Sure, North Dakota is not a heavily populated area. And that might lead you to think that it does not have any car donation programs beyond the big national car donation houses that will pick up just about anywhere. But that’s actually not so. If you want to help your fellow North Dakotans, whether they are in your immediate community or a few counties over, there are plenty of places to donate a car or other vehicle.
The thing to know about car donations is that if you can find a charity that will either use your donated vehicle, or give it to a needy person or make “material improvements” (the IRS term for significant improvements) to the vehicle, then you can usually deduct the full “fair market value” of your donation. The fair market value is roughly the Kelly Blue Book value of your car on the day you donated, or roughly whatever you could expect to get for it if you sold it yourself. To get this “fair market value” figure, it is perfectly acceptable to review the classified ads or eBay auto sales in your area and see what comparable vehicles are selling for at that time. Print out some documentation and proof of these values and keep them with your tax return records, just so you have proof of your research in case you ever get audited, or just so you don’t ever have to worry about what could happen if you were audited (how much is peace of mind worth?).
So while there is only one local full-fledged car donation program in North Dakota, what you want to find is a charity or any “religious organization” (another IRS term) that will either use your car, give it to someone in need, or make significant improvements to it before they sell it. The first two options are the most common. So try making a few calls around town to food banks, the local pet shelter, active churches or even private, non-profit schools and see if one of them might be able to use your car. Of course, for this to be a good option, your car will have to have a little bit of life left in it, so it should be in reasonably good running condition and not need any major repairs at least in the near future.
American Lung Association in North Dakota
212 N. 2nd Street, Bismarck, ND, 58501
toll-free 1- 833-866-7869 to donate
Has a car donation program that is run by the national American Lung Association.