A CBS News investigation published earlier this month asked whether the money taken in by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) goes where donors expect. I think the answer, as many readers are already aware, is no. So where does the money go?
Since 2008, the ASPCA has raised more than $2 billion for animal welfare. In that time, it has spent $146 million, or about 7% of the total money raised, in grants to local animal welfare groups. But during that same time period it spent nearly three times that, at least $421 million, on fundraising.
Fundraising. Not the least of which are those shivering, one-eyed dogs commercials from the ASPCA pleading for immediate donations of $19 a month to help animals in need right now. CBS News reports where that money goes:
According to information from the organization’s 2019 tax forms, $7.75 of each $19 donation went toward hands-on help with animals across the country, and $6.88 went toward public education, communication, policy, response and engagement. This includes things that include appeals for donations like telemarketing and direct mailings. Another $3.65 went toward membership development and other kinds of fundraising. The remainder, about 75 cents, was spent on management.
Management. Per CBS News, the ASPCA’s chief executive officer made over $840,000 in 2019. That’s an awful lot of 75 cent allotments.
And regarding that immediate need for donations so that suffering animals can be saved:
[M]ore than $28 million of the total money raised in 2019 was not reflected in spending that year. CBS News found that the ASPCA has been building up its net assets, going from just under $62 million in net assets in 2000 to over $340 million in 2019.
I guess some of those one-eyed dogs are going to have to hold on a little longer and hope the other eye doesn’t fall out while they wait because the ASPCA is building up its net assets. Would you have any Grey Poupon?
While many donors think of the ASPCA as the umbrella organization for all the local SPCAs around the country, there is in reality no affiliation. Some of the local SPCAs emphasize this fact to potential donors in order to avoid confusion. But the ASPCA seems to prefer confusion:
Between 2009 and 2019, the ASPCA made more than $3.2 million selling donor lists. […] But according to Jo Sullivan at the Houston SPCA, not everyone is granted access to the list, even if they are willing to pay.
“We were denied access to that list specifically because there is a disclaimer on our mailings that says that we do not receive any support from national nonprofits, including national SPCAs,” Sullivan said.
Wow. Impressively petty. We won’t take your money (to save animals) because you told on us. I think some dog’s last eyeball just popped out.