Do you have an old car gathering dust in your garage that you want to eliminate? Donating it to charity is the perfect solution – you’ll be doing a good deed and getting rid of a headache all at once. But what if the charity you’re donating to isn’t as altruistic as you think? In fact, what if some “car donation charities” are scams that are taking advantage of people’s good intentions? In this blog post, we will explore the world of the worst car donation charities and how to avoid falling victim to their deceitful practices. It’s time to learn the truth about these so-called “charities” and protect yourself from exploitation.
Note: This list includes social media research examples of people sharing their opinions, news articles & opinions, and alerts from Charity Navigator (Top website for Nonprofit Intelligence). We are trying to share information and present factual truths. If you think any charities should not be a part of this list, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org & we will take it down after a review. Our goal is not to hurt anyone's sentiment but to share information on what's happening so the donors won't be affected.
Here are the 7 Worst Car Donation Charities that You Should Avoid:
Cars 4 Causes is a fundraising organization claiming to be a nonprofit. Despite allocating 35% of the net proceeds to charities, it falls significantly below the acceptable threshold. Additionally, the organization has been accused of dishonest practices and even faced legal action. It is noteworthy that Glenn Beck, a controversial figure, is among their spokespersons. This information speaks volumes. You can read an in-depth review of this charity here. We recommend avoiding this car donation charity.
Update: Ventura Country District Office Judge orders Cars 4 Causes to Dissolve as a part of a $1 Million Settlement. You can read the entire news article here.
The GIV Foundation, which manages Cars for Breast Cancer and Cars for U.S. Troops, is incredibly opaque and difficult to understand. Their IRS registration as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit is named Growing in Voices, yet their online presence displays varying names, phone numbers, physical addresses, and mission statements.
In short, this nonprofit organization is in disarray. Shockingly, the Washington Secretary of State’s office records reveals that only 7% of the net proceeds make it to charity. Seven percent is an abysmal figure that leaves much to be desired.
You can read an in-depth review of this foundation here
VetMade Industries, based in Tampa, came under scrutiny for raising millions of dollars in charitable donations without fulfilling its intended purpose. The organization claimed to provide training for unemployed and disabled veterans, but tax records indicate that it kept its doors closed while collecting $6.5 million in donations.
Founder Campbell continued to raise money for the last five years, keeping $300,000 for himself and failing to assist veterans. To raise funds, VetMade Industries used a professional fundraiser named “Just Donated,” which promised to allocate 93% of the collected funds to aid veterans. However, an investigation found that Just Donated kept 90% of the funds instead. Shockingly, VetMade Industries never lost its tax-exempt charitable status during this time.
- Bogus charity raked in millions behind closed doors
- Florida Attorney General sacks bogus veterans charity
- Tampa charity for veterans goes MIA
4. Fund Raising Partners
Fund Raising Partners is another Southern California company specializing in charity car donations. Previously based in Los Alamitos and now in Redondo Beach, Fund Raising Partners processed vehicle donations worth $1.6 million for the nonprofit Durable Medical Equipment Aid Society in Tarzana in 2015.
However, according to the Attorney General’s records, the charity only received a meager 1.7% ($27,235). The charity’s executive director defended these numbers, attributing them to initial start-up costs of the new car donation program, and reassured that the numbers for 2016 would be better.
Fund Raising Partners also facilitated car donations worth $593,889 for Faith’s Hope Foundation in Fullerton, with an even lower return of just 0.5% ($3,213).
5. Michael Reese Enterprises
Michael Reese Enterprises, based in Costa Mesa, is a company that deals with processing a high volume of low-value vehicles. The company processed car donations valued at $6 million for a nonprofit organization named Growing in Voices in Irvine. Shockingly, the charity received only $571,165, a mere 9.5% of the total amount collected.
This means Michael Reese Enterprises took home the lion’s share of the proceeds. These figures are incredibly disappointing, especially considering donors intended to contribute towards a noble cause.
6. Kars 4 Kids
Kars 4 Kids is a fundraising arm of Joy for Our Youth. Kars4Kids, a charity organization primarily catering to the Jewish community, has come under fire for its deceptive practices. It passes along donations to a religious organization called Oorah, Inc. Their day camps aim to convert children to their religion. Kars 4 Kids has been fined twice by the State of Washington and the State of Oregon for misleading practices and has also been fined $40,000 by the State of Pennsylvania for failing to disclose their religious affiliations.
In addition, the organization suffered a loss of $5 million in botched real estate investments. According to the IRS and several state Attorney Generals, offering donors a voucher for a free vacation is one of the most prominent indications of an illegitimate car donation organization.
The charity raised $3 million in Minnesota between 2012 and 2014 from car donations alone. However, less than one percent of that amount, i.e., less than $12,000, was allocated toward Minnesota kids.
According to CharityWatch President, Daniel Borochoff, Kars4Kids is vague about how donated cars will benefit kids in most states.
The charity’s website simply urges visitors to “take action” to help kids without providing clear information about how. Additionally, CharityWatch believes that Kars4Kids’ ads deceive potential donors by not mentioning that the donated cars will benefit a Jewish organization and kids of the Jewish faith. Kars4Kids also promotes an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle through its youth programs, compounding the deception.
Kars4Kids has received low-to-failing ratings from the two top charity watchdog and rating groups, Charity Navigator and Charity Watch, for disguising the purpose of donations and its expensive, never-ending 1-877-Kars4Kids commercials urging viewers to donate their cars.
Car Donation Foundation, one of the largest car donation charities in the nation, has faced compliance issues due to questionable payments. William Bigley and Randy Heiligman established and operated the organization, which was found to be allocated only 20% of its proceeds from selling or junking donated cars to charity. The remaining 80% went to fundraising and overhead costs. Shockingly, the founders and managers of the charity were paid $36 million dollars by two for-profit corporations.
The Car Donation Foundation advertised through various media outlets under “Wheels for Wishes” and in conjunction with Make-A-Wish to raise funds. However, they failed to disclose that the charity would receive donated vehicles instead of Make-A-Wish, violating state law. These findings have raised questions about the legitimacy of the Car Donation Foundation and its fundraising practices.
Tips to avoid car donation charity scams:-
- Research the charity: Before donating your car, research the organization and ensure it’s a legitimate, registered nonprofit. Check their website, read reviews, and look for information about their mission, programs, and financial reports.
- Check the charity’s tax status: Verify that the organization can receive tax-deductible contributions by searching for their status on the IRS’s website.
- Understand the tax implications: Donating your car can have tax benefits, but it’s important to understand the process and what documentation you’ll need to claim a deduction. Consult with a tax professional or the IRS for guidance.
- Avoid high-pressure tactics: Avoid unsolicited calls, emails, or letters requesting donations. Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to make you feel obligated to donate. Take your time, and don’t feel rushed to make a decision.
- Ask for documentation: Request a receipt or letter of acknowledgment from the charity for your donation. This documentation will be necessary to claim a tax deduction.
- Be cautious of free towing offers: Some charities may offer free towing as an incentive to donate your car, but be cautious of those who require you to pay for towing upfront or those who offer to tow outside your local area.
- When it comes to car donation scams, one of the first things to watch out for is being approached by the charity instead of you approaching them. While some legitimate organizations may contact you after seeing your car sale ad, it’s still worth being cautious.
- A good way to vet a charity is by checking with a watchdog organization like CharityWatch. They explain how efficiently charities use their donations to fund programs and expose nonprofit abuses. By researching beforehand, you can avoid falling for a car donation charity scam.
After researching and exposing some of the worst car donation charities, it’s clear that not all organizations operate with the best interests of their intended beneficiaries in mind. These unscrupulous organizations take advantage of people’s goodwill, preying on the desire to help those in need. However, this does not mean that you should avoid donating your car altogether. Many reputable charities genuinely use car donations to make a difference in the lives of those in need.
As a responsible donor, it’s essential to research, ask questions, and vet the organizations you’re considering. Don’t be afraid to ask how much of your donation goes directly to charity, where the money goes, and how it’s being used. With careful consideration and research, you can ensure that your car donation goes to a reputable charity that makes a meaningful impact. Remember, it’s not about how much you give but how much good you do with what you give.