When you donate to a 501c3 charity of your choice, do you know where your money is going? Do you donate to big name national charities like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), or do you choose to donate to local grassroots organizations giving back to your community? Who heads the organizations that you donate to? What are their motivations and aspirations for your local community and for the specific charity organization?
In 2010, the HSUS brought in $148,703,820.00 from donations alone. Many citizens and donors do not realize that the HSUS does not house any animals. They are not affiliated with any humane society organizations/shelters throughout the country that do house and adopt animals. They are simply a large independent organization collecting thousands in donations to advocate the unnecessary killing of animals in need of rescue and adoption. (http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=7229 ). In 2009 alone, the HSUS spent over $8 million on direct mailing for solicitations and over $11 million in advertising expenses. The HSUS decided not to support Oreo’s Law, a life-saving law for animals (New York). (http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=5082 ) By not supporting Oreo’s Law in New York, shelters have killed more than 25,000 animals. As both a legislative organization and a so-called progressive animal welfare organization, is it logical to withhold support for a law that saves animals? (http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=5311) And to top it all off, the HSUS CEO/President, Wayne Pacelle was paid $234,026 in 2009 to do this work! In addition, 15 staff members earned more than $100k. Where did their salaries come from? You guessed it, public donations. (view additional information and figures here: http://humanewatch.org/index.php/site/post/pets_or_pensions/ )
On a local level, let’s take a look at Advocates 4 Animals Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc.- a 501c3 grassroots rescue organization located in Xenia, OH (www.advocates4animals.com ). In 2010 A4A helped the local public to spay/neuter 315 pets. A4A rescued and adopted 105 animals locally- all rescued as local strays or from local high-kill shelters. A4A helped TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) and care for 120 cat colonies locally. Did you know that an unsprayed female cat, her mate and all of their surviving offspring, producing 2 litters per year, with only 2.8 surviving kittens per litter can total 66,088 cats in just 6 years? An unsprayed female dog, her mate and all of their puppies can total 67,000 in 6 short years! (www.spayusa.org) By spaying/neutering and implementing TNR programs- A4A Rescue is saving thousands upon thousands of lives locally. A4A helped several local shelters begin their journey to becoming a true no-kill facility- through implementing the elements of the No Kill Equation http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/ ) (and through providing resources, volunteers and guidance throughout the process). A4A has no paid staff- they are all volunteers. A4A received a mere $22,000 in donations in 2010. Imagine how much more could locally be achieved if grassroots rescue organizations like A4A received the donations that are blindly mailed off to the HSUS annually. Just imagine how many more lives could be saved!
What are your motivations for donating? Whether it’s animal rescue/welfare or any other worthy charitable cause, find out how your hard earned dollars will be used. Find out how many lives will be saved. How many staff and directors are being paid- and how much? Do you know the mission of the charitable organization and how they uphold those values? How do your donations help your local community?
By logging on to www.GuideStar.org you can search for your favorite 501c3 charities, to find the donation total received the prior year. By visiting the websites, Facebook pages, Blog posts, fundraising events and by emailing or speaking with a volunteer from that organization- you can gain a better sense of how donations are utilized. Mere statistics will get you started, contacting the organization(s) and its volunteers will give you a true sense of how your donations are assisting in charitable efforts. In a technology centered era, the information is literally right at our fingertips- with only a few clicks, you can be sure your donations are supporting the issues you believe in. You have the power to decide whether your donations pad the wallets of CEO’s like Wayne Pacelle of the HSUS, or whether your donations help make a true difference, a life-saving difference, at a local level- in your very own community.