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From the donation process to the ten things more annoying than Kars4Kids.
Understand our Jingle, our work, criticism and get the ultimate answer to: “Is Kars4Kids a good charity?”
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Kars4Kids is a nationally recognized Jewish 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves the community through a variety of education, youth development, family outreach, and faith-based programs. The charity’s donation programs raise funds for a large number of year-round programs offered to children and their families through a sister charity, Oorah.
You’ve heard the number hundreds of times: 1877 Kars4Kids. But what is the actual phone number? Is it 1-877 Kars4Kids or 1-877 Karsforkids? As if turns out, whether you dial 1-877 kars4Kids (527-7454) or 1877 karsforkids, you’ll reach our same knowledgeable customer service representatives. So dial it however you like and rest assured you’ll reach us, no matter how you do it.
Kars4Kids accepts donations of cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles, and all types of vehicles. The charity also accepts donations of real estate, gift cards, cash, in kind donations, and matching donations. If you have something else to donate, it is suggested that you call Kars4Kids at 1-877-527-7454 to discuss the possibility of donating an item other than those listed here.
If you’re an antique car collector, you know how difficult it is to resist buying a particularly nice model. But it’s easy to run out of space to store the cars, and antique cars can be expensive to maintain. Donating an antique car to Kars4Kids ensures your donation not only earns you a tax deduction, but that the proceeds benefit education and mentoring programs for children. If you send in a photo of your donated antique car, we will also enter it in our online garage display for everyone to admire.
Some years after we started our car donation program, we added a real estate donation program, Kars4Kids Real Estate. There are two major reasons one might donate a home or parcel of land to charity. Properties can be difficult to sell and may become too costly for an owner to repair or maintain. That can turn the property into a liability and a headache for the owner. Secondly, property donation can mean saving money in taxes, since donation means one is allowed to deduct taxes for the actual fair market appraisal value of the property.
The Kars4Kids donation process is fast and easy. The charity will pick up and tow your car or boat for free, even if it is not in useable condition. In the case of real estate, Kars4Kids assumes and handles all responsibility for the property, including relevant legal and paperwork for the entire process. Choosing Kars4Kids over other charities ensures that the proceeds from your donation, however big or small, will go to fund educational programs for children.
One Kars4Kids customer sales representative took the time to go on record with some thoughts on car donation. The thrust of those thoughts: people get attached to their cars, spending so much time for them, so it’s sometimes an emotional process to say goodbye. It helps when you know the proceeds of your old friend will go to fund educational programming for children. It’s also important to invest money and time in maintaining your car, just as you would anything in your life that you care about.
It’s the million dollar question … how much will the value of my tax deduction be? Since vehicles sold through Kars4Kids generally fund our work, the amount you can deduct is the fair market value of the car. If we sell the car for up to $500, you can deduct the fair market value of the car, up to $500. If we sell it for more than $500, the amount you can deduct on your taxes is the amount for which the vehicle is sold.
Donate your car or boat by completing the two-minute online form on the Kars4Kids website, or call 1-877-527-7454 to complete the process by phone. The donor chooses what to donate: car, boat, RV, motorcycle, or other type of vehicle. Next, the donor notes what kind of car it is, the make, year, and model. List the mileage, describe how it runs, and let us know whether or not you have the title.
Our customer service representatives will call you on the same day to arrange a convenient time for pickup. The car is then towed away, free of charge. Donations are tax deductible, so a donation to Kars4Kids means saving money on taxes. If your car sells for more than $500, the donor receipt is for the sale price. Otherwise, the donor can claim the fair market value of the car, for up to $500.
Through donations to Kars4Kids, the organization has raised $100 million to help kids, providing mentorship, educational support, and nurturing year-round environments like afterschool groups and summer camps. Through the proceeds of donations from all over North America, Kars4Kids has had an impact on more than 32,000 children and their families, networking with over 180 individual schools, and with more than 30 afterschool program locations, two summer camps, and a state-of-the-art mentoring program that matches mentors and mentees through the use of cutting edge technology.
Kars4Kids, as one of the largest car donation charities, accepts donations from all over the United States and from select locations in Canada, as well. The charity is able to provide service to all 50 states and in most parts of North America. We offer comprehensive service in our effort to raise money for our programs for children.
Our cutting-edge agent portal software makes it easy for towing and resale professionals to integrate with our database to manage their accounts. After a simple registration process, users can facilitate work orders using our patented management system. With this innovative technology, professionals in our network can update and review pending and completed vehicle assignments, schedule payments, print forms, and update their accounts. Our growing network of over 1,000 agents say the system has reduced paperwork, and the loss of assignments due to human error.
Our car donation program began with a brainstorming session in 1994. Up to that point, we relied on private donations and other traditional fundraising methods to support our education and mentoring programs. But our charity was growing and we needed to find a steady, more reliable source of funding. We had the idea of providing a public service that would feed steady revenues directly to our charity programs. We landed on the idea of a car donation program. We decided to process all donations in house, in order to ensure that the full proceeds of each donation would go straight to our charity programs. Kars4Kids was founded one year later, in 1995.
Today, more than 450,000 cars have been donated, and 240,000 cars recycled, with 1,000 towing companies in our growing network.
At Kars4Kids, our culture, whether with our donors, in our office, or among the children in our programs, is one of helping and kindness. Our customer service representatives process donations, but can also handle any questions that arise. We listen to all comments and complaints and do what we can to assist donors so that the process of donation is fast, easy, and as pleasant as possible.
The Kars4Kids jingle was created by a small group of volunteers. They wrote the lyrics, set it to music, and recorded the jingle in house to keep production costs low. Today, the jingle is aired on 50 radio stations in 14 major US markets (not to mention television channels, too) and is estimated to reach some 50 million listeners daily. Even those who dislike the jingle, agree that it is unforgettable, which makes for good branding. When it’s time for someone to donate a car, the Kars4Kids jingle, with the charity’s phone number, readily comes to mind.
The Kars4Kids jingle has been through many a remix, including this 2011 version performed by Johny Rosch and 9-year-old Ethan Davis:
But the original jingle was first aired in 1999 on a local New York radio station. It was the iconic 1999 original version of the jingle that propelled Kars4Kids from a small local charity to large national organization impacting on the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and their families.
One of the things our readers love to hate is the Kars4Kids jingle. In our defense there are many things more annoying than the jingle, for instance chalk on a blackboard or root canals. In fact, we believe that the next time you warm up your keyboard to send us a hateful comment about our jingle, you stop to consider at least ten things more annoying to you than our jingle—dial-up internet, colonoscopies, the emergency broadcast system test, the special dial tone of a fax machine—you get the picture— and heave a sigh of gratitude that the jingle is really not that bad and kind of awesome branding if you think about it: when it comes time to donate your car, you know exactly what number to call.
Don Thompson, director of operations at Commissionaires Hamilton, a nonprofit security company based in Ontario, Canada, was looking to offload Betsy, the last of a fleet of vehicles that had served the organization for nearly a decade, he knew exactly whom to call. Why did he choose Kars4Kids
“I became a victim of your radio jingle,” he admitted. “Once I heard it and did some research, it became the obvious choice.”
The donation was one nonprofit’s way of broadening its mission through the support of another community-minded charity. “As our vehicle had reached the end of its usable lifespan, we wanted to dispose of it in a manner that would be earth friendly and positive,” said Thompson. “We are constantly looking for opportunities to provide the same type of support to communities that we have engaged in for over 80 years.”
After hearing the Kars4Kids commercial so many times, Steve Scott said the phone number of the organization was ingrained in his head so that he knew exactly whom to call. Scott blogged about the power of the jingle, how even though it felt like an annoying ear worm, it represented some excellent branding, making the phone number easy for anyone to remember. The moral of the story is that an annoying jingle can be the best possible marketing tool.
Kars4Kids, with some of its customer service representatives in other time zones, operates every day of the week, standing by to accept donations of cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles, other vehicles, real estate, gift cards, and cash. But our charity does more than process donations. Our programs and services are comprehensive, encompassing youth development, education, and community and family outreach.
Our over 1,650 volunteer mentors stay in touch with their mentees on a weekly basis. We offer school placement and tuition assistance, because we know that choosing the right school is crucial to academic success. Meanwhile, our afterschool programs keep children busy and safe in the hours after school.
In addition to these services, Kars4Kids offers family holiday retreats and runs a summer camp, TheZone, in two locations in the Catskill Mountains. The focus of our organization is to offer the support, resources, and guidance families and children need to work together as a unit and be better, more productive members of society.
In addition to helping the children and families who turn to our charity for help, Kars4Kids has worked to raise society’s awareness of important issues like saving the environment with our special feature on Earth Day complete with its timeline, a history behind the day, and activities families can do with their children to celebrate the day.
Our charity also designed the free Safety app to alert parents when a child is left behind in the backseat of a car. A car heats up fast, even with the windows slightly open and the car parked in shade. Leaving a baby in a car has sadly taken many young lives. With its Safety app, Kars4Kids is working to turn the tide against this tragic phenomenon.
Driving behavior is a focus at Kars4Kids and we’ve worked to combat road rage by suggesting ways and means to better the public’s driving behavior. This was the purpose behind the Kars4Kids #DriveHuman campaign, complete with a quiz anyone can take to learn more about their own driving behavior, along with a map that shows how we drive in different states.
Our charity’s main focus is children. We created the Kars4Kids Smarter Parenting blog as a place where parents can learn the latest on the science of parenting in language they can understand. At Smarter Parenting, we offer information and evergreen resources on child development, learning difficulties, different types of classrooms, healthy child nutrition, and more.
The Kars4Kids Small Grant program supports like-minded charities in the field of mentoring and educating children. Through our small grant program, our charity is able to reach a broader sector of children by supporting initiatives in such diverse areas as STEM, literacy, and educational equity as undertaken by other nonprofit organizations. Each small grant recipient is highlighted on our small grants website, with a written interview about their work.
Improving driver behavior has been a focus of our work at Kars4Kids. One of our most popular April Fools Day campaigns was Beep Off, a pretend app that would allow the user to supposedly capture an image of an offending driver’s license plate, donating the offender’s car to our charity. The clever campaign pulls the unsuspecting reader along for a bit, until they get the point: “The only driver you can control is yourself.”
Our charity has earned top marks with a Guidestar Gold rating and was also voted 2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit at GreatNonprofits. Our Kars4Kids donors consistently offer favorable reviews for the prompt and courteous service they receive from our experienced representatives and capable network of towers. Some people find it difficult to say goodbye to their cars, where they spend a great deal of their time, each day. The comments we receive from donors suggest that Kars4Kids is sensitive to the needs of donors.
Kars4Kids works to please all donors, but sometimes there are misunderstandings about the donation process or the value of a car, which can affect the size of a donor’s tax deduction. Human error is also an occasional factor in any criticism received by our charity. Kars4Kids stands waiting to help correct any mistakes or misunderstandings generated during the donation process and welcomes phone calls from the public regarding donation and our services.
Critics sometimes claim that Kars4Kids disguises its mission of funding educational initiatives for Jewish children. A glance at the Kars4Kids website says otherwise. Our charity website clearly indicates that we are a registered nonprofit Jewish organization.
In spite of the fact that our charity’s focus is on helping Jewish children and their families, many of our programs and services benefit the wider public, for instance our annual school supply giveaways and warm winter clothing distribution events which take place in low-income neighborhoods for the benefit of all. Our small grant program is also available to help people from every sector and background.
In 2018, Bob Diachenko discovered a publicly accessible database that appeared to contain the personal details of some 21,612 Kars4Kids donors. Kars4Kids responded to Diachenko’s report by immediately securing the vulnerable database, notifying the FBI cyber division, and informing all donors affected by the data breach. In Diachenko’s report of the incident, he states that the “Charity is a very honorable cause and we are not implying any wrongdoing by Kars4Kids or their sister company Oorah.”
Kars4Kids offers free towing and accepts vehicles and properties in any condition. By keeping the donation process in house, the charity eliminates the extra costs so often incurred by other charities and car donation programs. This means a higher percentage of each donation goes to helping children.
Our experts assess each donation to decide the best way to make as much money as possible from the sale of the vehicle. The car is sold or its parts recycled with an eye toward maximizing the profits of each individual donation. A car that no longer runs or one that no longer meets emissions standards, can still be sold for parts or be recycled.
Kars4Kids does not, as a rule, distribute cars. We have, on occasion, made exceptions as in the case of one South African family, who moved to the U.S. to obtain treatment for their child, a pediatric cancer patient. The family was struggling to find employment and housing, and needed to travel long distances for treatment. Kars4Kids heard about their struggle and gave the family a gently used car, adequate to their needs. Our charity’s primary purpose however, is to generate revenue for our family and education programs through the proceeds of our Kars4Kids car donation program.
The IRS allows car donors to claim a tax deduction for the value of a vehicle up to $500. It is up to the donor to determine the fair market value of the car. If the sale price exceeds $500, the donor receives a tax deduction in the full amount for which the vehicle is sold.
In addition to saving on taxes, donors receive a vacation voucher for a 2-night/3-day hotel stay voucher for 2 adults and 2 children with a choice of 50 locations. The hotel destinations offered in this program are 3-star hotels, similar in quality to the Choice Hotels brand and La Quintas. While there are no fees for using the vacation voucher, the voucher holder is responsible for any taxes on the hotel stay and is required to make a fully-refundable standard hotel reservation deposit of $50.
Lakewood, NJ 08701