Practical Giving - P4
You have likely seen the billboards or heard the commercials on the radio - Donate Your Car or Boat. This method of giving has become so commonly used that organizations now specialize in the processing of such transactions. Their processes are intended to remove any inconvenience from the donor’s side. We have never donated a car or boat through one of these specialized organizations, so we cannot testify to the ease of the process. However, we have donated automobiles before and will let you know that for most charitable organizations this process can be very cumbersome. Smaller charities, those without staff assigned to processing donations outside the traditional format of cash, check or card, may have a very difficult time receiving a donated car or boat. For this reason, it is not uncommon for such a donation to be tremendously undervalued in the process. The property most often brings in much less than what it should when compared to real market value.
Donated cars and boats are certainly a kind, and generous gesture by donors and any charity with the opportunity to receive such a gift will most likely do so with enthusiasm. However, it is important for the donor to understand that their gift will not be valued to the level they anticipate. If such a gift is being made to alleviate some stress from having to sell an old car or boat, the devaluation of the vehicle is likely not a problem. But if the donor’s intention is to provide a maximized donation to a charity of interest, we would suggest selling the car or boat and donating the proceeds to the charity of choice. You will be much more likely to get a better price for your car than the charity.