Charity Auto Auction Tips for Buying and Donating Cars

Updated March 11, 2020
Car Auction

Charity cars auctions can help you get rid of that unwanted vehicle while helping out a worthy cause. They're also a way for people who are looking to buy cars at a lower price to find bargains, or sometimes even higher end specialty cars.

About Charity Cars Auctions

A great way to get a tax credit while getting rid of an old car is through charity cars auctions. Many organizations hold auctions to raise money while allowing buyers to get a tax break along with a great deal. Some charities deal with an auction house or a specific auctioneer while others hold the auction online. Car auctions are a great way to raise funds for charities while giving consumers great deals on vehicles.

Why Donate?

There are many reasons why to donate your unwanted vehicle to a charity:

  • It is usually a hassle-free process.
  • Many charities take cars that are not running, so it is cheaper to donate than to fix up your old car. The charity will be the one responsible for the repairs before selling the car.
  • Vehicles donations are tax deductible.
  • Your donation will go towards helping a worthy cause.

Charities That Accept Vehicle Donations

Many charities accept automobile donations. It is always best to call local charities to find out if they accept donations of vehicles. Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity often accept vehicles. When planning on donating your vehicle, be sure to ask the following questions:

  • Is my donation tax deductible?
  • Where does the profit from the sale go?
  • Are there any out-of-pocket costs that I need to know about?

Many charities will advertise in local papers or on the radio or television their upcoming car auction. Since the auction is a big event, it should be well publicized in your local community. You may also wish to call local charities to find out if a car auction is being planned.

Live Charity Auto Auctions

Some auctions are held in person and sell cars that are donated locally. Some larger organizations that do live charity car auctions are:

  • BLOK Charity Auto Clearance, located in Gardena, CA, auctions cars off every Saturday. Their cars tend to be in the $2,000 to $8,000 range.
  • Cars2Charities holds charity auto auctions every Wednesday at their Los Angeles location.
  • Capital Auto Auction holds regular charity auto auctions in Temple Hills, Maryland, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Manchester, New Hampshire and Washington, DC.

Find It Online

Online car auctions are becoming a popular choice for many charities. There is a site designated for the auction that both buyers and sellers must register for. There are usually forms and bank account information to fill out as well. Bidding starts at a set price, then once the bidding ends, the person with the highest bid wins the auction. Auction proceeds then go directly to the charity. An online charity auction site that sells and accepts vehicle donations is Capital Auto Auction. They allow you to register all of your necessary information and start bidding immediately. Some other sites that accept vehicle donations online include:

  • America's Cars For Kids accepts donations online or by calling 1-866-835-KIDS. They offer free pick up nationwide and all auction proceeds go directly back to the charity.
  • Cars Helping America accepts vehicle donations then sells the cars at auctions, on Ebay or back to dealerships. All sales benefit the charity 100% and gives the seller a tax deduction as well. For a list of charities that benefit from this organization, check out their listing of supported charities.

If you are a charity and are looking for a way to raise funds for your organization, Vehicle Donation Processing Center, Inc. can help you out. They also accept vehicle donations and allow the donor to choose what charity they would like their donation to support. In addition to cars, they also accept boats, RVs, planes, motorcycles and trailers.

Tips for Buying a Car at a Charity Auction

Charity auctions aren't just a great option for donors. If you're looking to buy a car, you can find some excellent bargains at an auction. Plus you get the benefit of knowing the proceeds from your purchase go to help a worthy cause. If you choose to go to a live auction in person, you can inspect the vehicle before the sale and even bring a mechanic with you to check out the car before you bid.

Buying a Car at a Charity Auction

With an online auction, you won't have that option so the sale can be more of a risk, although you can do research on the VIN number. You'll also need to have a way to get the car, as online auctions can take bids from people all over the country and the car will have to be shipped to you unless you have a way to pick it up. Also if you require financing with most auction companies, you'll be required to set up your own with a third party service as they do not offer this option. Some only accept cash, and a cash deposit is required the day of the auction to hold the car until you pay the full balance.

Donating and Buying Cars From Charity Auctions

Donating your car to a charity is a great way to get rid of that unwanted vehicle while allowing the charity to raise funds for their organization. Charity vehicle auctions can be a fun way to buy a vehicle at a great price. You can also sell that old car while knowing your donation will make a difference in someone else's life!

Charity Auto Auction Tips for Buying and Donating Cars