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Published: Jul 10, 2023 18 min read

Do you have an old classic sitting in the garage that you've meant to restore but never found the time? Or perhaps you hate the hassle of selling a used car. You don't want to spend your free time entertaining countless tire kickers before getting what might be a lowball offer. Whatever the reason, donating your car is a great way to reclaim your garage while also giving to charity.

Your old car may be worth a considerable amount of money. So choosing the right cause to donate it to is pretty important. You want to make sure your money is doing some actual good before donating. That’s why choosing a reputable charity — one that’s been fully vetted — is so important. Just as important is to choose a cause that aligns with your values. But we need to give you fair warning: car donation scams are not uncommon. Today, we’ll point you in the direction of five legitimate charitable organizations that accept car donations in addition to cash.

Our list of the best car donation charities of 2023 will give you options and allow you to find an organization whose work is important to you.

Our Top Picks for Best Car Donation Charities

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Our Reviews for Best Car Donation Charities

Why we chose it: With its longstanding reputation of helping children and their families struggling with critical illnesses worldwide, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is a cause that most of us can easily get behind.

  • Helps sick children achieve their dreams
  • High transparency ratings
  • Widespread partnerships that benefit local families
  • Not all chapters accept vehicle donations

Make-A-Wish America and Make-A-Wish International have granted wishes to sick kids since 1980 and 1993, respectively. Collectively, the organization has granted wishes for more than 520,000 children across the globe. Unfortunately, not all locations have a car donation program, so check your local chapter finder to learn more.

Your donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation will benefit your local chapter, meaning it will go toward helping kids directly in your community. The foundation is known for its financial transparency and accountability, and the organization ensures the majority of the funds raised go directly toward granting wishes, with a minimal portion allocated to administrative costs.

Overall, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has a noble goal. By donating your car, you can be confident your contribution will be utilized efficiently and effectively in your community. Make-A-Wish's commitment to its mission and excellent reviews make this foundation a top choice for the best car donation charities.

Tax-deductible Donation process Vehicles accepted
Yes - Find your local Make-A-Wish chapter
- Follow the link to your chapter site
- Begin your donation process by following their donation instructions
- Cars
- Trailers
- Motorhome
- Motorcycles
- RVs
- Boats
- Vehicles accepted vary by location, so check with your local chapter

Why we chose it: Everyone in the community benefits when more residents have affordable housing. With its stellar reputation and commitment to local communities, Habitat for Humanity is the best choice if you're looking to see the impact of your car donation firsthand.

  • Longstanding reputation and high ratings
  • Net donation proceeds go to local communities
  • Donation locations nationwide
  • Charity overhead eats into net proceeds

Habitat for Humanity works in more than 70 countries worldwide and has helped more than 39 million people improve their living conditions. Its Cars for Homes program has been going since 2005. It has already accepted 120,000 vehicles to resell or recycle to raise money to build and repair affordable housing in under-served communities.

Habitat for Humanity works with homeowners and volunteers to build homes, fostering community involvement and creating sustainable solutions. Studies have shown that more residents with stable and secure housing has a positive impact on childhood development, overall health and feelings of safety within the community.

Habitat for Humanity chapters all over the world are highly rated, so you can feel confident in making a contribution to your local chapter. Better yet, you can be assured that your donation will be used to do good close to home. Though some overhead expenses eat into the net proceeds of donations, the charity is by no means wasteful.

Tax-deductible Donation process Vehicles accepted
Yes - Call 877-277-4344 or go to the donation website to fill out car and donor information
- Schedule a free pickup
- Cars
- Trucks
- Motorcycles
- RVs
- Boats
- Snowmobiles
- Farm equipment
- Construction equipment

Why we chose it: Ronald McDonald House was a strong contender for the Best Overall charity for car donations. But we also noted that Ronald McDonald House Charities takes extra care in helping donors maximize their tax deduction for gifting their car to a charitable cause.

  • Maximizes car value and deductions
  • Free pickup anywhere in the U.S.
  • Accepts many different types of vehicles
  • Some chapters don't match the high rating of the overall charity

Since 1974, Ronald McDonald House Charities has dedicated itself to helping families whose children undergo medical treatment. When children need specialized treatment, families must often travel long distances to find doctors with expertise in those medical fields. Adding out-of-town housing to healthcare costs can devastate a family's finances. That's where Ronald McDonald Charities steps in.

Ronald McDonald House Charities provides families with accommodations, meals and even emotional support during a very difficult time. This not only helps ease some of the financial strains that come with serious medical illness, but it also helps comfort and heal the hearts and minds of families in crisis.

Ronald McDonald House Charities distinguishes itself by its car sales and marketing strategy. The organization works with various sellers and local auctions to maximize your car's value after your donation. If they sell your vehicle for less than $500, your deduction will be $500 or the fair market value — whichever is less. However, if your car sells for more than $500, you get to claim more on your taxes.

Overall, Ronald McDonald House Charities is one of the highest-rated charities on this list, based on the unique help it provides, its long history of ethical operation and its concern for maximizing tax deductions for donors.

Tax-deductible Donation process Vehicles accepted
Yes - Call 855-CarsHelp (227-7435) or go to the donation website
- Fill out the online vehicle donation form
- Schedule a free pickup
- Cars
- Trucks
- Trailers
- Boats
- Motorcycles
- Jet skies
- RVs
- Campers
- Off-road vehicles
- Planes
- Farm machinery and heavy equipment
- Most any type of motorized vehicle

Why we chose it: With more than 140 years of compassionate service, the American Red Cross is one of America's oldest and most reputable charities.

  • One of America's most well-known charities
  • Cars are accepted even if they're not driveable
  • Your donation supports a multitude of helpful services worldwide
  • The effects of charitable contributions are not as localized as other organizations

The American Red Cross is the only charitable institution on this list founded in the 1800s. Teams of volunteer nurses helped American military servicemen, fought yellow fever outbreaks and stood behind the military during the Spanish-American War. In the early 1900s, the federal government formalized the American Red Cross's place in wartime and peacetime through an official Congressional charter.

Since its early days, the Red Cross has become synonymous with disaster relief, support for military families and the alleviation of suffering. In 2021, the American Red Cross provided over 3.7 million meals, 1.5 million shelters, collected 4.6 million blood donations and more.

Pair this global assistance with its longstanding history of service, high ratings and the bonus that your car doesn't even need to be driveable to be donated, and that's exactly why the American Red Cross is the best reputable charity to donate your car to. However, keep in mind that as an international organization, your donation won't have as much direct impact on your local community as other charities in this list.

Tax-deductible Donation process Vehicles accepted
Yes - Fill out the online donation form or call 1-855-92 RC CAR (855-927-2227)
- Schedule a time for a Red Cross partner to pick up your car
- Wait for your tax receipt
- Cars
- Trucks
- Vans
- SUVs
- Boats
- Motorcycles
- RVs
- Snowmobiles
- Jet skis
- Heavy equipment
- Tractors and other farm equipment
- Other vehicles on a case-by-case basis

Why we chose it: Vehicles for Veterans doesn't provide just a handful of services to veterans, but it actually raises money to donate to an array of veteran-centered charities.

  • Assistance with paperwork
  • Benefits a wide range of veteran services
  • Donations accepted across the country
  • No online option to schedule your vehicle pickup

Most charities raise money to pay for the services they provide. However, when it comes to Vehicles for Veterans, your car donation doesn't go to just one service but many. Vehicles for Veterans' mission is to fund already-established veteran service charities by passing the money raised by your car donation to charities such as the following:

  • The United Service Organizations (USO)
  • Operation Homefront
  • K9s for Warriors
  • Operation Gratitude
  • Semper Fi Fund
  • Veterans Airlift Command
  • Military Spouse Advocacy Network

The U.S. has over 16 million veterans, too many of whom struggle with homelessness, disabilities and other health issues. Vehicles for Veterans makes it easy for you to contribute your vehicle toward helping these service members by offering pickup, tax deductions and even helping with any required paperwork.

If your goal is to support those who served our country, the best charity to donate your car to is Vehicles for Veterans.

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Other Companies We Considered

There are innumerable worthy charities out there. An exhaustive list is impossible, but here are three more organizations that may be worth your attention. As always, make sure your chosen charity's mission is one you support before donating.

Charity Motors

Charity Motors donates the proceeds from your vehicle to a charity or church of your choice. It's an interesting option if you want to donate your car but the charity you want to contribute to doesn't have a vehicle donation program.

Why it didn't make the cut: Ultimately, mixed ratings prevent it from being one of the best car donation charities.

Cars for CARE

Cars for CARE is a program that allows you to donate your vehicle to support the work of Care.org in fighting poverty around the world. The donation process involves a straightforward donation form and a tow truck picking up your car.

Why it didn't make the cut: Cars for CARE wasn't included due to its declining reputation. Ratings agencies have noted that administration expenses have risen, leaving less money to contribute to its mission.

Boy Scouts of America

Donating a car to the Boy Scouts of America enables you to support the mission of the local scout council of your choice. The organization is responsible for teaching kids the wonders and value of nature and community service.

Why it didn't make the cut: The Boy Scouts of America National Council filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020. Though the charity is still operational and is working to restructure its finances, it may not yet be the best place to donate a car.

Car Donations Charities Guide

If you're unsure about how to decide on the best car donation charity or whether donating your car is the right choice for you, here are a few things to consider.

Main things to know before choosing the best car donation charity

Donating your car is a big decision. Before you choose an organization to receive your donated car, be sure to research the charity's mission and values. You want your donation to be put to good use.

It's also important to research the charity's financial information and reputation so you can be sure they'll use your donation responsibly. Read online reviews, ratings and comments from other donors to give you an idea as to whether the organization has a history of using donations effectively.

Before committing to a donation, check the charity's policies regarding car donations. These policies should be easy to understand, and you should know exactly what will happen to your donated vehicle.

Finally, check to see whether the organization is registered with the IRS and is eligible to receive vehicle donations.

How much is the average tax deduction for a car donation to charity?

Tax deductions for vehicle donations vary based on the car's fair market value, what the charity does with your car and your tax bracket. For the most accurate information, it's best to refer to the IRS guidance for vehicle donations or ask your accountant exactly what amount your deduction will be.

What is the process for donating a car to charity?

The car donation process can vary based on your state and which charity receives your vehicle, but the basic guidelines for car donation are the same. Start by doing your research and selecting a charity to receive your donated vehicle. Once you've chosen an organization, contact the charity and ask about its car donation program. The charity may have specific guidelines or requirements in order to accept car donations.

You'll need to provide the charity with information about the car, including the make, model, year and mileage. The organization might also ask for the car's VIN number and any damage or repair history, such as a CARFAX report. Assuming they can accept your donation, you'll need to transfer ownership of the vehicle and work with the charity to decide how it will take possession of the car.

Once the title is transferred into the charity's name, the organization should provide you with a receipt or other documentation to use when filing your taxes.

What are the requirements of a car donation charity?

In order to receive vehicles and other donations, charities and nonprofit organizations must meet certain criteria. The charity must be a qualified 501(c)(3) organization, meaning it is recognized as a tax-exempt organization by the IRS.

Without the 501(c)(3) distinction, an organization cannot receive donations from individuals. If the donation is worth more than $500, the charity must provide a written acknowledgment that includes its name, the date of the donation and a description of the car. Additionally, the organization must disclose any relationships or transactions between itself and any parties related to the transaction, such as board members or key employees.

Charities and nonprofits must also adhere to any state laws regarding vehicle donations in the state in which the charity operates.

How can you tell if a car donation charity is legitimate?

There are many ways to tell if a charity accepting car donations is legitimate. One of the quickest ways is to look up the organization's 501(c)(3) status. Any organizations accepting donations from individuals must be registered as a 501(c)(3) with the IRS. One exception to this is a 501(c)(6) organization. These charities can accept donations from businesses, which would make the business eligible for a tax deduction.

You can also use platforms like Charity Navigator or GuideStar to check on the organization's effectiveness and financial health. Legitimate charities are more likely to have a higher impact and be financially stable.

Speaking to volunteers or staff members at the charity will also help you determine if the donation will be legitimate. Genuine charities should be willing to answer your questions with direct, honest feedback. Any conversations that make you feel pressured into donating your car should be a warning to you that the organization might not be legitimate.

Car Donation Charities FAQs

Can I donate a resold car?

Yes, you can donate a resold car to a charitable organization or a nonprofit that accepts vehicle donations. Ensure you have clear ownership of the car first, as the vehicle title must be in your name before you can donate it to a charity. Additionally, some organizations may restrict the types of cars they accept, so be sure to do your research.

How can you avoid car donation charity scams?

It's essential to do your research in order to avoid charity scams. Visit the organization's website and read about its mission and values. Check the charity's rating and accreditation for legitimacy by inquiring with trusted third-party review organizations. Legitimate charities should also have a transparent donation policy, meaning you'll be told exactly how your donation will be used. Ask for a receipt of the donation for your records. Finally, be wary of high-pressure tactics and walk away from any potential donation that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Where does my donated car go?

This depends on the organization that receives your car. Some common examples include auctions, recycling or salvage yards, direct use by the charity and reselling.

How much can I deduct from my car donation?


The amount of money you can deduct from your taxes for a car donation depends on many factors, such as the car's fair market value and how the charity uses the car. If the charity uses your car for its own programs or services, you can generally deduct the car's fair market value at the time of the donation. You can determine the fair market value by using a vehicle valuation guide like Kelley Blue Book or NADA.

If the organization sells your donated car, you'll generally deduct your car's fair market value. However, various nuances can come into play, so for a full understanding of deducting your car donation, it's best to consult the IRS's guide for car donation.

How We Found the Best Car Donation Charities

Our list of the best car donation charities was compiled by considering the following criteria:

  • Reviews: Many impartial organizations regularly review charities based on financial stability, impact, administrative exemptions, effectiveness and other metrics that measure the value and legitimacy of a charitable organization.
  • Mission: All charitable missions are noble, and the values of each are as unique as those they serve. However, over time the missions of some charities have endured due to the broad value they've brought to humanity.
  • History: When donating to a charity, it's important they have a history of successful service.
  • Convenience: Each charity on this list makes it as easy as possible for you to donate your car without incurring any expense.

Summary of the Best Car Donation Charities of 2023