The most common way to make an immediate gift is by writing a check. This type of cash gift provides immediate liquidity for charity and generates a charitable income tax deduction for the donor in the year of the gift.
Giving stocks or bonds may provide greater tax benefits. If you have owned securities for more than one year and the fair market value has increased since you purchased them, you may avoid capital gains tax and receive a charitable income tax deduction equal to the fair market value.
A gift of real estate that has been held for more than a year also has the advantage of providing you with a charitable deduction based on the current fair market value, as well as the possibility of bypassing capital gains tax on the appreciation.
Selected artwork, books and antiques are examples of gifts of personal property that can, in certain situations, be an appropriate gift. To ensure that any tangible personal property qualifies for a favorable charitable tax deduction, make a note of those things as they come to mind and make certain you discuss them with your estate planner.