“Timeshare Owners Can Change the Life of a Child by Helping Grant Wishes”
Timeshare owners can now donate usage (while keeping title) to Make–A-Wish®
For the first time ever, timeshare owners will be able to donate just their weekly usage to charity without giving up ownership of their properties.
It’s an all new program created by Donate for a Cause, the same nonprofit that pioneered traditional timeshare donation 10 years ago, a model that has helped them raise more than $3.5 million for a number of other charities.
“Until now, the rule of thumb for timeshare usage has been to use it or lose it,” says Jim Tarpey, founder of Donate for a Cause. “Our new program will give owners and donors much more flexibility.”
To get the new venture off the ground, Donate for a Cause (DFC) partnered with Make–A-Wish, an organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The two charities agreed to run a pilot in Hawaii where hundreds of timeshare weeks go unused each year. It’s also where Make–A-Wish has their greatest need—approximately 800 children wish to go there every year with their families.
“The idea is phenomenal,” says Siana Hunt, CEO of Make-A-WishHawaii. “I’m absolutely thrilled with this unique way to make wishes come true for our wish kids and their families.”
Besides helping kids, the new program will also help timeshare owners as Donate for a Cause will issue tax receipts for the usage.“If a timeshare owner wants to make a huge difference in the life of a child with a life-threatening medical condition, this is a great way to do it,” Hunt says.
DFC is seeking timeshare owners with Hawaii weeks as well as those with points at Wyndham, Hilton, Disney and Diamond, since those developments have multiple locations in Hawaii and their point systems allow owners to come from any of their other locations nationwide. To reach these owners, Make-A-Wish and DFC are promoting the program on their websites. DFC also plans to run print ads in various publications.
If enough owners donate their usage in Hawaii, the two charities will broaden the program to other parts of the country as well.
While DFC and its affiliate charities make money from the sale of traditional timeshare donations, they won’t make any money on the new program since DFC isn’t selling the usage, just passing it on. It’s a move that could ultimately help the resorts themselves, since owners who can’t go on vacation in any given year would have an easy way to make their unused timeshare pay for itself.
“It’s an altruistic idea that will bring a lot of good to Make–A-Wish families as well as timeshare owners,” Tarpey says.
Tarpey also hopes the new program will make more people aware of the original donation program, since timeshare owners needlessly spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to get rid of unwanted properties.
Notable Timeshare Facts and Figures*
- There are 8.3 million timeshare intervals owned in the U.S
- There are 1,551 timeshare resorts in the US
- Average sale price of a timeshare interval is $18,723
- Average annual maintenance fee of a timeshare interval is $822
- Only 54% of timeshare owners are using their vacation properties
- Average age of timeshare owner is 51 years old
- 74% of timeshare owners are married or have a domestic partner
- The median household income of timeshare owners is $74,000
- 58% of timeshare owners have graduated from college
- 83% of timeshare owners are satisfied with their timeshare experience
While statistics show that direct sales by the resorts are strong, it is much more difficult for owners to resell their weeks. In fact, the Better Business Bureau declared the timeshare resale market one of the top ten scams in the US. Donate for a Cause was founded in 2004 as an alternative to the resale market and since then has accepted more than 10,000 timeshare weeks and granted more than $2 million to some of the nation’s best loved charities.
*According to a 2013 ARDA study