HSUS Fails Its Year-End Fundraising

ThermometerThermometer1 We’ve been keeping a close eye on the Humane Society of the United States’ end-of-year fundraising campaign, which sought to raise $2 million. Helpfully, HSUS kept us abreast by including a thermometer tracking its progress. When we checked at about 8 a.m. Eastern yesterday morning—Hawaii is six hours behind, after all—it was clear that HSUS was significantly below its goal by several hundred thousand dollars. [Update: After this blog was posted, HSUS removed the thermometer from its donation page. Did we touch a nerve?]

This is something we haven’t seen in past years.

It’s not that HSUS didn’t try. Many readers reported seeing HSUS ads on Fox News and other cable stations. HSUS desperately sent out emails and messaged its Facebook page in the lead-up to New Year’s. And the slider of HSUS’s website home page contained three slides, all of which were begging for donations. (Now, there’s only one slide—trying to raise money for 2014, naturally. There’s a reason people type “H$U$.”)

wayne-pacelle-imageWe think HSUS’s fundraising failure can be attributed to a good grassroots effort over the past several weeks. One of our Facebook graphics, seen here at right, went viral and received 43,000 “shares” and was seen by 2 million people. Our other images, which can be viewed on our wall, also did quite well.

These graphics were organically passed around by supporters who want our message seen by the public. Separately, we had our own campaigns, such as our “Tony” ad, which ran on cable news around the country, as well as a radio ad.

Hopefully, local shelters saw an uptick in year-end donations. Our main message is that Humane Society of the United States only gives 1% of its budget to local pet shelters. From our polling of the public and HSUS donors, people think money given to HSUS supports pet shelters. It largely doesn’t.

There’s no way to realistically measure this—there are thousands of local rescues and shelters across the country. But HSUS’s failure to meet its fundraising campaign is a hopeful indication that the public “gave local” this holiday season.