramatically increased.

Some other organizations collect donated cars and use them or sell them their selves. Miracle Hill Ministries located in Greenville, S.C., sells donated cars to graduates of their recovery programs so they can re-enter society with a better chance to get and keep a job. The cars are sold at very reasonable prices and have proven helpful with recipients to maintain a productive life, but also by their getting satisfaction from knowing that they qualified for this benefit by completing the necessary program.

Donate Your Old Car to NPR

Information about Car Donations

Ask questions: Will the vehicle be fixed up and given to the poor and needy?
Will the vehicle be resold and, if so, what share of the proceeds will the charity receive?

There are costs associated when a vehicle is picked up for a donation, especially if towing is needed. These companies send out a qualified person who must load it, strap it down correctly and then drive it to its first destination. They often will handle the initial paperwork, like getting a title and making sure it is in correct order. Things that you may want to know:


Private companies that offer services to raise money through car donations for charities are everywhere. These companies take care of the entire process of the donation. Some even do advertising for donations and then speak to the donor. They pick up the car, handle the paperwork and then sell it, all for a portion of the profits.


Realize that a private company is usually involved when donating vehicles to charity. The process might typically be, first the donor contacts the charity. Second the charity arranges with a middle company to pick up the vehicle. Third, the vehicle is sold, usually at an auction. And last the proceeds are split.


How much of the proceeds will actually end up with the charity? The more the charity gets the more money will actually end back in the hands of the neediest. While car donations are a huge benefit for non-profits, costs and the mechanism that these things require have costs.

Car Donations & the IRS

Tax benefits under the microscope.The IRS has rules that allow a deduction for donating a vehicle. These rules are easy to follow if you take the time to read the publications that the IRS make available. Continue reading:

Tax Deduction-Donating Your Car

Vehicles types to Donate

Older car perfect for donation.Many people ask about the types of vehicles that they can donate and the condition that they need to be in. First, although most vehicles that are donated are cars, many other types of vehicles are accepted, like RVs, boats, etc.. Continue reading:

Vehicles Types for Donation

Car Donation to Charity

When deciding on a charity or non-profit organization to give your older car to, make sure that they end up receiving most of the proceeds. The best way to do this is to donate directly.