Maximizing Social Impact Through Car DonationsOctober 7, 2021
The New York Times states that socially driven companies are increasingly popular among consumers. They also suggest that consumers are willing to spend more money on a good or service, like shoes, if the company’s profits benefit someone in need. At Vehicles for Change (VFC), we’re a nonprofit, socially driven organization. We maximize our social impact through our community’s car donations. One of the ways we do this is by operating two social enterprises as part of our nonprofit business model.
What is a Social Enterprise?
So, what’s a social enterprise? According to Investopedia, in the 1970s, the concept of social enterprises was created to counter traditional commercial enterprises. Further, they say, “Social enterprises seek to maximize profits while maximizing benefits to society and the environment. Their profits are principally used to fund social programs.” A University of Pennsylvania scholar says, social enterprises exist to balance traditional commercial enterprise activities by providing financial benefits with social goals such as housing, sanitation, or electricity for low-income families.
The key difference between social enterprises and traditional commercial enterprises? Their operations. While a social enterprise generates money to fund its social contributions, making a profit is not its primary goal. B the Change indicates that there are six types of social enterprises — Entrepreneurial Nonprofits (like Girl Scouts), Non-nonprofits (like InvestED), Socially Responsible Business (like Ben & Jerry’s), Give One, Get One/Donate Portion of Proceeds Model (like TOMS), Awareness Brand (like We Buy Black’s Beautiful In Every Shade platform), and then there are unnamed outliers that don’t fit cleanly into one of these other categories (like Bitty and Beau’s Coffee).
Vehicles For Change, a Social Enterprise
Where do we fit in? Vehicles for Change is a social enterprise, similar to Girl Scouts. At Vehicles for Change, we have two entrepreneurial nonprofits that allow us to operate not only at maximum efficiency as an organization, but also maximize our efforts and positive impact in the community. Our social enterprises are Freedom Wheels and Full Circle Service Center.
Freedom Wheels is a subsidiary of Vehicles for Change. At Freedom Wheels, we sell used luxury or high-value cars that have been donated to us. This allows our generous car donors to maximize their tax deduction for the donated vehicle, while also allowing VFC to maximize the financial return of each donation. The profits from Freedom Wheels allow us to fund other nonprofit aspects of Vehicles for Change.
Freedom Wheels provides customers with quality, state inspected, reliable, low-cost used cars while allowing customers to enjoy an informative, no-pressure, comfortable buying experience. All of our used cars are State of Maryland inspected and come with a warranty plus a 3 day/150-mile buyback guarantee. If you’re interested in supporting Vehicles for Change and are in need of a car rather than having one to donate, we’d love to be part of your buying experience. Our inventory can be viewed online or by visiting our car lot.
Full Circle, our car repair shop functions just like your average mechanic shop. We’re open to the public with locations in Elkridge and Waverly and your car is serviced by one of our skilled Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified mechanics. From oil and fluid changes to tune-ups, tire rotations, battery replacements, and more, you can count on our mechanics to provide you the quality, affordable and transparent service you deserve! You’ll be getting your car back on the road safely while supporting your community. All funds from Full Circle are used to support Vehicles for Change’s programs and services.
If you’re interested in supporting Vehicles for Change but don’t have a car to donate, we’d love to be part of your car maintenance plans. Stop in or schedule an appointment with one of our talented Full Circle mechanics today.
Help us continue to fulfill our mission to empower families with financial challenges to achieve economic and personal independence through car ownership and technical training. You can help us help your community by:
- Donating a car to Vehicles for Change to be awarded to a deserving family.
- Purchasing a used car for your own family through Freedom Wheels.
- Having your car routinely serviced by our Full Circle mechanic team.
No matter how you support VFC, your donation helps us change the lives of members in your local community and we couldn’t do it without you.