Top Car Donation Charity Programs

Interested in Donating a Car?

Thinking about making a car donation? 

Have you found yourself considered making a charitable gift, or perhaps even considered generously donating a car – maybe an old or unwanted vehicle? Now is the time, especially in a period of such need with the pandemic!

As Covid-19’s impact to our country and the world has stretched on and on the need for many has become great. As we stress about the well being, both physically and financially, of family and friends the desire to help and support others now is greater than ever.


How Can I help?

Do you have an old vehicle sitting around and collecting dust or taking up space that could be put to better use? You have a several of great car donation options to consider!

Donate a car and contribute to a noble cause AND get a nice tax break at the same time?

Sounds like a Win-Win!

Your selected charity will be able to help even more people in need if they get cash in hand by selling off your car donation!

As you know, the federal government has rolled out several relief programs to aid not only critical parts of the economy, but to support individuals directly via stimulus checks. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has pushed out filing and payments for taxpayers to July 15, 2002. Even at the state and local levels, generous consideration towards distressed people and families in the form of extended unemployment, utility relief and in some cases rent assistance. 


Tips to Consider

However, we all know that many are still hurting and realize these efforts are not going to be enough. If you are wanting to do more, but are not sure the best steps to take to donate a car or make a cash contribution, we have outlined a few key tips and rules to keep in mind as you consider how best to support. These are important factors to make sure your generous and kind donation has the maximum impact and you are protected.

  • Cash is king – For many organizations, cash, or cash equivalent i.e. a car for donation, is preferred. Keep receipts if you intend to claim those donations on your tax return.
  • Stay put – Yes, we all want to help, but many states have restrictions on travel, and the federal government has asked that we stay at home when possible. There are many organizations that will arrange for pick up and touchless service as you donate your car.
  • Be smart – Be wary of personal solicitations. Make sure that gifts made by checks or credit card gifts are secure. And don’t send money by text or apps like Venmo without verifying the organization and contact info. Keep excellent records for tax purposes – and having the information available is handy if you want to follow up with another donation.
  • Do your homework – Check credentials of a potential charitable organization before you donate. Check out our recommended charities Wheel for Wishes and Vehicles for Veterans.
  • Always check charitable status – You qualify for a tax donation with such a generous give, please make sure that your donation is received by a qualified organization. Please us the following Tax Exempt Organization Search from the IRS to verify.
  • Careful if you decide to give directly to individuals – First of all, deducting a car donation can only be done when giving to a qualified organization. Donations to individuals, though generous, do not qualify for tax purposes. Even if those folks are deserving and you ultimately want to go that route. However, besides tax implications, if you are approach directly for funds from an individual during this time be cautions as there are many scams afoot. And even worse those funds may not be used as expected or go to the real people in need. Please reference the FTC’s Tip Sheet on how to avoid scams for additional reading and information on the topic when considering car donation.


How to Donate a Car to Charity

Donating a car  to a charity is a very generous gift and a great way to help those in need, qualify for a tax deduction, and get rid of an old or unwanted vehicle!

Calling your favorite charity with a vehicle directly is likely to be a non-starter. Most charitable organizations do not actually take care of the car donation process themselves. Believe it or not, the process does cost a bit of money and takes staff and manpower. Most charities work with both commercial and non profit organizations to coordinate all of the logistics, for a cut of the revenue collected, to then send along funds to the charity selected.

Sadly, the vehicle donation industry has many bad actors who are more than willing to take that car off your hands. In some instances, even though they say the majority of the proceeds go to charity, too often they are keeping most and giving less than 15% of the proceeds.

As a good reference point, you want to make sure the charity you are working with is ‘highly efficient’ and gives a fair percentage to the charitable organization. Some provide as much as 75% or more of the net sale to the charity selected. That is a very impressive number. More commonly, you will find intermediaries that contribute 60%-74% to the charitable organization. Unfortunately, there are those that provide even less, and you should be warry of anything less than 60%.


Top Car Donation Charity Programs

With these factors in mind, we have gone the extra step and compiled a couple of our top charities in the space for consideration:


Wheels For Wishes believes that every child, no matter his or her health, deserves a chance to have a happy and fulfilling childhood. By donating your vehicle, we are able to raise funds to support Make-A-Wish chapters in locations throughout the country, helping grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. A wish is an opportunity for a child to focus on something other than their medical routines, and be a kid again. 



Wheels for Wishes Recipients 

Wheels for Wishes is an IRS registered 501c3 organization, IRS assigned 26-3408048


Vehicles For Veterans helps several veterans’ charities throughout the U.S. Charities that have benefited from Vehicles For Veterans include: Homes For Our Troops, Operation Homefront, Veterans Airlift Command, the Fisher House Foundation, the Semper Fi Fund, the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Operation Gratitude, Minnesota Military Family Foundation, Hope for the Warriors, Intrepid Fallen Hero’s Fund, Folds of Honor Foundation, The United Service Organization (USO), and the Gary Sinise Foundation. In the past, Vehicles For Veterans has also donated proceeds to Disabled American Veterans (DAV). 



Vehicles for Veterans

Vehicles for Veterans is an IRS registered 501c3 organization operating as Car Donation Foundation, IRS assigned 26-3408048