The idea that just one percent of the Humane Society of the United’s (HSUS) budget actually goes to local pet shelters paints a pretty grim picture for its donors. (Many of whom, incidentally, are only donating because they think they are giving to local shelters bearing a similar name). But it gets worse.
New financial documents provide the details of statewide solicitation campaigns issued by HSUS. According to a report published by the Attorney General of Massachusetts, HSUS raised more than $2 million from donors, but only $44,779 actually went to HSUS—just 2 percent of the campaign’s revenue. (And less than 8 percent of HSUS’s $5.7 million racketeering settlement.)
And in what surely must qualify as one of the worst fundraising campaigns in history, HSUS raised $95 via one campaign but paid its fundraiser $85,355—a return of negative 9,847%.
HSUS didn’t do any better in its campaign in North Carolina. HSUS and its lobbying arm raised more than $63,000 in North Carolina between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014, yet pocketed a mere 2.6 percent of donations. This meager return is far lower than the national average, where roughly 37 percent of solicited donations are returned to the charitable organization.
There’s a particularly insulting trick that’s going on here. HSUS declares on its federal tax return that its work with one particular fundraiser is a “multi-year” campaign to build a donor base. Well, when is that campaign going to end? It’s been going on for years—and no end to the waste is in sight. A “multi-year” fundraising campaign just a convenient excuse.
It’s no wonder the independent watchdog CharityWatch gives HSUS a “C-Minus” grade. A group that spends pennies to the dollar on the dogs and cats it uses to solicit donations—and millions to fund offshore accounts and pay racketeering fines—definitely gets an “F” in our book.