A Jingle and a Vision: Interview with Kars4Kids CEO Eliyohu Mintz

Last updated on MARCH 9, 2017

“We are not in the entertainment business. Our mission is not to make sure nobody is annoyed by us or to provide pleasurable music, it is the mission of helping children.”

We’ve introduced you to many departments here through this series, and now we take you to the corner office to get to know the leader and visionary of Kars4Kids, Eliyohu Mintz . The following is an unedited deep dive into the inner workings and philosophy of Kars4Kids:

  •  How did you get the idea to go into the car donation business?

People were always calling charities to get rid of their used and old merchandise. Much of it was hard to distribute and monetize. Car donations have their challenges as well, but when metal prices are high you can make money even off junking them. You can’t do the same with a bedroom set or an old couch. They cost money to transport and then money to trash if not usable or sell able.

  • Why does Kars4Kids not fund-raise in the usual way that charities do?

Car donations have become somewhat “usual.”

We didn’t have an alumni, community, family base, or board base support when we started out. It is a very hard and slow process cultivating new large donors.

  • What are the benefits of running a business as a source of revenue for a charity?

You get to set the tone and the mission of the organization. You are living and breathing it, you know best what it needs. When you have large donors, many times you end up bending the mission to what they like. Many times they don’t understand it as it is not their primary focus in life, or they are dazzled by the shallow exterior presentation.

  • What are the downsides?

Mistakes are not forgiven, see article: (Editor’s note: The article referenced argues that the public is too critical of business mistakes made by nonprofits, while in reality nonprofits need to act like businesses in order to succeed.)

  • The jingle: Since people are so annoyed by it, why does Kars4Kids continue to play it?

Some people are annoyed, others love it. We are not in the entertainment business. Our mission is not to make sure nobody is annoyed by us or to provide pleasurable music, it is the mission of helping children. If the most effective way of owning space in people’s minds so that when they think of car donations they think of Kars4Kids is to annoy them a bit, so be it.

  • Why does Kars4Kids not come up with multiple jingles, similar to what other companies do?

Our brand is our jingle. Nobody changes their brand to “similar” or “multiple.” Does McDonalds use a blue or purple M just to “change it up”?  Do Republicans change their color to green to change it up?

  • Being the CEO: What is it like being the CEO of Kars4Kids?

Very rewarding.

  • What are the biggest challenges of being the CEO?

People 🙂  “The more I meet people the more I love my horse”

They are obviously your most important asset of the organization, but also the most challenging.

  • From what do you derive the greatest satisfaction in your work?

Going, seeing and spending time with the kids in the camps and other programs.

  • How do you ‘unwind’?

Sleep 🙂  I love to walk, Shabbat and holidays.

  • What advice can you offer a struggling nonprofit organization?

Give up 🙂

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