donate your car, donate your vehicleYou’ve finally gotten that new car you’ve been dreaming about, congratulations! If you’re wondering what to do with the old hunk of junk that’s still blighting your driveway, why not donate it to charity? It’s easier than ever to donate a vehicle, and most organizations will help you through every step of the process to donate a car. Here are a few simple tips to be the best car donor ever.

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

Remember that even though you have been driving your car around for years and are ready to get rid of it, it’s still a valuable asset. Whether your vehicle is just out of style or is up on blocks and only good for parts, it’s still good for something. This means you should:

  1. Find Out Its Value. You’re entitled to a tax deduction equal to the car’s value. Check Kelly Blue Book ( to find out how much your vehicle is worth. Keep in mind that if the car is not in drivable condition and it’s also not worth much, some charities might not be willing to pay for a tow company to pick it up. Cases like this are rare, and a representative of your charity organization will be able to offer a solution if this happens to you.
  2. Fill Out Paperwork. For many people, donating a car, truck, motorcycle, or boat is one of the largest donations they will ever give. Don’t miss the opportunity to get credit for this on your taxes. Most charities will be able to provide the correct paperwork, and will help you fill it out correctly.
  3. Clean it Up. Don’t bother taking the vehicle to get detailed (unless you want to be extra nice), but do clean out the glove compartment and trunk, make sure there’s nothing under the seats, and throw away any trash or old cigarette butts.
  4. Make it Accessible. Make sure the car is easy to get to. Take it out of the garage, or at least make sure it’s easy to move. Clear off any objects that are around, under or on it that could prevent the organization from easily taking the car away.
  5. Plan Ahead. Many charity groups will come and pick your car up for you at no cost. Most charities don’t need you to be present, but if you must, arrange a pick up time that fits your schedule. Remember that the charity workers have a schedule to keep, too.
  6.  Hand Over Keys and Title. Since donating a vehicle to charity includes ceding ownership, you’ll need to have the car’s title documents. Make sure to hand over any keys you have for the vehicle, including separate keys for the trunk or gas tank. If you will not be present when the car is taken, leave the keys, title and owner’s manual under the dashboard.
  7. Remove License Plates. Depending on your state of residency, you may need to remove your license plates. Check with the charity to see if your plates should remain with you, or on the car.

Want to Donate a Car in Louisiana?

The Greater New Orleans Volunteers of America makes it easy for people in the Gulf Coast region to donate vehicles for a great cause. If you’re interested in using your car to make a difference, donate your vehicle to the VOA. For more information on how your donation helps children, the elderly, and the disabled, visit or speak to a representative at (504) 525-2179.


  • Message: My cousin has her brother’s car she would like to donate. The problem is, he committed suicide in his vehicle and it will need to be cleaned. I realize this is a strange message but the family is not in a position to deal with having to clean the vehicle. If you can help, please email me. The car has been towed and is in the New Orleans area. Thank you for your work. Renee Blanche

    Renee Blanche 22.Feb.2012 7:57 am
  • Message:I have a 1996 Ford Windstar mini-van that I’m considering donating. I want to make sure that I get maximum tax advantage for doing so. Perhaps someone can contact me to discuss. I don’t sit at the computer all day but I will check it this evening.


    Jerry Fruge, Sr. 28.Sep.2012 9:56 am

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