Charities who accept car donations usually do so through a commercial or nonprofit fundraising intermediary that handles the towing, selling, and paperwork involved in processing vehicle donations. Typically, the auction house takes their fee from the gross proceeds and sends the net proceeds to the intermediary.
Intermediaries that pass along 75 percent or more of the proceeds are considered highly satisfactory, while those who send 60 to 74 percent along are somewhat satisfactory. Those who send less than 60 percent of the net proceeds to the charity should be avoided.
These are the top 5 worst commercial and nonprofit fundraising entities I’ve come across while doing research for my car donation reviews. Some of these are disreputable at best and outright scams at worst.
The 4 Worst Commercial and Nonprofit Fundraising Entities
Below are the top 4 worst commercial and nonprofit fundraising entities I’ve come across while researching my car donation reviews. Some of these are disreputable at best and outright scams at worst.
1. The GIV Foundation
The GIV Foundation, which operates Cars for Breast Cancer and Cars for U.S. Troops, is one of the least transparent organizations I’ve ever come across. They’re registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit under the name Growing in Voices, and wherever you come across them on the Internet, you’ll be provided with different names, phone numbers, physical addresses, and mission statements. These guys are a hot mess.
According to the Washington Secretary of State’s office, the GIV Foundation passes along a horrifying 7 percent – SEVEN PERCENT! – of the net proceeds to charity.
Read my full review of the GIV Foundation! [Mike, link to GIV review here when it’s up.]
2. Kars 4 Kids
This nasty little organization is a fundraising arm of Joy for Our Youth, which passes on the raised funds to an organization called Oorah, Inc., a religious organization that tries to convert kids through their day camps. Kars 4 Kids was fined $65,000 twice – by the State of Washington and the State of Oregon – and $40,000 by the State of Pennsylvania for misleading practices for failing to disclose their religious affiliations.
Kars 4 Kids also lost $5 million in botched real estate investments, and their practice of offering donors a voucher for a free vacation is one of the most notable indications that a car donation organization is not legit, according to the IRS and a number of state Attorney Generals.
Read my full review of Kars 4 Kids!
3. Cars 4 Causes
Cars 4 Causes is another “nonprofit” fundraising organization that has jumped on the car donation bandwagon for its own profit. Although they pass on about 35 percent of the net proceeds to charities it still falls far, far below the acceptable amount.
Cars 4 Causes has been sued for deceitful practices, and one of their spokespersons is Glenn Beck. ‘Nough said!
Read my full review of Cars 4 Causes!
4. Vehicle Donation Processing Center
Operating under the name DonateCarUSA, the Vehicle Donation Processing Center is listed as one of America’s Worst Charities by the Tampa Bay Times and CNN. They’ve incurred $35,376 in fines in Florida and New Jersey as a result of three separate disciplinary actions, and they only pass on to charities between 18 and 27 percent of the net proceeds from donated vehicle sales.
Read my full review of Vehicle Donation Processing Center!
How to Donate A Vehicle in a Secure Way
Just because there are some dodgy car donation charity programs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider donating an old vehicle for charity.
But how can you be sure that you are securely donating your vehicle? Here are some tips for you.
First, it’s better to find a charity that directly accepts and processes vehicle donations. This will ensure that the funds you’ll raise for selling your car will go directly to them.
If you already have a charity in mind but they don’t run any vehicle donation programs, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of third-party vehicle donation processors.
This is where you’ll have to be careful.
If it comes to this point, the best thing to do is to research your options. Although it may be a tedious task, doing so will allow you to find car donation processors that have reasonable arrangements when it comes to how much percentage of the sale should go to the charity. It is also a good idea to ask for suggestions from your chosen charity. They may be able to provide leads and point you to intermediaries they have worked with before.
Now, even after you’ve made your choice, a quick background check on your chosen car donation program is a must.
Non-profit organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, GuideStar, and CharityWatch.org should be able to help you here.
BBB provides information on the charity’s fundraising methods and financial information. Check on GuideStar to confirm if the charity is registered with the IRS. And with CharityWatch.org, you’ll find a comprehensive evaluation of the charities based on the percentage of donations that the charity used to fund programs as compared to the percentage they use for fundraising and administrative costs.