Give your car away? You’ve got to be crazy!
That is the first response I got to my suggestion that I give my used car to Make-A-Wish. My wife, my daughter, even my brothers thought I had gone loopy. One brother asked what had knocked my brains loose. Fortunately another brother is a financial planner who assured everyone that what I wanted to do was not crazy. According to him, in our tax bracket it was a great way to reduce the government’s share while giving a charity more than we would likely give in pure cash.
Another point that was a selling point in the family is the relatively low trade-in values that dealers provide. To give the charity the same value in cash and do a standard trade-in would cost more than buying without a trade-in and gifting the car to Make-A-Wish.
Why Make-A-Wish you might be asking. It’s personal with me. I volunteer at a hospital in a children’s ward one day a week. I have met many wonderful children who will experience very short lives or lives that will be a constant challenge as their sight, hearing and ability to control their limbs become increasingly useless.
Cindy Williams, whom I met through the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, is the local director. She had some wonderful tales to tell about the kids they give a chance to. Several of these stories can be found on the website. (http://www.eastncwish.org/ )
Make-A-Wish Foundation of Eastern North Carolina
3803 B Computer Drive, Suite 108
Raleigh, NC 27609
Make-A-Wish works with an outside organization that accepts your automobile donation and converts into a contribution to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Please call 877-635-0663 for details.
(Please be sure to designate your donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Eastern North Carolina).
The process of giving to all the local charities is done via the phone. Whether you call the local office or their designated intermediatory (the person you have to talk to), most of the work will be done over the phone. Some of the work can be done on the Web (Internet).
If you call the local number, they will give you a number to call.
(1) To be prepared for this call have your car registration with when you make the call.
(2) Make the call to the number given.
(3) Write “Exactly” what they tell you on the transfer of title portion of the registration.
This is important to make sure your charity receives the benefit.
(4) Schedule a pickup date with the person you are talking to. It is a good idea to have in mind dates convenient to you before you call. They will schedule with a local towing company so exact times are difficult to arrange. More often than not they will tell you to leave the keys in the car and leave it unlocked.If your car is a junker, no problem. I gave away a rather nice car (of course all our cars are nice) and leaving the keys in made me a bit nervous. Particularly when the tow company did not pick it up on the day scheduled.
(5) You should receive a call to confirm everything, prior to actual pickup.
(6) Remove the plates from the car, at least in North Carolina you need to return these to the state or pay the renewal fee every year for the rest of your natural life. (I don’t think they can go after your estate should you die)
(7) Remove any personal items as you will never see the car again.
(8) Leave your car where you agreed to leave it, on the date you agreed to leave it. With the signed registration giving ownership to the charity or their agent in the car. With the keys in the car and the car unlocked.
(9) Check to make sure the towing agent picked up the car.
(10) You will receive, usually by mail) a receipt that you need to keep for tax purposes.
(11) Relax and know that you helped someone that needed it. (I was a wreck during the process, I had never given away a car before; you would have thought they were taking away my first child).
That’s all there is to the process.
A second great organization to give a vehicle donation to is the American Lung Association of NC. They provide more direct aid in working on the cure to the diseases that cause the lungs to be impacted.
I had the chance in my volunteer work to see the results of their work in person. I met weekly for four months with a young lad of 16 who was in desperate need of a lung transplant. He was one of a boat load of children, which made it very difficult on his parents. The work of the Lung Associate was there through the results of research that make lung transplants possible and through the services side for the child and his family.
Lung Health Education, Resource, and Outreach Center
3801 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 190
Raleigh, NC 27611
1-800-LUNG-USA (toll free in North Carolina)
Their website (www.lungnc.org/)
The American Lung Association also uses an outside agency manage the donation of your car:
Habitat for Humanity is another local/national charity which would be glad to have your donation of a car. They provide housing for people who cannot afford to enter the housing market, yet have some resources to pay for shelter. They build new houses on donated land. The houses are sold, usually before the construction begins, to people who must be willing to put some sweat equity into the actual building process. They use a lot of resources from local groups and churches for a large part of the construction.
Within the last year I worked on a house in a section of new houses in Raleigh. I was surprised to meet not only the new owner working on the house, but a friend of mine who lives in the same neighborhood. I had not even known her house had been built by Habitat. I think that is the whole idea! People who are willing to put some effort into reaching their dreams of home ownership; are people whose pride makes them good homeowners and neighbors. This is a great way to support the American Dream.
Habitat for Humanity
2400 Alwin Ct
Raleigh, NC 27604
To donate vehicles use the Donation Line number at the end of this article. Habitat uses this organization for car donations.
The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation is the fourth organization I would recommend. I had an uncle who greatly benefited from his relationship to this organization. One of the most important issues for people with MS and related diseases are the issues of mobility and access. For many of the people with this disease just getting from one side of a room to another is a chore.
In my uncle’s case the organization helped him locate an outfit a van that for a period of years allowed him to get around without an aide. He could get out on his own, even though he was bound to a wheel chair. For him it meant he could go to the store one his own; run personal errands; take himself to the doctor and visit friends and relatives.
As his health declined, as it does with these diseases, MSF helped him make adjustments to his home and locate qualified aides. They helped him find an organization that remodels living spaces to make them accessible. For decades they were there with help and advice. As a result, he lived a much better quality life.
If you find you want to help this way, they accept car donations through the same organization as Habitat, and a couple of thousand other groups.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Eastern North Carolina
3101 Industrial Drive, Suite 210
Raleigh , NC 27609
Donation Line, LLC, is a national organization that accepts donations for a variety of charities, both local and national in nature.
It takes care of all the administrative work associated with non-cash gifts.
In exchange it takes 80% of the first $100.00 and 20% of the remainder over $100.00.
If you have an $800.00 dollar vehicle the example on their website shows that the charity will receive $580.00 and Donation Line will receive $220.00. Given the cost of administration, towing charges, cleaning charges, auction fees, etc., this seems like a reasonable fee. That is probably why they have been able to sign what appears to be hundreds of charities. You get the value of your donation based on the tax law at the time of the donation.
It is important that you mention the specific charity you wish your gift to go to.