Direct Line magazine

How to give your car to charity

Updated on: 21 May 2020

a person hands a car key to some someone else

Every week, tens of thousands of cars break down or give up the ghost for good. The vast majority of owners will curse under their breath, call out their breakdown service or head to their local garage.

However, an increasing number of drivers see it as an opportunity to do their bit and help a charity of their choice.

Any car, whether brand-new or spluttering its last breath, can be given to a good cause. Over the last five years, doing just that has raised millions of pounds.

Cars are either recycled for a scrap value, dismantled and sold for spare parts or for models in better condition, or taken to auction where they’re prepared and put up for sale. In all cases, the profits from the generated proceeds are then passed on to the charity chosen by the car’s donor.

Giveacar claims to be the original car donation organisation. Tom Chance, a graduate who reluctantly paid to have his car scrapped, only to realise that it still had £30 worth of petrol in the tank, founded Giveacar in January 2010. To date, it has raised over £2 million for different charities.

And Giveacar isn’t the only organisation, there are plenty to choose from. So if you’re taken with the idea of making a charitable contribution with your car, here’s how…

Are more drivers giving their car away to charities?

Yes. Happily.

It seems that more and more motorists are taken with the idea of letting someone else do all the legwork to get rid of their old banger or blown-up motor. At the same time, there’s the warm glow of satisfaction that comes from knowing they’ve handed over all proceeds to a charity of their choice.

Donating a car to charity is easier than having your car serviced

Giveacar employee, Charlotte Long-Howell, says that in its first full year of trading the company passed on to charities the profits from nearly 2,100 donated cars. Last year, 4,800 cars were donated – that’s a 50% rise in vehicle donations since launching.

Are all car donation companies the same?

Yes and no.

Ultimately, they do the same thing and have the same aim, namely to make money from old cars and hand money to charity.

However, the main difference is that some will allow drivers to nominate a registered charity of their choice, whereas others work with a defined list of charities.

Is it hassle-free?


Donating a car to charity is easier than having your car serviced. Typically, a vehicle owner fills in an online form, or provides details over the phone, and before you know it the wheels are turning.

The car will be collected from your doorstep, all paperwork and behind-the-scenes arrangements are made on your behalf, and shortly afterwards an email will land in your inbox, detailing how the car was disposed of and how much money was raised for your chosen charity.

Does donating my car guarantee a minimum pay out for the charity?


There’s no minimum pay out for a charity. So a car’s value will depend on the current price of scrap metal, currently at a 10-year low, assuming it’s being recycled.

If it’s a rare car, and its components are worth more than the scrap value of the car, then it will be dismantled and the various parts are typically sold on individually. That makes more money for the charity, but if the car’s in good nick, then it can be sent to auction, which can make thousands for your charity.

Do car donation companies take commission?

Yes and no. It varies.

Give a car deducts administrative costs of 25%, and 5% VAT when the car is scrapped. If it’s auctioned, then there’s an additional fee of up to £108.

Charity Car gives 100% of the scrap value to charity, as it is part of Car Take Back, a scrap car recycling service.

Want to donate your car to charity?

Check out these organisations:

Charity Car
Give a car

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