? How Auto Donations Fund the National Children’s Cancer Society
Many charities, including the National Children’s Cancer Society, use third-party agents who assist them in procuring and processing cars, trucks, RVs, motorcycles and trailers for donation. Though this actually accounts for a very small part of their over $80 million (as of 2006) budget of the National Children’s Cancer Society and its subsidiary programs, car donation is perhaps one of the most prominent types of advertising for donations that most people see.
Of course, if your child or a child you know has cancer, there is plenty that the National Children’s Cancer Society does that you can take advantage of. It is their mission to take care of children with cancer and their families. It is estimated that over 12,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with cancer of some type each year.
The National Children’s Cancer Society assists people with financial aid and prescription medication aid. In addition to families that began treating their child’s cancer with adequate finances, the National Children’s Cancer Society also seeks out families who’ve lost their financial security as a result of a medical bills.
The National Children’s Cancer Society, like many other charities with a large donation base, does not accept vehicle donations directly. Though it does accept donations of cash, IRA funds, membership and planned donations. However, non-cash items such as furniture or vehicles are donated through third-party agents.
These agents are typically for-profit companies that specialize in towing and delivery of many different types of vehicles. It is also true that when such companies handle a vehicle for a legitimate charity (such as the National Children’s Cancer Society), there are now limits on how much they can charge for overhead costs without having to file more complicated bookkeeping than is usually profitable.
It is also true that such companies often opt for selling your vehicle at a wholesale auto auction. In fact, in the end, less than $30 of a car you could have sold yourself for $1,000 may be received by a charity such as National Children’s Cancer Society. Moreover, when you donate the vehicle to a charity that doesn’t use the vehicle directly, you won’t be able to claim nearly as much of a tax deduction.
Of course, you can always sell your car on the open market yourself and then give the proceeds to the charity as a cash donation. The National Children’s Cancer Society is set up to handle cash donations on the phone, by mail or online. Donations of more complicated monies such as stocks or endowment funds will probably have to wait ’til business hours, but they make donation of money and money-like objects easy.
Handling cars is an expensive proposition. Charities that handle vehicles that no longer run, such as the National Children’s Cancer Society, either have to hire out to a handling service or employ a garage and skilled mechanics.
On the other hand, charities that give cars directly and give them to needy folks to drive, usually only take running cars that the owners can deliver themselves. Of course, this excludes a section of the donating population that the National Children’s Cancer Society makes good use of. Direct-use charities require the donation of a car that’s in better running condition than the majority of cars accepted by charities such as the National Children’s Cancer Society.
Of course, direct donations are also as much as 10 times more valuable in terms of a tax deduction. Regardless of what a third-party agent might say about car donation deduction rates, the National Children’s Cancer Society and other non-profit organizations (NPOs) must be very careful about leading consumers to think that their junker car towed out of the front lawn is going to take thousands off their tax bill.
Regardless of the end use, all sorts of charities can use running vehicles, weather they give them away for use or sell them to the highest bidder. The National Children’s Cancer Society is one of many that accepts any type of car, though it lets third-party agents conduct most of the advertising as well as all of the actual sales.
Essentially, the money charities such as the National Children’s Cancer Society earn from this activity is tantamount to renting out their non-profit status as a type of sponsorship that the companies pay a percentage of.
The National Children’s Cancer Society and other nation-wide charities hope that changes in tax laws since 2005 will result in a higher percentage of more valuable cars being donated.
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