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To Sell Or Donate Your Vehicle: That Is The Question

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If you are one of the millions of people in this country involved in charitable work, or thinking about doing something to help, a question might arise that has no easy answer. You might be thinking about donating a vehicle sitting around your house that is going unused, one you know could be put to better use by someone in need.

When you have reached the decision to donate a vehicle to charity, the second decision you need to think about is whether to donate the vehicle directly, or to sell it yourself and donate the money. Factors influencing this decision include how much time you are willing to spend  to sell it yourself. If you have the time to place the ads, answer the phone and talk to prospective buyers, and then meet strangers coming to your house to look at it, then you may raise the maximum amount of money the vehicle will bring. If it is a newer vehicle, this may be the way to go. Though all charities can use vehicle donations in a variety of ways, they also need cash and use it wisely for much needed supplies.

If you have very little spare time, the best approach to donating your vehicle may be to simply pick up the phone and call Goodwill, who will come pick up your vehicle free of charge. They handle everything, leaving you valuable time for your kid’s ball game or dance recital.

Dogs Sigh With Relief When You Donate That Truck

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When you are out cruising in that old truck you’ve been thinking about donating to Goodwill, with your two dogs in the back, you are not privy to the conversation that goes on between the two, but if you were, the conversation probably goes something like this:

SPOT: Hey, Rover, how’s that bump on your noggin? Looks like the swelling has gone down a little.

ROVER: Yeah, the head’s okay. Lucky that rock that flew up from the back wheel of that semi was just marble sized, and it was just a glancing blow.

SPOT: I’m tellin’ ya, dude, you gotta keep your head tucked behind the cab when Pop is doing 90. One of these days a big one is gonna hit you full on, and you’ll end up looking like Ralphie, that Boxer next door.

ROVER: Ralphie ain’t a Boxer. He’s a Doberman who was riding in the back of that F-150 when his Pop slammed on the brakes. Ralphie did a Nose Plow right into the back of the cab window. His girlfriend now calls him “accordion face”.

 SPOT: Oh, you mean that little Poodle, Missy?

ROVER: Yeah, that lucky little minx. Her Mom lets her ride in the front seat and stick her nose out the window when they drive the Cadillac.

SPOT:  We could do that if Pop would donate this truck to Goodwill and get a car. I’m tired of these metal splinters from sliding on the bed of this rust-bucket.

ROVER: Good idea. I’ll chew up the upholstery tonight. Then maybe Pop will call Goodwill so they can come and tow this junker away!

 SPOT: I wanna chew the upholstery!

Just save the upholstery. Make the call. Your dogs, who are already quarreling about who rides shotgun, and Goodwill, will love you for it.

Tragic Events Spur Car Donations

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In the twenty-first century alone, natural disasters have taken a huge toll in lost lives and devastation. A partial list of some of the major events would include:

1. The 2001 Gujarat Earthquake, India and Pakistan. 20,000 killed and 167,000 injured
2. 2003 heat wave killed 10,000 in France
3. 2004  28,000 killed in Iran earthquake
4. From 2001 to 2004, 70,000 die in Sudan’s Darfur region from disease and malnutrition
5. Underwater earthquake spawns giant tsunami and kills over 200,000 in Indonesia
6. Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans. You know the story
7. May 2008 Quake kills 50,000 in China

Charity donations are greatest at tragic times like these, vehicle donations included.

This list doesn’t include the terrorist attack of 9/11, which resulted in massive donations to charities from across the country, and the world, including many vehicle donations to Goodwill.

The current economic situation in America and around the world may not seem as dramatic as the events listed above, but it is a tragic situation none the less. People may not be dying in record numbers, but the loss of so many jobs has led to suffering in this country not seen in this magnitude since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. At a time when fewer Americans are able to donate money to Goodwill, the need for vehicle donations has never been greater. Any type of vehicle, running or not, is greatly appreciated, and the money raised at auction goes a long way to help alleviate hunger and suffering in this country.

Goodwill Car Donations Help Veterans and Homeless

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According to Wikipedia, “Goodwill was founded in 1902 under the name of Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries in Boston by Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator.” Over one hundred years later, Goodwill Industries has grown into one of the worlds’ largest and best non-profit providers of training and educating for career success to the disadvantaged and disabled, the homeless, people with physical and mental and emotional problems. Once people have been given training and have a job, the first order of business is often obtaining a car to get to work. This is where your car donation is so valuable.

Veterans returning from service overseas during wartime and conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan, and other military engagements through the years have also benefited from the Goodwill job training and assistance. Many young men go into our armed forces straight from high school, and have had little or no job training other than military specialties, most of which do not translate into civilian jobs. With little money saved up after their enlistment is over, most veterans do no have transportation either, which make it very difficult to get many jobs even after they have received training. Your donated vehicle, even one which does not look or run well, makes a big difference to the  men and women who have served this country so nobly overseas, putting their lives on the line in the name of freedom. Put this way, a used car donation is a just reward for our heroic soldiers.

For-Profit Companies Fill Vital Role In Charity Vehicle Donation Programs

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You might be thinking about donating a vehicle to charity, such as Goodwill, and wonder how much of the auction price actually goes to the charity. It is a legitimate question, but one that is not easy to answer. Vehicle donation programs involve many people, from the people who do the advertising for the program, the people who answer the phones day and night to arrange the logistics involved in the donation, people who tow the vehicle that has been donated, to the actual auctioneer and people involved in the auction itself.

Towing is a fixed cost, and it averages around $75 per vehicle. The advertising for the vehicle donation program is a variable, but expensive cost in and of itself, and perhaps the most vital part of the process outside of the vehicle donation itself. Without knowledge of the donation program, someone deciding to donate a vehicle would have no idea how to go about it. The only way to get this information to the public is through advertising, and radio, television, and newsprint advertising is a huge expense. The auctioneer and others involved in the auction itself must be paid, so the entire process leading to the selling of the car has many costs to cover.

The charities receive  proceeds of the selling price after these expenses are paid, so the higher priced donated vehicles will net the most money for charity, but remember this: nearly all vehicles will be accepted, and charities are ever thankful for all money realized by your gracious donation.

The Pros And Cons Of Selling Or Donating Your Vehicle

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Let’s take a gander at two different approaches to disposing of that used vehicle that has been sitting around your property, gathering rust and dust, maybe leaking oil, and generating the neighbors animosity for quite some time. It has been on your to-do list forever, and you have finally decided (for the tenth time), to do something about it. You have heard of the vehicle donation programs of the Goodwill Industries, two of the most venerated and trustworthy charities in the world, but times are tough and you decide to see if you can sell it first.

You put up a free ad on Craigslist first, knowing that a newspaper ad will cost a lot of money. You advertise your vehicle for what you think is a reasonable price, but the first 25 callers ask if you will take about 25% of your listed price. The next few callers are con men from overseas, offering to send you a cashiers check for several thousand dollars MORE than your asking price, and could you send them the difference? Right, buddy, you have heard of this scam for years. You finally take the ad off of Craigslist, vowing “Never Again!!!”

After finally putting an expensive ad in the paper, you spend days talking on the phone to prospective buyers. The few who actually show up to look at the car hate it for a variety of reasons, or want to ‘test drive’ it, without you in the car to distract them. Yeah, and the check’s in the mail.

You finally call Charity Dispatch, the logistical arm of Goodwill, who arrange a free tow for donating your vehicle, and give you tax deduction paperwork. And you think, “Why didn’t I do this first?”

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