The charity watchdog CharityWatch (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy) just released its latest report cards for America’s charities, and HSUS continues to receive bad grades. Although HSUS no longer gets a “D,” CharityWatch finds that HSUS spends up to $42 to raise $100 and spends as little as 55% of its budget on program expenses.
All told, that earns Wayne’s factory fundraising operation a C-minus. We still find that incredibly wasteful, and C-minuses tend not to get parental pats on the back.
What’s also interesting is another article in the CharityWatch report. Unlike other purported charity watchdogs, CharityWatch actually analyzes tax returns and tries to take into account the games that charities like HSUS play to make themselves appear more efficient, such as counting fundraising costs as “program spending.”
And interestingly CharityWatch is calling out another game that charities play. HSUS is a “Silver Participant” in GuideStar’s rating system, which is based entirely on self-reporting and proving documents to Guidestar. CharityWatch notes that HSUS has some unsavory company in the “Silver Participant” tier; most notably, the CharityWatch F-rated SPCA International (SPCAI).
Just as HSUS isn’t your local humane society, SPCAI isn’t your local SPCA. To an even greater degree than HSUS, SPCAI engages in inefficient fundraising—CharityWatch reports that SPCAI spends up to $76 to raise $100. You don’t need to run an efficient charity to get a “Silver Participant” title, you just need to file the right paperwork with GuideStar.
We’ve covered CNN’s expose of SPCAI’s excessive fundraising expenses and its professional fundraiser, Quadriga Art. Guess what other animal group has used Quadriga? If you guessed HSUS to the tune of about $20 million, you win.
HSUS and SPCAI share more than “Silver Participant” status. They’re the kind of animal charity you shouldn’t open your checkbook for.