According to CNN, very little of the money given to SPCA International is actually going to help animals in need.
The organization’s tax forms are available on charity watchdog GuideStar (if you register for free). They show that SPCA International had revenues of a little over $14 million in 2010.
Of this, about $60,000 was given out in grants to other organizations, and about $5.5 million was used to buy and ship animal medical supplies. Salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes cost $329,000; professional services like lawyers and accountants ate up $318,000; office expenses were $70,000; and travel expenses totaled $255,000. A whopping $9 million was spent on marketing.
As a rule of thumb, most A-list charities spend no more than 15% of their income on overhead and administrative expenses, leaving 85% for direct care of their clients. On income of $14 million, this would mean that no more than $2.1 million would be spent on administration and overheads. Although it is well recognized that you have to spend money to get people to donate, spending $9 million on marketing seems excessive.
In previous posts on this blog, I have recommended you donate to (or at least be aware of) an organization known as Baghdad Pups, which was assisting in the transport of dogs from war zones to the US. This organization is part of SPCA International, and it turns out that Baghdad Pups’ spokesperson Terri Crisp misrepresented the organization to raise funds, and has a reputation for doing the same thing with other organizations in the past, as reported on Anderson Cooper’s show in the video above.
None of which is to say that local SPCA organizations aren’t doing good works. However, it would seem that the international organization isn’t really helping the cause. Before you donate, check out your local SPCA or other shelters on GuideStar to make sure your money is going where you intended it to.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!