HSUS: D-D-Dreadful Charity Practices

Three times a year, the venerable American Institute of Philanthropy (which runs CharityWatch.org) analyzes publicly reported information from charities and issues a report card grading how well these organizations spend their money. Unlike other charity analysts, AIP digs past the face-value data to get a more accurate measure of how effective a charity is. And in its latest report, AIP gives the deceptively named Humane Society of the United States a “D” grade—yet again.

Last year, AIP gave HSUS a “D” gradetwice—due to the animal rights group’s lackluster performance (to put it mildly) in using donors’ contributions. Even PETA has a “C-plus” grade. (AIP must not dock points for hypocritically killing thousands of animals a year.)

AIP finds that HSUS spends up to 49 cents to raise every dollar—quite inefficient fundraising. Additionally, AIP finds that HSUS spends as little as 49 percent of its budget on programs. (Click the image below to enlarge.)

This is similar to the findings of Animal People News’ Watchdog Report, which analyzed HSUS’s 2008 tax return and found that up to half of HSUS’s budget is spent on overhead costs.

It’s worse when you consider that HSUS’s grossly inefficient spending is likely done with a lot of money that donors intended to go to real humane societies, such as their local pet shelter, and not an animal rights group. According to national polling, 71 percent of Americans mistake HSUS for a pet-shelter umbrella group and 63 percent wrongly believe that HSUS is affiliated with their local humane society or pet shelter. In reality, the “Humane Society” of the United States shockingly shares less than one percent of its budget with these needy local shelters. (Maybe we should ask AIP to add a new category for that.)

So, will HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle attempt to explain this latest black mark on HSUS’s already sordid record? We doubt it. It’s much easier for him to keep stuffing away millions of doggie dollars into HSUS’s pension plan than to face the music.