Our daughter needed basic transportation this summer for two months, so we bought her a 15 year-old car...where else but at an auction! “Doris the Taurus” (as the car was dubbed) served her purpose of providing safe, reliable transportation for our daughter while she was home from Spain. However, just two days before we planned to sell the car back to the same auction house, we returned home to find that the car was involved in a hit and run with significant damage to the driver’s side. 

When our initial anger subsided we needed to devise Plan B for a car that now was totaled. In order to sell it repairs would need to be done, or we could sell it for parts… But we took a different path. We decided to donate it.

It is important to do your research when donating a car. The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office was a good resource to help us understand the various nuances of car donation (you can check your own state’s AG Office). After assessing our many options we chose to donate the car to Newgate School, a nonprofit automotive technical school located in the Twin Cities that offers auto body and auto mechanic training for unemployed or under-employed adults. Students pay no tuition, but what they receive for their hard work is vocational skills, a work ethic and the personal confidence needed to succeed in this career path. Newgate graduates become certified as auto technicians within 18 months. And, just when we thought it couldn’t get any better we learned that the students refurbish donated cars and vans for Newgate's "Wheels for Women" transportation assistance program. These vehicles are provided at no cost to promising single working moms to help them transition off welfare.

The folks at Newgate School were helpful, courteous, and made the process of donating my car so easy I was done in just 10 minutes!! ...So, that crappy hit and run? Well, Newgate gave me the chance to spin it into something very positive. Which begs the question: How can you turn a service recipient’s bad situation around for them? What process can you make so easy, so painless and so rewarding for your donors that they will sing the praises of your nonprofit’s good work, service and attention? Thinking about that might just be the best part of your week if you give yourself dedicated time to think about it.