A gift of stock that has appreciated in value typically makes a wiser gift than an equal amount of cash.
Think of it this way - cash in a bank account has already been taxed (when it was received as income). The value of stock remains untaxed as long as it is held. The IRS allows the transfer of stock directly to Lutheran Hour Ministries without imposing any tax on the growth in value.
This means that the value of the gift is maximized because you are now able to give to ministries funds that would have been paid in taxes. For stocks held longer than 12 months, the donor is allowed the full fair market value of the stock as a charitable deduction on an itemized tax return (limited, of course, to IRS limitations on gifts of appreciated property and your adjusted gross income). For stocks held less than 12 months, charitable deduction is limited to the cost basis. Deductions are based upon IRS guidelines and we recommend that you contact your tax advisor for information pertaining to your individual tax situation.