You Asked: Joining Forces for Animals
Today, I'd like to take some time to respond to a question sent in by member Sandra Siims—a question I often hear from our supporters.
Q. As a member of the Humane Society [of the United States], NWF, WWF, Doris Day, Defenders of Wildlife and other animal groups, I wish you could all band together as one big organization not only for us, the people who send you money, but for the joint membership that would bring you much more clout when lobbying for votes in congress. I just got two groups asking for money—my SPCA and ASPCA. I am not made of money; however I want to help those without voices to live at least a comfortable life. I currently have two indoor cats, one dog and feral cats that I feed, not to mention the squirrels, skunks and anything else that comes up on my property. Please consider joining forces with one main head and many sub groups, pool the money and disburse it in a manner where it would be the most effective for the cause that has priority.
A. Sandra, your question is music to my ears. I agree with you entirely and since I took over as president and CEO of The HSUS in 2004, I have been trying to do exactly as you say. In January 2005, we merged our operations with The Fund for Animals, and in October 2006, we merged with the Doris Day Animal League. All three entities still exist, but we synchronize all of our activities, and we have eliminated a number of duplicative functions for the organizations.
Read our 2006 Annual Report [PDF].
The merger with The Fund for Animals and Doris Day Animal League resulted in improved efficiency ratios (Program Expense/Total Expense) for both organizations. The Fund 's efficiency ratio improved from 78 to 89 percent, an increase of 11 percent; DDAL's efficiency ratio improved from 75 to 83 percent, and increase of 8 percent. Thus, one of positives of the mergers was to reduce the cost of fundraising and administering for both organizations by using The HSUS infrastructure—leaving more money for programs.
In addition to having more program dollars available, certain program's expenditures were redirected to eliminate duplication (where programs were duplicative with The HSUS) and to fund important new initiatives. The Fund's savings/redirection of funds (approximately $900,000) permitted the formation of the Animal Protection Litigation section and the Campaigns section at The HSUS—and these sections have ushered in a massive number of reforms for animals during the last two to three years. The DDAL savings/redirection (approximately $500,000) permitted enhanced lobbying and the formation of the Equine Protection department.
If you have a comment to share or a question about The HSUS, offer a comment through the blog or email your query. I may post it in a future blog.