HumaneWatch has had a lot of success. We’re approaching 500,000 Facebook fans, we’ve been around for 3 years, and one of our main messages—that the Humane Society of the U.S. gives only 1 percent of the money it raises to local shelters—is being repeated far and wide.
We were excited to discover that our analysis of IRS data found that local pet shelters saw a 6 percent increase in revenue in 2011. Notably, HSUS’s donations in 2011 were down significantly. Its revenue from contributions and grants was down about 6 percent. In other words, there’s a 12-percent gap between HSUS and hands-on animal shelters. That’s a big blow for the HSUS scammers—but good news for shelters. It would seem that more people are hearing the “give local” message.
And frankly, the gap might be a little higher.
On its tax return, HSUS classifies over $17 million in donated public service announcement time under “contributions and grants.” This not only inflates the total grants and contributions HSUS is bringing in by around 17 percent, but the $17 million would also be reported completely as “program expenses,” inflating how efficiently HSUS is spending donations. (The percentage of budget used by a charity on programs, as opposed to overhead, is a metric that some third-party watchdogs use in rating an organization.)
Given HSUS’s P.R.-centric attitude, we’re not surprised if it’s engaging in a little revenue puffery. Taking out donated-ad “revenue,” it appears HSUS experienced a 9-percent drop in donations from donors last year. So there could be a 15-point gap between HSUS and pet shelters in 2011.
We continue to learn more about the agenda of HSUS, including that its CEO Wayne Pacelle has written that “I don’t love animals or think they are cute.” And we’ll make sure the public continues to learn about it. Our message certainly seems to be sinking in, despite HSUS’s best efforts to attack us.