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Donating a Vehicle to Charity is a Good Thing

You’ve maybe heard of people donating a vehicle to charity, but many people who might consider this gesture are still left with questions about the logistics of doing so. I know this, because I used to be one of these people until an opportunity presented itself and I dug in to see how I could make this happen.

A few years ago, my husband and I owned a car that we loved. It was our first “new” car purchase together, and it was dependable. It was in great condition, and we had it paid off. Unfortunately, we needed something bigger to accommodate our growing family, and we already had another vehicle. Keeping three vehicles wasn’t practical, so we decided to sell our beloved car or trade it in. Unfortunately, we knew the car was worth more on paper (such as Blue Book) and certainly worth more to a person. We weren’t interested in selling it privately and all that entailed. We discussed what it would take to donate the car to charity, but neither of us really knew much about it. I volunteered to check into it and see where that led us.donating a vehicle to charity in Minnesota, TireZoo

Not long after this, I read something in our church bulletin about donating a vehicle to someone in need. As it turns out, our local Alliance for Victims of Domestic Violence had a young family in need of a car to get to work and take kids to daycare. I made a call inquiring about donating our car and was met with enthusiasm, encouragement, and a helping hand to make it happen. A local agency was interested in helping facilitate the donation. I needed to provide an estimated value of the vehicle as provided by online services like Blue Book. While I don’t think they required me to, I volunteered to have the oil checked, tires checked, and a tune up. I also filled the gas tank as a good gesture, and then let the agency know it was ready. While other vehicle donation programs might operate slightly different, all I needed to do was meet the person at the DMV to sign over the Title Card/Vehicle Registration from my name to hers. That’s all there was to it. I gave up the keys, and received a donation letter for tax purposes in the mail from the facilitating agency. I made sure to discuss the donation and documents with our tax preparer at our next visit.

I’m so glad I was able to donate our car to someone who could use it. The process was simple, and it placed much more practical value on our vehicle than a trade-in scenario would have. I hope this holiday season, or anytime throughout the year that more people will consider this option given the right circumstances. For more information on donating a vehicle in Minnesota, contact your favorite local charity to see if they have an established program and policy. Otherwise, Goodwill of Minnesota has a car donation program, as does Make-A-Wish Minnesota Chapter and Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota.