Back in November of 2007, I wrote a piece on this blog entitled Why the Humane Society Will Never Change in which I asked:
"Would people donate [to HSUS] if they knew 70 cents out of every dollar they gave to HSUS was spent to send out more direct mail? NO. .... Would folks continue to donate to HSUS if they knew the organization did almost nothing to help fund local animal shelters? NO."
In another post, I detailed the mechanics of the HSUS' direct mail machine in which I concluded that:
"I think, if you follow my narrative, you will see I am really quite conservative when I say 70 to 75 cents out of every dollar most folks give to HSUS will simply go to paying for more direct mail. The real figure, for the average donor to HSUS, is well over 100 percent."
Well, guess what? I was right, and the The Los Angeles Times has finally caught up with me.
They report that the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) gets a "net return" of only 11 percent on their direct mail, and that PETA gets 28 percent. When the cost of central-office management is factored in, I have no doubt the true numbers are even lower.
What this means is that 90 percent of the direct mail money folks are giving to the Humane Society of the U.S. goes down the rat hole of more direct mail, most of which is tossed out unopened, having first been chainsawed out of ancient boreal forests in Canada). About 75 percent of the money folks give to PETA goes down the rat hole of more direct mail as well.
And what of the remaining money -- the small fraction that goes to "program?" In the case of HSUS, not one dime goes to support local shelters, but quite a lot goes to support folks like Wayne Pacelle and his staff who oversee the direct mail machine.
And over at PETA, of course, they have to keep their kill shelter going -- the PETA animal shelter where 90 percent of the dogs that enter are killed using "the blue solution."
At the end of an earlier piece, I wrote:
"If Wayne Pacelle or anyone at HSUS wants to go over specific HSUS numbers with me, I am more than happy to do so, as I work right around the corner from their office in Washington, D.C., and I would be only too happy to drop by to pick up a copy of their accounting ledgers.
In fact, if Mr. Pacelle will give me a copy of their raw direct mail expense and income data (not the processed IRS-990 data, but the real numbers showing the costs of postage, printing, paper, creative consultants, cost of caging operations, etc), I will buy him lunch and we can go over the data and run a cohort analysis to figure out how long it takes for a HSUS member to 'go green' and get out of the red.
My only stipulation is that after I run the data, I can publicize it. After all, who knew truth to suffer in a free and open investigation?
If am wrong about the fact that 70-75% of all HSUS direct mail money is going out to pay for more direct mail, I will be more than happy to report my error. After all, as Charles Barkley so famously said, 'I could be wrong . . . but I doubt it.'"
And was I wrong this time?
No I was not. As I said in my original post, my numbers were conservative. And they were. It turns out that the real data is even worse.