Season’s Greetings from HSUS (Now Fork Over Some Money)

Stocking_CoalThe holiday season is a time of giving, so it’s no surprise to see charities ramp up their fundraising efforts in November and December. When it comes to the Humane Society of the United States, however, it takes the idea that “it’s better to give than to receive” and abuses it for selfish gain.

In a press release published online last week, the Humane Society of the United States offers “unique gift ideas” to allow people to “celebrate animals this holiday season.” Now, you might think this could be noteworthy tips like “don’t buy a pet as a gift” or “give some dog food to your local shelter.” But no.

Instead, HSUS’s advice consists of different ways to give the group your money, including:

  • Make a donation to HSUS.
  • Make a donation to HSUS’s international arm.
  • Buy subscriptions of HSUS magazines.
  • Buy stuff from HSUS.
  • Buy stuff from HSUS’s corporate sponsors, who then give a cut to HSUS.

The only thing “unique” about these ideas is how shamelessly self-serving they are.

According to its most recent tax return, HSUS spent $50 million—or 41% of its budget—on fundraising-related costs last year (see Part IX and read this). The group seems to be all about raising money. In fact, our analysis of HSUS’s return finds that only about 1% of the money HSUS spent consisted of grants to support pet sheltering.

Someone should tell HSUS that the saying “it’s better to give than to receive” cuts both ways.

Here’s a better idea for animal lovers: Donate some supplies to your local pet shelters. They need the help more than HSUS, a $200 million organization that sees the holiday season as another opportunity to squeeze money out of people.