Car Donation Foundation (CDF), d/b/a (Wheels for Wishes), is a federally registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. You receive a tax deduction for the total amount that your car sells for. See here for tax information.
Wheels For Wishes thanks you for your generosity and truly appreciates your donations. While the costs of turning donated vehicles into cash are high compared to other forms of charity fundraising, through your donations, CDF d/b/a Wheels for Wishes has donated over $21,000,000 to local Make-A-Wish Chapters since 2010.
Proceeds from donated vehicles go to CDF, which in turn provides direct cash donations to other charities such as individual Make-A-Wish Chapters. The amount that your vehicle ultimately sells for is based upon its make, year, mileage and condition. These are sales proceeds from your vehicle. CDF also has normal expenses involved in directly promoting the car donation program (advertising) and costs involved in turning your donated vehicle into cash (towing fees, auction fees, administrative costs). CDF’s cash donations to Make-A-Wish Chapters are based upon the sale proceeds of all donated vehicles during a given month, less deductions for normal monthly costs such as towing, advertising, auction fees and administrative fees. Because of the difference in sales proceeds from one vehicle to the next and because of the costs involved in turning your donated vehicle into cash, the donation that CDF makes to Make-A-Wish Chapters from the sale of your individual vehicle can be close to 69%, for a higher value vehicle, or as low as 5% for a very low valued non-running scrap vehicle. The lower percentage is a result of there being minimum fixed costs incurred to obtain, tow and sell each car. These fixed costs can sometimes be a high percentage of the selling price of a low valued scrap vehicle. CDF does receive a large number of donated scrap vehicles, which can bring the estimated average donation per vehicle down to about 30% per vehicle.
Car donation programs do have higher costs to promote and operate, compared to other forms of charity fundraising. If you are concerned about giving 100% of the value of your vehicle to a charity, the best way to do so is to sell your vehicle yourself and directly donate your sale proceeds to your favorite charity.