Tips for Avoiding Scams When Donating a Car or other VehicleIf you’re looking to donate a car or other vehicle, be aware that there are many scams out there! In this day and age it’s hard to know who to trust when it comes to charity. Many online and even door-to-door schemes will promise you extravagant rewards and tell amazing stories about the people they help but without a sure-fire plan for avoiding cons, you could very well end up as a victim of foul play. In order to protect your interests, you’ve got to become an informed donor. Most donors do not have the opportunity to become experienced at donating cars simply because it’s usually a one-time transaction, so don’t let inexperience lead you into the hands of a phony charity.

Tips for Avoiding Scams When Donating a Car or other Vehicle:

When donating a car or other vehicle such as a truck, motorcycle, RV or boat, the most important thing to know is that you should never make your donation through a third party. Anyone can claim to be collecting vehicles on behalf of a reputable organization and may even go so far as to offer rewards, tax vouchers or other benefits for your donation. Reputable charities do not send representatives on foot to canvass neighborhoods for unwanted vehicles. The process of donating securely is quite simple but, it is not standard practice to utilize door-to-door solicitors!

Before donating anything at all, you should always be prepared to do some basic research on your chosen organization. Legitimate charities have web sites with lots of evidence of the work they do. You should be able to tell within a few minutes which populations are receiving the benefits of the organization, which programs they offer, where their office is located, and some easily-verifiable history of their accomplishments. Remember, a real charity seeks to promote their achievements, not hide them. Beware of an organization that isn’t boasting about their success!

Another red flag to look for is how easy or difficult it is to find out what percentage of donations collected actually goes directly to people in need. The law does not stipulate just how much of amounts collected must be given to the organization’s recipients. That means that a group who call themselves a charity can actually give as little as 1% of their donations to people in need of assistance. In order to know for certain that your gift reaches the people who need it, remember that a legitimate and reputable charity will want to advertise their good work. You should be able to discern quite easily what percentage of donations reaches their targeted populations. Also keep in mind that this information should appear in a public format and not just something their representative said or other word-of-mouth claim.

Finally, any organization accepting donations and claiming to provide charitable assistance to people in need should be officially recognized by the IRS as a 501 (c) (3) charity. Again, charities that are reputable and secure will want to advertise this information in order to assure newcomers that their work is honest. You should not have to search very hard in order to find this verification and it should be presented in a public format. Look for charities that operate locally so that you can follow up on their activities and campaigns more easily. Most cities and smaller rural areas have at least a few good charities from which to choose. If you know what to look for and how to spot any suspicious claims or lack of information, you should be able to find an organization to whom you can donate your car or other vehicle securely.

Donating a Car or Other Vehicle in the New Orleans Area:

If you live in the New Orleans area and would like to donate your car or vehicle, look no further than Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans. Donating a car can be handled in a couple of easy steps and your donation will be fully tax deductible, with the receipt being mailed within 24 hours. Whether the car or vehicle still runs or not, pickup is free of charge. Volunteers of America is also an Official IRS 501 (c) (3) Charity that gives an average of .88 cents of every dollar collected to those in need, so you never need to worry about scams. All you need is the keys and title of ownership to make your secure donation today. Visit or call (504) 525-2179.

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