How to Decide Whether or Not to Donate Your Car to Charity

Thursday, November 20, 2014 2:56 PM

Donate A CarYou have a car you want to get rid of – could donating it to charity be a good idea?

There are many sides to the discussion of car donations, with some thinking you should get as much money as possible out of your old car while others believe you should help those in need.

Fortunately, it’s not such a stark compromise. There are a few organizations that allow you to maximize your tax deduction, while helping others in need. That makes for a win-win situation

Here are a few of the factors you should consider before deciding what to do with your old car. 

Determine the value of your car. Even if the car is in poor condition, the brand name and model might give it a higher value than you might expect. You can also expect higher tax deductions if you choose to donate the car, and your donation will greatly benefit both the charity and the family that receives your donation. 

What condition is your car in? If your car has 400,000 miles on it and its parts have been replaced or repaired multiple times, you will likely not find a buyer for it. The condition of a car will greatly affect its value, and thus may have an impact on whether you choose to sell or donate a car.

When a car is donated to an charity that provides cars to low-income families, it is often repaired to bring it up to a standard level for the families in need who are eligible to buy it. 

How long do you want to hold on to the car? For some sellers, letting the car sit in the driveway for months is perfectly acceptable if it will lead to a better offer from a buyer. Others don't have the space to keep two cars, and are anxious to get rid of their old car as soon as the new one is purchased – or even earlier.

If disposing of your car quickly is a priority, it is much faster and easier to donate a car than to try and sell it to the highest bidder or work out a deal with a local used car dealer.

How important is the cash? If you are relying on your car sale to keep you out of debt, you might not donate a car. Selling a car, despite the hassle and time, will get you quicker cash. However, you will receive a tax deduction if you donate your car. This tax break, combined with the speed and efficiency with which you dispose of the vehicle, may be worth more to you than selling the car for a higher sticker price.

Do you want to make a difference to a poor family? Donate your car if you want to use your good fortune to benefit others. Car donations help less fortunate families in a variety of ways, by opening up more job opportunities, giving them independent mobility, and more.

Find out more about the advantages when you donate a car.Vehicles for Change has a number of resources and plenty of information to help you make your decision.