Don’t Be Lost on the Road When You Donate Your Car

New York, NY
November 31, 2003

Year-end is a perfect time to think about charitable giving and car donations are one way to rev up local charities while helping yourself to a possible tax deduction. But before you pick up the phone, do your homework.

Here are some tips from the National Kidney Foundation to safeguard against disreputable charities:

  • Make sure the charity is a name you recognize and trust - Be particularly careful of “sound-alike” charities, i.e. the American Kidney Foundation instead of the National Kidney Foundation or the National Cancer Association instead of American Cancer Society.
  • Ask how much money the charity receives from the donation - Donate to a program that can provide at least 60% return on the dollar to the charity.
  • Ask how the car will be handled when it leaves your possession - You’ll want the vehicle towed, even if it’s in working condition. If it is driven off your property, you may still be liable for that vehicle.
  • Sign the title directly to the charity or its agent - Many illegitimate charities ask that the title be left blank or that the donor simply sign the “seller” section. New IRS laws require the donor to sign to the charity or agent.
  • Ask how and where the money will be sent -It is always unwise to allow a donated care to go to any charity without being absolutely sure of how and where the money will be spent.

The National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Cars Program, the leading car donation program, is a fast, easy and safe way to donate your vehicle. Approximately 70 cents on the dollar goes to benefit kidney patients, health screenings, kidney research and patient education services. For more information or to donate, contact 1-(800) 488-CARS or log on to www.kidneycars.org.