Where does the money go? Part III

The “greatest spectacle in dog walking” is upon us again, offering an opportunity to walk around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with proceeds going to help the animals. Or are they?

The Mutt Strut is the biggest fund-raiser for the local animal welfare organization with the brand name “humane”. Organizers have recruited local celebrities to promote the event. Historically, the Mutt Strut has annually raised more than a quarter million dollars and is expected to do so again. So one might ask…

Just where does the money go?

According to the latest available IRS Form 990 for IndyHumane, beneficiary of the Mutt Strut, gross receipts for the event in 2011 were $327,930. Direct expenses to run that Mutt Strut were $125,060, or 38% of the receipts. Translation: For every dollar spent walking the track to “help the animals”, only 62 cents goes toward the animals. So when more than 1.25 million dollars in grant money to help “fix” the problem of too many stray animals is awarded to a coalition headed by this organization, can we be certain that that is where the money is actually going?

Where else might the money be going?

The bigger the agency budget, the more donations are required to “help the animals”. Consider these 2011 numbers for IndyHumane overhead:

Total salaries and benefits: $1,454,575
Executive salary: $100,000
Mailing services contractor: $170,000
Professional fundraising expenses: $42,567
Total fundraising expenses: $449,551
Total liabilities: $3,059,632

How about other local, recognized animal welfare organizations, ones that don’t kill treatable, adoptable animals?

The Indianapolis area has a number of organizations dedicated to the rescue, care, spaying/neutering and adoption of homeless animals. For example:

Southside Animal Shelter

Total salaries and benefits: $179,081
Executive salary: $0
Mailing services contractor: $0
Professional fundraising expenses: $0
Total fundraising expenses: $1,791
Total liabilities: $ 19,458

FACE Clinic

Total salaries and benefits: $1,006,444
Executive salary: $49,732
Mailing services contractor: $0
Professional fundraising expenses: $0
Total fundraising expenses: $24,997
Total liabilities: $63,418

What about these other local, unrecognized animal welfare organizations that, together, cares for and adopts out thousands of animals each year, with a fraction of the overhead of the brand name agency? They include:

A Critters Chance
ARPO
Beagle Buddies
Chihuahua Rescue
Every Dog Counts Rescue
Heart for Dog Rescue
Indiana House Rabbit Society
Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue
Love of Labs Indy
Lucky Dog Retreat Rescue
Mended Hearts Indy
Waldo’s Muttley Crew

The balance sheet for each of them is:

Total salaries and benefits: $0
Executive salary: 0
Mailing services contractor: 0
Professional fundraising expenses: 0
Total fundraising expenses: marginal to none

When you’re thinking of making a donation to help animals, consider the demand on the organization’s resources. The higher the operating expenses, the lower the amount of your donation that actually goes to help the animals. Give with your heart AND your head.

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Animal Philanthropy – Where Does the Money go?

Where does the money go? Some history. Part II

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