Young couple discussing donating stock financial advisor

Donating stock to charity

Increase your gift to charity—and your tax deduction—with one simple strategy

Make a larger impact by donating long-term appreciated securities, including stock, bonds, and mutual funds, directly to charity. Compared with donating cash, or selling your appreciated securities and contributing the after-tax proceeds, you may potentially increase your gift and tax donation.

Eliminate capital gains taxes and the Medicare surtax, which combined could be up to 23.8%

Take an immediate income tax deduction in the amount of the full fair market value* if you itemize your deductions

Maximize support to your favorite charities

*For contributions of complex or non-publicly traded assets, generally fair market value is determined by a qualified appraiser in compliance with the IRS.

Potential tax benefits of donating stock

When you contribute securities directly to charity, the receiving organization gains the full proceeds from the sale, and you potentially eliminate capital gains exposure. This win-win could mean more money for the causes you care about. Consider this potential savings example:

 Original cost of securities: $300,0001

Federal long-term capital gains rate: 23.8%2

Value of securities: $450,0003

Capital gains and Medicare surtax paid on $150,000 (23.8%)

Selling your securities and donating the proceeds


Donating your securities to Fidelity Charitable


Total contribution to charity
(after deducting federal taxes)

Selling your securities and donating the proceeds


Donating your securities to Fidelity Charitable


Selling your securities and donating the proceeds
Donating your securities to Fidelity Charitable

Additional amount dedicated to charity


1Total Cost Basis of Shares is the amount of money you have invested in the shares of a particular fund or individual security. It represents the basic dollar amount that, when compared to the price at which you sell your shares, tells you how much of a capital gain or loss you have realized.

2This assumes all realized gains are subject to the maximum federal long-term capital gains tax rate of 20% and the Medicare surtax of 3.8%. This does not take into account state or local taxes, if any.

3Amount of the proposed donation is the fair market value of the appreciated securities held more than one year that you are considering to donate.

Use this calculator when considering donating your long-term publicly traded stock, or consult a professional advisor.


Veronica and Matt, a successful couple with investments, considered donating a portion of their stock to help fund a wildlife rescue group.

At first, they thought of simply just selling the stock and donating the proceeds. Although they had established a private foundation in the past and also considered that option, their advisor suggested that they use a donor-advised fund instead.  Using a donor-advised fund provided a higher tax deduction of 30% of their adjusted gross income compared to the 20% limit with a private foundation.

By contributing the shares to a Fidelity Charitable Giving Account, they eliminated capital gains tax exposure and secured a charitable deduction based on the shares' fair market value. Best of all, Veronica and Matt recommended a larger grant from their donor-advised fund than than they would have been able to if they had sold the shares and donated the net proceeds as they originally planned.

Added benefits of a Giving Account

  • Support charities immediately or over time 
  • Support multiple charities with a single contribution
  • Streamline recordkeeping 
  • Consolidate many tax receipts into one

Ready to get started?

Start making a difference today by opening a Giving Account—no minimum required.

Frequently asked questions

Why would I donate stock instead of cash?

Donating securities that have been held for a year or more offers the potential for a double tax benefit—a full fair market value tax deduction and elimination of capital gains taxes.

What is the AGI limit for donating stocks? 

Under the Internal Revenue Code, deductions for charitable contributions are subject to certain "percentage limitations" that limit the deductions that can be taken to a stated percentage of adjusted gross income (AGI) in the year the deduction is taken. (Contributions in excess of these percentage limitations may be carried forward up to five subsequent years.) Because Fidelity Charitable is a 501(c)(3) public charity that sponsors a donor-advised fund program, the percentage limitations that apply are generally the most favorable charitable deductions available under IRS rules.

Deductions for contributions of long-term capital gain property (such as appreciated securities held for more than one year) are limited to 30% of AGI.

Deductions for all other contributions (including contributions of cash) are limited to 60% of AGI.

Your ability to take itemized deductions may be subject to certain other limitations. Business entities using a Corporate Giving Account may have different tax considerations. Please contact your tax advisor to determine your tax deductibility limits.

Can I donate stock with unknown basis?

There are many reasons unknown cost basis could occur.  For example, it could be the result of an account predating cost basis records or a transfer of shares from one account or account type to another. So long as the stock with unknown basis has been held for a year or more, you can donate it to Fidelity Charitable. 

What happens once I donate stock to Fidelity Charitable?

We liquidate the stock according to our policy guidelines. Once liquidated, you can recommend how to invest among our 25 investment options and begin recommending grants to eligible nonprofits. Our Charitable Investment Advisor Program and DonorFlex Program offer additional investment opportunities for eligible account holders.

What else can I donate?

Fidelity Charitable accepts a wide range of financial assets, from cash and checks to stocks and even non-publicly traded assets.