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Humane Society Wastes Money on Chinese Tote Bags

What response should a charity have when its rating is dinged by two watchdogs? A smart, ethical charity might announce some reforms or take responsibility for wasting donor money. But not the Humane Society of the United States, which is doubling down.

Its latest fundraising appeal hit mailboxes recently. The mailing contained an uninvited “gift”: A cheap tote bag with a “Made in China” tag on the inside.

How much money did HSUS waste on this? HSUS claims to have several hundred thousand dues-paying members, and its mailing list is in the millions. If HSUS blasted out these bags to its direct mail universe, it likely wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars procuring and mailing these bags.

And that’s just one mailing. We’ve gotten several this year so far. HSUS sends out everything from gardening gloves to calendars. In 2016, HSUS reported spending over half of its budget ($70 million) on fundraising expenses. So when you think of HSUS, think of factories in China churning out cheap junk products and spamming them across the United States, where many ultimately wind up in landfills.

Exit question: A number of reusable bags that have been tested have had small amounts of toxic heavy metals. Is HSUS exposing its donors to anything like this? Perhaps we’ll find out.