Stephen Edward Samuelian is the Manager of the Samuelian Family Trust, a board Member of Rising Stars Outreach, and a strong community figure in his hometown of Laguna Beach, California. He has given extensively of his time, money, and resources over the last four decades. Today, we speak with Stephen Edward Samuelian to get the numbers on charitable giving in the U.S.
CBO: We appreciate your taking the time to chat with us today.
Stephen Edward Samuelian: Always my pleasure.
CBO: Let’s talk household giving. About what percent of US households donate to charities?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: According to the National Philanthropic Trust, approximately 95.4%.
CBO: That seems like a high number. Do you think it’s accurate?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: Yes, I do. Donations can take many forms: services, talents, time, items… it doesn’t necessarily mean cash.
CBO: That makes sense. So, how much are we giving?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: On average, we give just under $3,000 each year. That’s per family.
CBO: What does that total out to annually?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: In 2013, Americans gave $335 billion to both domestic and international charities.
CBO: Can we discuss volunteerism for a moment?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: Sure! Volunteer hours account for an estimated $175 billion in time value given. Volunteer hours average out a donation of $22.55 per hour.
CBO: And how many people volunteer each year?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: On average, American adults freely provide nearly 8 billion hours each year.
CBO: Wow. That’s a lot of unpaid workforce.
Stephen Edward Samuelian: It is but the people who give don’t see it as unpaid. When you offer your time, you get much more back than you give.
CBO: How’s that?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: Giving instills in you a sense of pride. It connects you to your community in ways no other activity can.
CBO: What types of organizations are people spending their time on?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: The top volunteer areas are pretty consistent year-to-year and are religious organizations, education, social service, and health-related causes.
CBO: Have online giving capabilities changed the way people give?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: Very much so, yes. Online donations have helped raised overall charitable giving by nearly 5%.
CBO: What types of causes have felt the biggest impact of this new giving method?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: It’s not so much the type of organization so much as the size. Smaller nonprofits have reported proportionately higher numbers of online bequests than their larger counterparts.
CBO: That’s such wonderful news for the smaller guys looking to make a difference…
CBO: Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Do you have anything you’d like to add as we close?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: I would just like to encourage those who give to keep up the great work. Overall, giving by individuals and families is over 20x more than the $16.76 billion in corporate giving each year.