The Humane Society of the United States has gotten poor marks from charity watchdogs for its use of donor money, and one recent telemarketing campaign shows why. In a final accounting filed by HSUS telemarketing firm Donor Care Center, a fundraising campaign that raised over $200,000 from people who thought they were helping animals had a net return of negative 78 percent over the past year.
According to filings with the North Carolina Secretary of State, DCC raised $229,325 but incurred expenses of $407,774—meaning the HSUS telemarketing campaign, which ran from March 2013 to March 2014, had a net loss of $178,449. In other words, every single penny raised in this campaign to “help animals” went into the pockets of a telemarketing company. Not only that, but other money that could have been used to help animals had to cover the expenses of the campaign.
According to the DCC script, potential donors would be told that “It is our best estimate that The HSUS will receive at least 50% of the funds raised on this campaign.” 50 percent? Not even close.
And according to the script, the campaign was designed to get donors to send letters to their friends encouraging them to donate to HSUS. Ironically, this campaign is called “Friends Helping Animals Now”—but would their money help animals “now,” or simply fund more telemarketing calls?
According to CharityWatch, HSUS spends up to 45 percent of its budget on overhead. The animal-rights newspaper Animal People has put it even higher, at 55 percent. Either way, it’s fair to say that if you’re a donor to HSUS, a lot of your money that could be “saving animals”—as you’re promised—is simply padding bank accounts.
But hey, the owners of telemarketing companies are animals, too. Won’t you help them buy a bigger house? That’s what HSUS is doing.