Supporters of The HSUS invest in us, and they expect a yield―in the form of animals rescued, cruelty prevented, and awareness built. These are the dividends that matter. I make an effort to provide an organizational accounting on this blog, listing at the end of 2011 my take on our top achievements for the past year, our role in driving the national discussion in the media, and our programmatic accomplishments in fighting for companion animals, wildlife, farm animals, and other creatures.
But it’s also nice to look at the numbers and see how The HSUS compares to others in the nonprofit sector. That’s why I am glad to report that last week both The HSUS and Humane Society International received four stars, the highest rating, from Charity Navigator for their performance in the previous year. Charity Navigator is the nation’s foremost independent charity evaluator, and the four-star rating means that a charity “outperforms most other charities in America.”
We got high marks for transparency and for our ratios of program spending to fundraising expense. For 2010, the fiscal year which underpins the four-star ratings, The HSUS’s program expenses as a percentage of total expenses were 77 percent, and HSI’s were 86.2 percent, far exceeding the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance standard of 65 percent.
In 2010, Worth Magazine named The HSUS one of the nation's 10 most fiscally responsible charities, and looking at the 1,000 largest charitable entities in the country, Cone and Intangible Business recognized The HSUS as the 10th strongest brand of any non-profit. Last year, GuideStar’s Philanthropedia, surveying nearly 170 animal protection experts, ranked The HSUS as the top nonprofit with the highest impact for animals. The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance approves The HSUS for meeting or exceeding all 20 standards for charity accountability.
There’s another indicator of our effectiveness: what our opponents say about us. Consult their newsletters, trade journals, or websites―whether it’s the cockfighters, seal clubbers, captive hunters, exotic animal owners, puppy millers, factory farmers, or others―and just about every one of them is trained on The HSUS and its impact. We even have a multi-million dollar brand attack focused on us from notorious PR hit-man Rick Berman, who is funded in his efforts by the animal abuse industry. He’s the same guy who has made a career of standing in the way of efforts to crack down on smoking and drunk driving, and even undermining efforts to protect pregnant women from consuming fish with high levels of mercury―and now he is focused on The HSUS because we are the greatest threat to animal abusers everywhere.
Add all of this up, and it tells you what you need to know: The HSUS gets tangible results every day, we get the highest marks from our peers in animal protection and from third-party charity watchdogs, and we attract the ire of the largest and most entrenched animal-use groups in the world. That’s a pretty great track record, we think, and we hope you agree.