If you are considering making a gift to a Moravian church or agency, and you have stock which you have held for more than one year which has appreciated in value, thus making it capital gain property, you might want to consider making a stock gift. In most cases, contributions of capital gain property can be tax-deductible at the fair market value on the day the gift is made. For more specific information, please see page 11 of IRS Publication 526 - Charitable Contributions. Please note that we are not in the business of giving tax advice, and every situation is different, so check with your accountant, stockbroker, or financial adviser on your specific financial picture.
Although some of the larger churches have their own brokerage accounts, most churches do not, so accepting a stock gift can be difficult. The Moravian Ministries Foundation maintains a brokerage account solely for the purpose of facilitating stock gifts for Moravian churches and agencies. Over the last ten years, we have assisted donors in making over $1.4 million in stock gifts to Moravian churches and agencies. We do not charge any fees for this - it is simply a service we provide to the Church.
Those gifts have ranged in size from $500 to $200,000. We don't have either a minimum or maximum limit on the size of gifts.
If you are interested in making a stock gift, please contact either Paul McLaughlin, President, or Lee Morgan, Director of Financial and Business Services, at 888-722-7923 and we will work with you to complete your gift. When you call, we will send you the information needed for transferring stocks to our account. We will also ask you to provide us with a letter describing the gift - how many shares of what company - and clearly stating to whom you want the proceeds of the stock sale to go. You can also use this letter to designate a particular program you want your gift to support if you have one in mind, such as a capital campaign or a specific fund. This helps us ensure that your gift goes exactly where you want it to and is used for the purposes you designate.
Once we have received your donation letter and your gift has been transferred to our brokerage account, we will sell the stock. We sell it as soon as possible, with no attempt to time the market. Our brokerage charges a small fee for the sale, which is the only fee associated with the entire transaction. Once the sale is complete and the cash is available, we transfer it to our checking account. Once the transfer is complete, we write a check for the entire amount to the organization, or organizations, you designated in your letter, and send it to them, with an accompanying letter notifying them of the donor and the purpose of the gift.
We also send you a letter notifying you of the fair market value of your gift. We determine this by calculating the average sale price of the stock on the day it is transferred into our account and multiplying it by the number of shares. We use the method given by the IRS for determining the average value, which is to add the high and low prices for the day, then divide by two. (See page 5 of IRS Publication 561 - Determining the Value of Donated Property.)
In most cases, this whole process takes 6 to 10 business days. In some cases, it can take longer, although that's rare. As you can imagine, our busiest time is at the end of the year, as people decide how much they want to give to complete their financial year. Even if the entire process is not complete by then, as long as your gift has been transferred into our brokerage account by December 31, it counts as a charitable contribution for the year.
So why do we do this? The Moravian Ministries Foundation exists to help strengthen the flow of money into ministries of the Moravian Church. In this world that we live in, working ministries require financial support, an idea that the 18th century Moravians who founded our settlements in Pennsylvania and North Carolina would have recognized. This is one small thing we can do to help provide support for those ministries and invest where we believe.