Monday, June 22, 2015

A Generous Generation: Stephen Edward Samuelian on Charitable Giving Facts And Figures

Stephen Edward Samuelian
The National Philanthropic Trust recently reported that the average American household gives nearly $3000 per year in charitable contributions. According to Stephen Edward Samuelian, this equates to over $335 billion annually. Nearly three-quarters of all giving in the United States comes from individuals, followed distantly by foundations, bequests, and corporations.

So where does the money go?

Stephen Edward Samuelian explains that the majority of funds donated go toward religious organizations, humanitarian services, and grantmaking foundations. Historically, Americans increase their charitable donations as the stock market rises. A staggering majority – 95% – of high income households gave money toward educational needs followed closely by basic needs organizations, arts, healthcare, and religious organizations.

Non-exempt organizations

There are over 1.5 million charitable foundations in America and approximately 322,000 religious congregations. Tax-exempt and nonprofit organizations account for just over 9% of all salaries and wages paid in the United States, adds Stephen Edward Samuelian. Primary sources of revenue in the tax-exempt sector include government contracts, grants, contributions, bequests, and membership organizational dues. Stephen Edward Samuelian notes that a small portion of revenue comes from special events income, sales of merchandisable goods, and income earned through rental properties.


Stephen Edward Samuelian points out that volunteerism in the United States is alive and well with over 64 million Americans giving nearly 8,000,000,000 service hours each year. The collective value of this free labor comes in at $175 billion. Four primary categories of volunteer activities include fundraisers, food collection and distribution, labor and transportation, and educational services.

Giving in the New Age

The Internet has helped charitable organizations receive more funds than ever before. Stephen Edward Samuelian reports that in 2013 alone online giving grew by 13.5%, pushing overall charitable contributions up to 5%. Online access has helped small nonprofits the most with faith-based groups measuring the largest increase in Internet donations.