Life in the South Bay Area can be financially challenging for many people. At Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, we work to provide assistance to those in need. One of the ways that we are able to offer support is through the money that we get from your vehicle donation. Please consider donating your car to our charity in San Jose.

In today’s post, we’ll look at seven misconceptions that people often have about donating their vehicle. Continue reading to learn the truth behind these misunderstandings, and contact Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County to learn how your car donation helps those in need in our community.

1. It’s smarter to sell my old car than donate it.

This misconception can be a tricky one, since sometimes there is a financial benefit to selling or trading your car and sometimes there isn’t. One good way of approaching this topic is to ask yourself whether your car will be worth more or less than $1,000. If your vehicle will be worth less than $1,000, then it is probably going to present more of a hassle for you than it’s actually worth.

If you donate your car to charity, it will likely provide much more value to the nonprofit than what you’re hoping to receive from the sale or trade. If you have a very old car, then choosing to donate it can provide a positive outcome for those individuals whom the charity helps.

2. My car needs to be working in order to be donated.

Many people actually believe this misconception to be true! The truth is that your car or vehicle does not have to be in working order in order to be donated. If the car itself were going to a family in need, then it would obviously need to be running. Since most charities will either auction the car or salvage it for parts to sell, it truly doesn’t matter whether or not the engine works.

When you donate your car, the charity will receive money from the auction of the car or the sale of its parts, which is how they help those in need. The older your car is, the more likely it is an ideal candidate for donation!

3. Only cars or trucks can be donated.

Whenever you see or hear ads about vehicle donation, you probably think of just cars or trucks. The truth is that there are a number of different vehicles that can be donated, including RVs, trailers, pop-up campers, jet skis, motorcycles, airplanes, and more. As long as your vehicle has an engine and you have the keys, you will likely be able to donate it to charity. Contact Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County today to learn about the vehicles we accept.

4. All charities are the same.

Just because you have located a charity that accepts used vehicle donations does not mean that you are good to go. Sadly, there are a number of fraudulent charities that aim to take advantage of people who are trying to do the right thing. Not only do they take advantage of peoples’ trust, but they also prohibit those who need help from receiving it. Additionally, there are other charities that do not give as much of the sales proceeds to the needy as you might like.

Make sure to confirm that you have found a legitimate nonprofit before proceeding with your vehicle donation. You can do this by going to your state’s Attorney General’s office and locating the registry verification search page. If you are looking for a charity in the state of California, then be sure to visit the office of the attorney general online.

5. I can just guess my car’s worth for tax deductions.

While you can benefit from donating your car by qualifying for a specific tax deduction, the amount will be determined by the sale price and not necessarily the perceived value. For example, if your vehicle sells for less than $500, then you can use the receipt you get when it is picked up as the necessary documentation to deduct the fair market value.

For vehicles that sell for more than $500, however, you will need specific documentation to verify the sale so that you can deduct the full sale price for tax purposes.

6. Car donations don’t really help lower-income families.

When you think about low-income families and their needs, you probably think about food, clothing, and shelter. If those were the first items that came to mind, then you might be wondering exactly how a car donation provides for their needs. Rather than being the non-solution that it looks like, a vehicle donation provides the very funds that the charity will use to procure the food, clothing, and shelter that is needed.

When you consider the amount of money that you are likely to donate to a charity and compare it with the amount of money the charity will likely get from the auction or sale of the vehicle and its parts, you can quickly see how your vehicle donation ends up being a much larger contribution.

At Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, we appreciate your willingness to donate your car to our charity. We work hard to meet the needs of those individuals and families in our community. Your donation helps us to continue providing the items that are needed. For more information or to learn how easy it is to donate your car, please contact Catholic Charities today.