How to Write a Letter to a Charity for a Car Donation

by Erica Dreisbach
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If you have an old but functional vehicle that you'd like to trade in rather than fix up, consider donating it to a worthy charity that can resell it at auction. You can donate your car, truck, van, bus, boat or motorcycle in exchange for a tax deduction and do a good deed for your community while also doing a good deed for your wallet at tax time. Your charity car donation should be accompanied by a letter from you that outlines the condition of the car, its estimated worth and your contact information. Most importantly, your letter should also include a request for a statement of sale to include with your tax deductions at tax time.

Step 1

Select the charity you'd like to donate to. Habitat for Humanity, the Arthritis Foundation, the March of Dimes, Feed the Children, the Breast Cancer Society and many local NPR stations all have car donation programs. Follow up by researching the charity and getting the address and (if possible) contact information of the donation officer.

Step 2

Visit a mechanic or appraiser to get the selling price of the car for your letter. Be aware that your car may actually sell for less at auction, but the estimate will give you and the charity a good price to work from as you prepare your taxes and as the charity prepares the care for sale.

Step 3

Lay out your letter like a standard business letter, with your name and address in the upper right, the date a few lines below on the left, and the charity name and address below that. Include a standard greeting such as "Dear [donation officer]" or "To Whom It May Concern."

Step 4

State that you're donating your vehicle to the charity in the first paragraph of your letter. Include relevant information like the make, model and license plate state and VIN number. Also state any mechanical problems the car has had, as well as its general wear and tear so that the charity will be able to assess its reliability.

Step 5

Include the estimated fair-market value of the car and request a statement of sale for your records once the charity actually sells the car. The statement of sale must include: the gross selling price of the vehicle (if sold for greater than $500); year, make, model and VIN information; a statement that the vehicle was sold between two unrelated parties; and a statement that you received no goods or services in exchange for your donation.

Step 6

Include a standard closing like "Sincerely," followed by your name and signature.

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