We’re disappointed to see that SurveyMonkey, a web survey company, has given over $400,000 to the deceptive and manipulative Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Also disappointing has been the company’s corporate-speak response, thus far, to inquiries.
For background, here’s how SurveyMonkey works: Clients can hire SurveyMonkey to get people to take questionnaires about consumer products or some other topic. SurveyMonkey then offers an incentive to respondents: SurveyMonkey will donate 50 cents for each survey they take to a nonprofit of their choice. (If you sign up a profile from one of the emails HSUS sends to its communication lists begging people to take surveys at SurveyMonkey, your automatic choice is HSUS, though this can be changed.)
The problem is that HSUS isn’t a reputable group to be a charity partner, for several reasons.
- The American Institute of Philanthropy finds that HSUS spends as little as half of its budget on programs, blowing the rest on overhead—which earns HSUS a “D” grade.
- HSUS is trying to end all animal agriculture, employing radical activists, including one former PETA activist who has absurdly compared farms to Nazi concentration camps.
- While polls show that the general public—and HSUS’s own donors—think that money given to HSUS largely goes to pet shelters, only 1 percent of the money raised by HSUS goes to local shelters, and HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter—despite HSUS’s deceptive advertising.
- HSUS and two of its employees are in federal court defending against a lawsuit brought under anti-racketeering (RICO) statutes.
- HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle has said “I don’t love animals or think they are cute” and “I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.” Pacelle also signed at least one check implicated in the scheme outlined in the RICO lawsuit.
- Congressmen have called for a federal investigation of HSUS for possible violation of its tax-exempt status.
Does SurveyMonkey know how its money is being used? How about the survey takers?
SurveyMonkey raised over $700,000 for charity in the past year, with more than half of that going to HSUS. That’s unfortunate given that there are other animal charities on SurveyMonkey’s program, such as PetFinder, a website where users can look for adoptable animals near their location, or Red Rover, which performs animal rescue.
SurveyMonkey has two alternative choices already and more charities that it could partner with. There’s no reason to keep HSUS on the roll.