How New Charities Get Funding Through Vehicle Donations
June 24, 2019
One of the biggest challenges for new charities is raising enough funds to gain forward momentum. When a startup is launched, or when a founder gains nonprofit status, the game is on – it’s now imperative that streams of income are found to sustain the work and maintain productivity.
An Introduction to Car Charity Donation
Cars2Charities is a third-party company that handles vehicle donations on behalf of hundreds of nonprofit organizations nationwide. Car donations are an effective form of charity fundraising, in part because most Americans have easy access to the process. Oftentimes we aren’t aware that the car we own can become support for a favorite nonprofit cause.
The Donation Process
There is a simple and reliable process that Cars2Charities has been utilizing for 30 years, continually making alterations to better serve vehicle donors and new charities receiving funds through the program.
We make it easy for clients by limiting their responsibility and taking charge of more steps in the process than they may find elsewhere. Those include the following:
1. Call or submit an online donation request form on the website Cars2Charities.org.
2. Create an account.
3. Schedule a pickup with one of our associates.
4. We send you a receipt that confirms your donation and you choose the charity to receive proceeds from the sale of your vehicle.
5. We pick up your vehicle at a predetermined date & time – one that’s convenient for you.
6. We add value to your vehicle by making necessary alterations to the vehicle.
7. We sell your vehicle for you.
8. You, the donor, receive a tax receipt with the selling price for your records and the car donation charity does as well.
9. Your chosen charity receives an invoice and a check for net proceeds.
Can I donate my car to charity directly?
Some individuals assume they can donate their car directly to a favorite charity. But we do NOT give physical cars to nonprofits; we give charities additional income by selling the donated vehicles.
Donors select charities to receive proceeds, and selling the vehicles allows us to raise monetary values that support the chosen nonprofits.
There are various reasons we can’t give physical cars to a nonprofit. If you’ve talked to friends who have done so, it would require that charity to have a car donation program in-house.
One of the main problems with making a direct car donation to charity is that liabilities are a part of the course of action when cars are given to nonprofits. That includes the need to determine:
• Who is responsible for the car registration
• Who pays for maintenance on the vehicle
• Who is held responsible in case of an accident
• Who will pay for the necessary insurance
• Who will be responsible if it stops running
If your thought is that a nonprofit organization can use your car donation as a company car or truck, that is rarely the case. Many businesses – nonprofit or otherwise – do not have the time or money to receive and maintain a company vehicle.
Instead, vehicle donors with Cars2Charities choose which nonprofit they would like to receive financial support from their vehicle’s proceeds. They can choose a charity listed on our website or request a new charity for us to partner with.
When donors choose a charity that we do not currently work with, our charity relations team contacts the charity and sends them an agreement. Once the agreement is returned, our team verifies the information, and sends a welcome guide to jump start their marketing strategies.
Marketing for New Charities
If you run a nonprofit, it’s a “given” that you have one thing that is always on the front burner: How do we increase our car donations?
When we at Cars2Charities form new partnerships with a nonprofit group, it not only gives our staff the opportunity to get acquainted with the work of a new cause, we share our experience with them to increase their charity fundraising efforts. By collaborating with our marketing team, staff members from both companies can identify the most effective strategies based on the mission of the charity.
Our team members construct appropriate, attention-getting social media posts and strategize about how to get in front of donors and thus maximize charity fundraising. We create professional web pages and blogs that accurately reflect the goals and benefits of the charity’s work and we can also contribute to other marketing materials.
With 30 years of experience as a car donation program, our writing staff understands the best practices for search engine optimization, which we detail for the charity after its principals sign the service agreement. Together we create a marketing plan that we agree is the best way forward to increase donor awareness, which is particularly important for new charities.
Car Donation Charity Fundraising Results
It’s common to wonder, “When I donate my car to charity, how much money goes to the cause?” It’s a win-win situation, and everyone involved is united in making sure that the good work of the nonprofit is supported as much as possible. There are some factors that determine the total donation in dollars and cents, whether it involves new charities or those that have been around for many years.
When an individual, or an estate or other entity donates a car to charity, the nonprofit group receives 50-70% of the proceeds. The process at Cars2Charities is aimed at maximizing that number.
After we’ve been contacted by the donor and we pick up the vehicle donation, we bring the car to our expert technicians for assessment. By checking the condition of the car and assessing its value, we can make necessary alterations that typically raises the sale price by 25-50% before selling it at auction.
Service fees are detracted from the sale price of the vehicle, and specific charities have individual service fees based on the service agreement they have with Cars2Charities.
Which Car Donation Program Benefits the Donor
There are various programs available to individuals who own a vehicle they no longer need and want its value to benefit a favorite cause. And because of the liabilities mentioned above – not to mention, most companies’ lack of preparation to receive vehicle donations directly, there are legal and practical steps that need to be completed by professionals.
The best news for car donors is that it takes the onus off of them – to follow procedures required by the IRS, to become acquainted with DMV regulations, and to complete all of the paperwork properly, including the title transfer. That’s why submitting the process to a company with a car donation program is a good method for minimizing headaches.
Reasons to Donate a Car to Charity
There are many motives for a person to decide to make a car charity donation, and in some cases there’s another, more personal, reason not outlined here:
You have a car you don’t need and you have to do something with it. Perhaps you’re used to doing a dealer trade-in. Most people realize it’s a big money-loser, but you may not be aware just how much. Dealers pocket approximately 60-70% of the value of your vehicle, which is fine for their purposes, but it doesn’t enable you to determine where it goes.
You ditched your gas-guzzler for a hybrid and you love the idea of “reducing, reusing and recycling.” There’s no better example of environmentally-friendly car ownership than reducing reliance on oil while recycling your old wheels.
Commitment to a Cause
It might never have crossed your mind to donate a car to charity, but you’ve been wishing you could contribute more to a particular nonprofit group. Without a bottomless bank account, there’s a limit to what you can give.
That’s when owning a car you no longer need gives you the opportunity to increase their funding through the transfer of your vehicle’s value.
Which Charities to Donate to
After you, as a car donor, complete your end of the vehicle donation program – which at Cars2Charities simply includes contacting us with your donation – the only responsibility that remains is for you to choose your favorite charity.
Some car donation companies limit you to make contributions to their program. If you research sites detailing how to donate your car and they only mention one charity, that means it’s probably a program run by the nonprofit itself.
At Cars2Charities you can choose any 501(c)(3) – the cause you care about most can receive proceeds from the sale of your car. While we’ve worked with a huge number and range of nonprofit organizations, we are always eager to make new partnerships, as there are countless charities to donate to.
We have many categories of nonprofit groups on our “causes” page. If you have a heart for medical needs, children or if you always participate in the Love Ride, for example, we can direct you to some of those companies we’ve processed donations for already.
Some of the causes we have experience with are:
It’s not always the first thing we think of, but one of the best ideas to channel money to your favorite cause is through a car donation program. And it’s particularly a good idea for new charities when they are trying to get established.