We frequently point out that the misnamed “Humane Society” of the United States gives a minuscule percentage of the money it raises to local pet shelters. But this begs the question: If HSUS isn’t spending money on shelters, where are its donors’ dollars going? Below is a breakdown of HSUS’s expenditures from its most recent financial statement.
Employee compensation is the group’s single greatest expense. It’s not cheap to pay the salary of the $4 million man as well as HSUS’s army of lawyers and PETA alumni. Also noteworthy is the money HSUS is spending on “education.” Education can be a very misleading term in the charity world.
For instance, we recently received mail from HSUS that came with a free pair of socks (another thing the group squanders donor money on). The socks featured dogs and cats on them, which we thought was ironic since these are the same animals HSUS deprives of funding at local shelters. The socks came with two sheets of paper discussing HSUS’s agenda, and an envelope asking for a financial contribution.
While the intent of this mailing was clearly to raise funds, in the philanthropy world, most of this cost can be classified as an “educational” expense. So when you see the HSUS education expenses listed above, remember that this figure includes junk doodads and tchotchkes. A second category on the chart, mailing and postage, would also go towards these mailings. The bottom line: HSUS is spending a lot of money on its direct mail fundraising efforts.
Lastly, the chart shows that HSUS spent 3.8% of its total expenditures on grants. While these grants include local animal shelters, it also includes grants to other groups such as ballot committees or universities. When examining the breakdown of HSUS’s most recent financial report, it is clear the organization is still denying local shelters of much needed funding for cats and dogs, like the ones featured on HSUS’s tacky and wasteful socks. The bottom line is that giving money to shelters that provide hands-on care to animals isn’t a priority at HSUS. Your money is better off somewhere else.