Although the multitude of advertisements that are evident whose job it is to encourage car donation to charity would have us believe that these donations form a major part of the fundraising activities practiced by charities and non-profit organizations (NPOs), this is not necessarily the case. Most charities and NPOs rely more heavily on the more traditional forms of donation, such as household goods and donation of stock to thrift stores.
One of your prime considerations, before you actually donate a car to a charity, should be how the charity or NPO in question could benefit from your donation. It is a fact that a car that is a runner, or a car that can be fixed up without incurring major expense, is far more valuable to them than one that will just be sold on. They can either use the car themselves, to further their charitable work, or give it to a needy person who otherwise could not afford to buy the car.
When you take as an example a charity that uses a third party for-profit organization to garner their car donations, it is often the case that after they take their cut there is very little money left over for the charity donation. On a personal note, the amount of tax deduction you can claim will be considerably less, especially if the car you donate is only fit for scrap.
The value of a car that is running is normally far higher when the car is sold, resulting a larger donation to the charity. This is also of benefit to you because it results in a higher value tax deduction that you can make.
Since the tax changes of 2005, many third party agents that used to handle car donations for charities now look elsewhere for their income. As a result of this, many NPOs that used to accept cars now no longer do so being unwilling to undertake the necessary tasks of running such a program.
As donated vehicles are almost always towed away, running or not, to avoid liability issues, the reason for non-acceptance could simply be that the charity concerned does not possess a tow truck. If this is the case, then the donation of a tow truck could be immensely useful. Not only does this mean a high value tax deduction for you, but you will also be helping the charity to collect a lot more donations from the use of the tow truck.
The value of auto donations to charities remains on the low side. The one exception to this is the type of charity that specializes in providing cars for those people who require reliable transport but just cannot afford to buy it. Even if they sell them off cheaply, these charities are valuable to both the car donors and the population that they serve.
Bearing in mind all of the above points, when considering car donation to a charity you should choose wisely to ensure that your car is put to the best possible use. If it is a runner you should select a charity that will make use of this fact rather than one that will just sell it on cheaply.