Cars for Causes, officially known as Cars 4 Causes, is supposedly a “charity that gives to charities.” My interest about this organization was peaked after I heard a radio advertisement by Glenn Beck. I’ve never been a huge fan of Glenn Beck, but he doesn’t seem like the sort of guy that wants to be associated with a shady charitable organization, so at first, I thought maybe they are reputable. But then, I began wondering how much they had to pay Glenn Beck to be their spokesperson. It couldn’t have been cheap! They claim to have assisted 10’s of thousands of charities and will donate to a cause of your choosing. But does the money really go where they say it goes? I wanted to find out.
Cars 4 Causes Financials
Upon looking at the financial statements for Cars 4 Causes, in 2012, they had total contributions exceeding 8.6 million bucks. But their expenses in the same year were over 5.4 million, meaning only about 3 million actually made it to a charitable cause. According to their website financial page, only about 45% of donations go to outside charities. The rest stays within the organization.
Rule #1 To Car Donation – Donate To Your Preferred Charity Directly
Whenever you decide to donate a car or other vehicle, try to avoid donating to a place who will then donate for you. Instead, try donating directly to the cause you wish to support. For example, The American Cancer Society has their own car donation program, so if you wish to help an organization related to cancer research, you would be much better off
Whenever you decide to donate a car or other vehicle, try to avoid donating to a place that will then donate for you. Instead, try donating directly to the cause you wish to support.
For example, The American Cancer Society has its own car donation program, so if you wish to help an organization related to cancer research, you would be much better off going through that organization.
Remember, the more hands the money passes through, the more money gets lost. While a “charity that donates to charity” sounds like a good idea, there is always money lost in the transfer of funds.
For this reason, Cars 4 Causes may not be the best place to donate. If the charity you wish to donate to does not offer a car donation program, ask them who you should go through. They will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
Cars 4 Causes Rocky Past
Upon doing some digging, I found some rather concerning news articles about Cars 4 Causes’ rocky past. We have also seen some unfriendly reports on rip-off sites, although we have no way to authenticate those complaints. Yelp shows both positive and negative reviews. And finally, we have found evidence Cars 4 Causes has been sued for deceitful business practices.
Should You Donate Your Car To Cars 4 Causes?
While it is important for you to do your own research and find an organization you’re comfortable with, I am unable to recommend Cars 4 Causes as a legitimate place to donate your car. Even with Glenn Beck’s backing, it does not appear their funding is handled in a way that is superior to other charitable organizations. Also, they openly state they are an intermediary as a charity that donates to charities. As stated above, the more hands money passes through, the more gets lost. I simply do not think this is the best car donation charity out there, nor is it above average.
What are the Other Options Available?
If you’re not comfortable with Cars 4 Causes’ rocky past, here are some of the other car donation programs that you can also consider. There are several others but I’m choosing the best three. If you’re interested though, you can check my full review here.
One Car, One Difference is a trusted Car Donation program that is run by Insurance Auto Auctions Donation Division Charities. Here, at least 72% of your vehicle sales will be donated to your chosen charity. Two of the more well-known charities they support include the American Red Cross and the Boy Scouts of America. They also have this online app called Auto-Donation.com that can be utilized by donors in handling the entire donation process.
Meanwhile, Charity Motors is unrivaled when it comes to the highest tax deduction. They take a deduction that’s worth your vehicle’s fair market value, no matter the vehicle’s sale price. This is because they also sell vehicles to people in need at a discounted price. But let’s say your vehicle was sold at auction, what then? Well, you can only take a deduction that is equal to how much the actual sale price of your vehicle is and donate the higher percentage of donation to your chosen charity.
Lastly, you can also opt for Vehicle Donations to Any Charity or V-DAC. They are a commercial fundraising organization that is very transparent in providing their fee schedule to both charities and donors alike. You’ll be informed about how much your charity will get depending on the actual sales of your vehicle. Usually, they pass on between 70% to 75% of your vehicles’ net sales to the charity, which is very high compared to others.
V-DAC is also behind Car Talk’s Vehicle Donation Program alongside Advanced Remarketing Services. If you want to learn more about this program, check out my recent review of them here.