Everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past century knows who the Boy Scouts of America are. They’re as ingrained in American culture as baseball and barbecue and as comforting as our little granny’s famous meatloaf. No fewer than 13 documentaries have examined the social and cultural value and impact of the organization, and Boy Scouts have been prominently featured in over 46 movies, 63 television episodes, and numerous songs, comics, fictional movies and stories, and even U.S. postage stamps.
The Boy Scouts of America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that accepts contributions of many kinds, including vehicles. Their official vehicle donation program lets you donate your working or nonworking vehicle to their cause. Donating your car to the Boy Scouts is a simple matter of filling out an online donation form or calling a toll-free number. Soon, a tow truck will arrive with the necessary paperwork for you to fill out, and will then take your vehicle to auction or to the salvage yard.
Vehicle donations for the Boy Scouts are handled through One Car One Difference, which is run by Insurance Auto Auctions Donation Division. This information is prominently featured on the Boy Scouts of America website, which is refreshing, because sometimes it’s really hard to determine who is actually running an organization’s vehicle donation program, and even more difficult to figure out how much of the proceeds the third-party intermediary actually gives back to the charity.
(Just In Case You’ve Been Living Under a Rock for the Past Century)
Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts have improved the lives of countless boys and young men by promoting personal and civic responsibility through physical and mental fitness, character building activities, performing the duties of citizenship, and engaging in community service. While the Boy Scouts are founded on religious values, the organization doesn’t define God and believes that all major faiths are tools for promoting peace and goodwill.
Recently, the Boy Scouts were under fire for discriminatory practices stemming from banning homosexuals from becoming Boy Scouts. But in 2013, the organization removed these restrictions, pointing out that as a youth organization, sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is “contrary to the virtues of Scouting.”
Boy Scouts of America on Guidestar
Any time you donate your vehicle (or anything else) to a nonprofit organization, it’s a good idea to check them out first to make sure they’re going to use your funds wisely. Charities have three major categories of spending: programs, administration, and fundraising. The most efficient charities put at least 75 percent of their revenue back into programs, with the rest split between fundraising and administration, which includes salaries and overhead.
It’s easy to find this information online. Guidestar is a nonprofit organization that compiles information on every charity that’s registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Once you register for a free Guidestar account, you can view the IRS Form 990 of any nonprofit. Part IX of Form 990 breaks down an organization’s expenses into the three main categories.
In 2012, Boy Scouts of America raked in $240,899,881. Of this revenue:
- $205,764,118, or 85 percent, went toward programming.
- $31,502,183, or 13 percent, went toward administration.
- $3,633,580, or 2 percent, was used to raise funds.
Charity Navigator is another good resource for checking out a nonprofit. A charity watchdog organization, Charity Navigator rates charities based on a number of factors, including financial efficiency, transparency, and accountability. Charity Navigator gives the Boy Scouts an overall score of 4 out of 4 stars.
So it appears that you can donate to the Boy Scouts with a clear conscience, knowing that they’ll make the best possible use of your generosity.
But What About the Intermediary?
Most charities don’t have the funds, the time, the personnel, or the expertise to handle vehicle donations, and so they engage the services of a third-party intermediary organization. This is all well and good, but sometimes the intermediary is less than scrupulous, and may pocket up to 90 percent of the net proceeds, passing on as little as $50 from the proceeds of a car that sells for $500.
So in addition to checking out the charity before donating your vehicle, it’s essential to find out who handles their vehicle donation program and dig around a little to determine whether they’re reputable. Here’s how that works:
- Highly satisfactory intermediaries pass on at least 75 percent of the net proceeds to the charity.
- Satisfactory intermediaries pass on between 60 and 74 percent.
- Unsatisfactory intermediaries pass on 50 to 59 percent.
- Disreputable or downright scamtastic intermediaries pass on less than 50 percent. In this case, it’s better to sell your own car and mail a check to your charity of choice.
Review of Boy Scouts Car Donation Program
The Boy Scouts’ vehicle donation website clearly states that vehicle donations are handled through One Car One Difference Vehicle Donation Program. One Car One Difference is “the national public awareness program of Insurance Auto Auctions Donation Division.”
Insurance Auto Auctions is a gigantic auto auction company that sells vehicles at over 150 auction centers across the U.S. Founded in 1982, IAA works with a large number of corporations, nonprofits, and individuals. IAA’s Donation Division provides hundreds of charities with a national call center to field vehicle donations and handles all aspects of the donation, including processing the paperwork, transporting the vehicle to auction, and communicating with the donor. All the charity has to do is just sit back and wait for the dough to roll in.
Insurance Auto Auctions claims to send a high percentage of the net proceeds of the vehicle’s sale back to the hundreds of charities they work with. quick search of the California Attorney General’s office corroborated this claim, revealing that of $78,292 in revenue generated by IAA from vehicles donated in the state of California, $56,362, or 72 percent, was passed along to the charity.
The Bottom Line for Boy Scouts of America’s Vehicle Donation Program
By all means, donate your vehicle to the Boy Scouts of America with confidence that they will see a fair percentage of the proceeds from the vehicle’s sale. Insurance Auto Auctions is a reputable third party intermediary that works with a number of highly efficient charities, including the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association.