Calling 2018 a rough year for the Humane Society of the United States is an understatement. A third charity watchdog has downgraded HSUS, this one by CharityWatch, which lowered HSUS to a “D” in its most recent rankings due to HSUS’s highly inefficient spending practices. Those downgrades, of course, come just months after CEO Wayne Pacelle resigned following sexual harassment allegations against him prompted an uprising from HSUS staff and donors.
Previously, Charity Navigator downgraded HSUS, and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance revoked its accreditation of HSUS.
CharityWatch says it made its decision after finding that 48% of HSUS’s budget is spent on overhead costs.
According to HumaneWatch.org, a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom, “HSUS cloaks millions of dollars in overhead as program costs. Essentially, HSUS counts fundraising material as ‘educational’ costs. HSUS counts millions of dollars as ‘program’ expenses in this way.
This appears to be legal under accounting rules, but it’s a misleading and deceptive practice. HSUS tells people that 70% or 80% of its budget is spent on programs, when in reality it’s closer to just 50%.
In February, Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) recinded its HSUS recommendation because, “ACE considers strong, ethical leadership and a healthy work environment to be critical components of an effective charity, we have decided to formally rescind our 2016 Standout recommendation of The Humane Society of the United States’ Farm Animal Protection Campaign.”