Car Donation Wraps Record Year

2021 was an absolute MONSTER of a year for vehicle donation programs. In uncertain economic waters, many charities were feeling pinched. Another year of social distancing meant reduced event schedules and missing revenue. We’re happy to report that Advanced Remarketing Services and our charity partners had a record year using Car Donation Wizard. As we wade into confusing economic signals yet again, we wanted to take the opportunity to review the year in Car Donation and to celebrate the amazing generosity of vehicle donors.


#1 Generosity Abounds

Once again, we were left in awe by the remarkable generosity of our donors. Their deep commitment to the charities we partner with delivered record volumes of vehicles of all sizes, types and values. We celebrate their generosity and we take very seriously our obligation to do the very best job on their behalf, specifically best donor service, selling the vehicles for maximum amount and getting the highest percentage back to programs in the industry.

Car donations of 2021

#2 Record Volume through Marketing Success

2021 volumes set records over any previous year. Both existing programs and new programs grew in total volume. What makes this especially impressive is that competition for every car was unprecedented. Car donation advertising rates shot up over pre-pandemic heights with many car donation operations spending astronomically to keep up. Through it all, we are very proud to report that by working closely with our charity partners to elevate their brands and tap into the generosity of car donors, we were able to keep expenses down and raise significant revenue for our partners.

#3 Car Donation Values Skyrocket

The unprecedented and previously unimaginable used car market launched recoveries into the stratosphere. See for yourself:

Used car price index graphic

Source: Cox Automotive

How did we get here during a global pandemic?

As we discussed in previous Wreckonomics articles, the pandemic had seismic effects on transportation, car ownership and vehicle values. In the years leading up to the pandemic, Americans had been changing some habits of car ownership.  Adoption of ride sharing models like Uber and Lyft allowed many Americans to reduce their transportation expenses through on-demand transportation and public transit.

This all changed in March of 2020.

From the first days of the pandemic, transportation independence became an issue of public health. Americans ran away from public transit and ride share and came back to car ownership in record numbers. Vehicle demand skyrocketed and has stayed unusually high. The result was a market that few of us could have ever imagined. And this exceptional demand trickled down to the older/high mileage vehicles that make up most of the donations we receive. The average donated vehicle is over 16 years old and has mileage greater than 165,000. This category of vehicle provides low cost transportation opportunities for Americans and this has been sorely needed throughout the pandemic. 

We isolate and observe these types of vehicles in wholesale lanes nationwide. Demand and competition for these vehicles shot up to unprecedented levels.

Donation value graph

#4 Experience & Ability

While the market deserves a huge amount of credit,  ARS’s technical approach led to the highest recoveries in the segment. Our program significantly outperformed any competing car donation service. Navigating the entire remarketing channel on behalf of our charity clients, we sold more cars through more locations and to more buyers than in any previous year.

Our sales network includes over 4,000 auctions, direct purchasers, recyclers and scrap processors. No one works harder or goes further on behalf of our clients. Every single car we sell on behalf of our charity partners undergoes a data focused decision engine that ensures peak sales performance and, importantly, results in the highest possible donation amount for each donor.   

For more information on how we remarket for the highest values, check out INSIGHT Remarketing© and our Remarketing Technologies at

Extraordinary Partnership When it Mattered Most

Recognizing that these are challenging times for all of our charity partners, ARS put our heads down, made investments in technology, innovated our services and improved our already ‘best in class’ remarketing abilities to return over 87% of the gross dollar to our charity partners. No program nationally has ever achieved such a high percentage.

On to 2022. At ARS, we aren’t the type of folks to rest on our successes, the challenges to come can be every bit as formidable as the ones we’ve overcome.

A Few Key Things to Watch

Vehicle Values

We anticipate the strong market to continue in the first quarter of 2022. Vehicle demand remains high. New car production has been slowed by supply and staffing issues. Scrap values have kept strong. There will be some regression in the market but it will take some time to return to pre-pandemic levels.


The high values allow less-deserving programs to spend recklessly on acquisition. Competition from ‘sell your car fast’ operations will continue to rise, however, we expect our car donation programs to continue their competitive success, securing more cars from well meaning donors through our consistent messaging and absolute best in class services. If a donor wants to make the greatest impact through their car donation, then Car Donation Wizard is the clear choice.

Scarcity & Supply

While we were able to grow through 2021, there will be challenges in 2022. In December, there was a noticeable slowdown in new donations due to product scarcity. The omicron variant has had a negative impact on January giving and slowed even the most resilient programs. At the moment, ‘retention tension’ has slowed overall car donation giving. The most obvious proof is the reduced number of web searches for our key terms. 

Car Donation Search Traffic Graph

Source: Google Trend Data

However, what we really have is Scarcity in a Sea of Product. The number of vehicles on U.S. roadways are at record and almost unsustainable levels. We predict good times ahead for car donation programs as American transportation returns to a form of ‘normal’. We closely watch transportation data and commuter numbers as business heads away from work from home (WFH) and back to In-person and hybrid workspaces, it will be very interesting to see the effect on ownership and retention when congestion rules once again.

Lastly, the Most Important Quantity in These Uncertain Times is PARTNERSHIP

We’re incredibly proud of the important social impact services we help to deliver through our partners including: the building of homes, funding research and patient services, fighting hunger, caring for children, protecting pets and animals, and serving our honored military families and veterans. We’re proud that our programs help to make a difference in the world.

If your organization is considering a car donation program, 2022 is a terrific time to take a look at your partnerships and your programs and add Car Donation Wizard to your fundraising toolkit. And, if you have a car donation program that didn’t soar with the eagles in 2021 you might just be working with turkeys.

Advanced Remarketing Services and Car Donation Wizard are here to help. We provide complete transparency along each step of the vehicle donation process. To date, we’ve proudly returned over $225 million for our charity partners. Car Donation Wizard returns 82% of the gross proceeds from each vehicle donated back to the charity – the highest of any vehicle donation program! To partner with our car donation program, visit our website or give us a call at 877-957-2277.

Wishing you every success in the year to come.


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This