Donating a Car
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Donating a Car
I have a car that I want to donate to some organization. The car is
actually in good shape but needs a clutch and I since I don't need the
car I don't want to spend the money to fix it. I recognize that it will
be used for parts and while this is unfortunate I can accept it. If you
have had a recent experience donating a car I would be interested in
knowing which organization you used and how the process was. The
archives are a bit dated on this subject.
donate a car
I recently donated our 20 year old, 200,000 mile Honda to KQED.
http://www.kqed.org/support/cardonations.jsp It was very easy.
They were friendly, came to get the car when they said they
would, etc. We just received the donation letter saying that
it sold for $500 or less and we could use that letter or the
tow receipt for our taxes.
i've donated a car to the american cancer society before. it
was very easy. i filled something out online & they called to
arrange pickup. However, I believe they only take cars that are
working. Good luck!
looks like they'll take your car:
I donated a car to Make-A-Wish Foundation. They are a great
They made it a really easy process! My car was not running at
the time and I also did not want to put any money into it. I
called their 800 number and told them I had a car to donate.
They sent me a short form to fill out and then I told them
where the car was parked and they came and towed it away.
Afterwards they sent a letter outlining the charitable donation
that can be used for a tax write off.
Your car could help make someone's wish come true.
We have an old 1995 van that is a clunker in some ways, but it is
otherwise a safe and well-maintained vehicle, and we are considering
donating it. Does anyone know a way to give a car to an organization
that will then give the car to a real person in need?? We donated
another old car that was sold for parts, and that wasn't our goal.
I suppose we could try to sell the van, but I don't think we'll find
a buyer - it's banged up; clicker doesn't work; each lock has to be
manually locked and opened; an inside panel fell off... I could go on
and on. But we've maintained it regularly, and it has new front
brakes and front tires, and only 110,000 miles which isn't bad. Any
ideas? I'm going to sign as anonymous, because I want advice, not
people emailing for a free car!
Would like to see someone use it
A few years ago, I also wanted to donate my car to be used as a car, and
not just sold for a cash donation. I ended up donating it to this
organization which gives working cars to refugee
I had a similar situation with a van. I put it on Craigslist -- and
got lots of interest. Most people told me if they were taking it for
parts, or if they were down on their luck and needed safe transportaiton
for their family. There is also a website called Freecycle.org, where
you can put in listings for free items. Good for you for wanting it to
go to a needy person!
Here are some groups that I can recommend you get in touch with.
I don't personally know who handles car donations there though.
1. BOSS, building opportunities for self-sufficiency, is a
well-established and respected organization in Berkeley and Oakland
working with homeless people before and after
2. Women's Day Time Drop In Center, on Acton Street in Berkeley, helps
homeless women and their children. Linda Lazzareschi is the Executive
3. You might try your local church - walk in and ask if they have a
social ministry or members who could be in need.
4. Richmond Lighthouse (think that's what it's called) is a well
regarded ministry serving homeless and poor folks.
5. National Economic Development & Law Center in Oakland has project to
provide cars to women on TANF (welfare) so they can get to better jobs
than on public transit.
Hope those help!
We are interested in donating a working car to a charity and the
website does not have current information. Has anyone donated a
car and had a positive experience? Can you recommend a reliable
charity? We have heard that there can be problems as well with
not having the title changed and then becoming responsible for
someone else tickets etc. Is this a legitimate concern; is
there anything else we should be aware of?
The nonprofit I work with used to accept car donations but we
stopped because we found most car donation middlemen- i.e. the folks who
process and handle the donation-- to be questionable at best.
For example, we received ''70%'' of the proceeds of each sale. That doesn't sound
too bad, but that 70% was AFTER a whole lot of other fees were deducted, like
administrative fees, listing fees, etc. So for a car that you'd expect to sell on
craigslist for say, $1,000, it will likely sell for far less at the salvage lot that the car
donation middleman uses. If the total sale price is $500, the middleman might take
about $150 in ''fees'' and then give the charity 70% of the $350 that's left. So the
charity ends up with about $200 or so from your $1000 car. At least that was my
experience. At the very least, you might ask a charity about their program and how
much they really get from the donations.
If you are donating your car purely for the write off, which many people do, you
should first check with your accountant because I think the rules around car
donation deductions have changed significantly in the last year. It isn't as easy to
take the write off and in many cases, you'd be better off just selling the car and
donating some of the proceeds to your favorite charity.
The East Bay SPCA accepts car donations. The proceeds are
spent on helping dogs and cats in our community find new
homes. They handle all the paperwork and it was fairly easy.
You can call them at 510-563-5604 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
cars for pets
We've given two cars to Children's Hospital of Oakland where
the proceeds to to research. Our second donation we asked the
proceeds go to a specific department which they said they could
do. Good luck.
I'm looking for a place to donate a 1976 Camaro, interior not in
good shape, dead battery. My mother, 84, is reluctant to send it
to a wrecking company, and I'm looking for a way to help her feel
good about letting go of this car. The usual places to donate
take only cars that currently run, and I do not have the time or
money to get it running. Possibilities: a wrecking company with
even a small charity component, who donates parts on occasion to
high school auto classes, or has any other charitible
affilitiation. This might sound odd, but someone from a wrecking
company that likes pets might also work. Thanks!
KQED has a car donation program.
I'm really surprised to hear that your car has to be running.
All the many ads I hear on the radio say they will take your
car running or not (or even if it is up on blocks!). In fact,
when I donated my car to an AIDS charity in Boston back in
1998, I was really depressed that they were required by law to
tow it! How undignified! It ran perfectly and I had pictured
some happy teenage boy with my elderly car having fun and the
charity getting close to $700 for it. What I know now is that
most charities in fact only receive about $200 per car and that
the cars, running or not, typically go to a wrecking company
anyway for parts. Therefore, I'm curious if you have tried
calling a variety of charities? I've heard recent ads for a
blind society and for KQED, among many, many others. You also
mentioned pet lovers -- I'm sure I've also heard about donating
cars to a local animal shelter.
Hope this helps,
One of our cars died last year and we were able to donate it to
Christmas in April. They picked up the car the day after we
called them and helped process all the paperwork, transfer of
title, etc. You can reach them at (510) 581-5447.
I just donated my old VW it was rusted through, and
unregistered. I had to get a junk certificate and the car
hadn't been running in 19 years. I called many places and
finally I had a change to donate it to American Family through
Pick and Pull. I also had the option of Pick and Pull charging
for towing -- taking it -- and I would have been paid $2.
There's a place in Oakland and Richmond. I went to Richmond.
The website is:
It's true, I had trouble donating a working Honda -- the middle
men just sell the cars at auction. So try Pick and Pull and
some of the places that say junk cars.
It's worth something!!
Does anyone have experience donating an old car to charity? We
have a now non-functional car we need to get rid of. What
charities have been used and how has it worked?
We donated an old car last year to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
It was so easy! I just called, and talked to a representative
for a short time to discuss the details of the car (they don't
care if it's running or not), and then we scheduled a time for
them to come pick up the car. They tow the cars regardless of
condition. All paperwork was done for us efficiently - and a
quote was given to us over the phone of our tax write-off.
When the written documentation followed, after the car pick up,
we were even happier to see that they increased the value
amount based on work we had recently done to the car,
condition, etc. Couldn't have been happier with their services.
I donated my 1990 Corolla, which technically still ran but needed an
rebuild and a new catalytic converter, to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum
summer. It was super easy: you call them and answer questions about the
vehicle you want to donate, then they send you some paperwork. You'll
call from their towing company to arrange a pick up time. The day they
to get the car, you leave the filled-out paper work and the keys in the
car. (They do require that the tires not be flat.) It's really easy to
get a hold of
them on the phone, they can answer all your questions, and they send
donation slip for your taxes. The number is 877-660-6689.
I would like to give away an old car. Has anyone had a hassle-free
experience giving a car to a charitable organization? Please let me know
which one and how you arranged it.
iPoet might be able to use your car. Does it run? You can find out more about
the program at http://iPoet.com - the Homeless Poets Cafe It's a
non-profit website to benefit adult literacy and homeless people. iPoet is able
to give you a tax credit and do all the paperwork when they pick up the car.
They'll try and fix it up and get it to a (licensed)
homeless person who's working and behaving responsibly and can afford insurance
and gas.. It's a good program. Your contribution will be appreciated.
I donated my car to St. Vincent de Paul in Concord and it was hassle-free.
them up and told them what I had and they set up an appointment. All I had
to do was
fill out the pink slip and sign three forms that they brought with them.
sent me a confirmation letter later for tax purposes.
Last year I donated a car to the American Cancer Society and was very
pleased with their
performance. The ACS produced a detailed packet of the required DMV forms,
information pre-printed and highlighted in the places I needed to enter
some info. ACS can be
reached at 877-788-2700. ACS arranged a time to pick up the car and was on
time and couteous.
Be sure to have your car appraised prior to making the donation. The limit
to deduct from your
taxes without an appraisal is $5000. The blue book value isn't enough for
the IRS, so go for
an appraisal if you think the car is worth more tan $5k.
I donated my car to Habitot Children's Museum in Berkeley and it was
I called Julie Cohen (Board of Directors) up and told her what I had and
me a few questions. All I did was to fill out the pink slip and signed a
forms. She arranged an appointment to have the car pick up. She also gave me a
confirmation letter for tax purpose.
Habitot Children's Museum will gladly accept your old car donation.
non-profits are taking advantage of this form of giving. Normally
with an outfit that actually handles the logistics of the pick-up and
Call Habitot at 510-647-1111 and they will be happy to walk you
steps of their program.
I am looking for an agency that I can donate an old car to, I have seen it
advertised on the television and I believe it supports abused children,
I would prefer that agency. Can anyone help? it would also be helpful if
the car could be picked up.
Look in the Tribune. In the Want Ads/For Sale part of the paper, look at
the first page where they sell
dogs, etc. under that section there is a section I think called charities.
You will find the listings of where to donate. WE donated 2 cars last
year, got good write offs. Only thing it may take time for them to come
and pick up the cars. The charities are quick to get the information from
you, but then the towing company has to arrange to come pick the car up.
It took us 2 weeks with one company. Make sure that you have your pink slip
the day they pick up the car, otherwise it causes more delays............
This is a great idea. However, when I did it in late 1992, I had a number of
problems. I first called a Berkeley program for homeless people with
emotional problems, but the director did not get back to me. Then I called a
battered women's shelter in SF, and they didn't get back to me. Finally,
about 2 days before my insurance on the car ran out, I called a Jewish
agency whose names I had gotten from a Jewish bulletin, and they arrived at
my house the next day (a Sunday!) with all papers completed and took away
the car. So, I don't know the name of the agency you are thinking of dealing
with (there are lots on billboards going into SF), but if you have a
problem, try looking in a Jewish newspaper.
Two issues - First, a friend donated a car to a reputable non-profit and
all was well until she got audited by IRS this year and they disallowed the
deduction because she didn't apparently have the right supporting paperwork
to prove the car's worth. A couple of these agencies advertise regularly
on KGO-AM, Newstalk radio.
RE: donating cars
In some areas, the Salvation Army will take cars.
We did donate a car to Salvation Army in Oakland this year, and it was
really easy. Flake that I am, I had lost the pink slip, but I just
called DMV and they mailed me paperwork to use when there's no pink slip
to be found.
We did take the car down ourselves. The center is really close to
12th Street BART in Oakland, so we just BARTed back home afterward.
We decided to donate to Salvation Army because we had seen some news
pieces about places that take cars and then redistribute some of the
nicer ones to the administrators. We wanted to make sure that most of
the value of the car got to the people we intended it for.
I successfully donated a car to Catholic Charities. I went with them
because someone actually answered the phone, and my mother received a
grant from them for first and last month's rent prior to a recent move to
senior housing. I was also informed that if the vehicle is running or has
affordable repairs, then the car is made available to an individual in a
job training program to use to get to work. The process was somewhat long
and drawn out, although painless, but I think this was because I made the
donation in November. The car wasn't actually picked up until the after
the first of the year, but the title changed before then. My tax
preparer treated the donation in a very straitforward manner, so I don't
anticipate any tax troubles.
this page was last updated: Aug 28, 2008
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