In recent months, the Internet has exploded with people’s well-deserved outrage over the plight of animals – from the killing of Cecil the Lion to Caitlyn the South Carolina dog whose mouth was taped shut. That outpouring of emotion suggests that people care deeply about the suffering and deaths of innocent animals, and I believe they really do. However, not a lot of that caring is channeled into actual generosity by giving financial support to the organizations, like the Richmond SPCA, that defend and save the lives of the many animals in crisis in our own community.
You are among the people who do generously support the animals who need us, and I am deeply grateful to you. Because of your devotion to them, I hope you will help us to enlarge that support further because animals need our help so desperately.
We live in a generous nation. In 2014, a total of $358.38 billion was given to charities. The substantial majority of that amount, 60% collectively, went to religious, educational and human services organizations. In 2014, only 3% of charitable giving went to the “environment and animals” category and there was no calculation we could find that isolated the amount given to animal welfare separately from the environment. My guess is that giving to animals accounts for a lot less of that 3% than does the environment. The percentage of foundation funding going to environment and animals (again, it is not split out between them) was less than 6% of the total charitable dollars given by foundations in 2014.
So, when some people say that animals get too large a piece of the giving pie and that more money should go to human causes, their perception is really not supported by the facts. In truth, animals get only a minuscule portion of the charitable dollars given in our country.
Perceptions matter greatly, and it is important to have the real facts not only about where the dollars go but also about where they come from. In 2014, 72% of the $358.38 billion given to charity was given by individuals. Many people think that corporations and foundations are responsible for a lot of the charitable giving, but in truth, it mostly comes from regular people. Corporations actually give a very small part of the total charitable dollars – only 5% – and their giving focuses almost exclusively on the arts, human services and education. Foundation giving is responsible for just 15% of the total. (The remaining 8% comes from death bequests which really are another type of giving by individuals.) Foundations are responsible for even less of the support received by the Richmond SPCA (12%) while just 17% of our support is from corporations.
So, what do these statistics reveal? While people are very generous to meritorious charitable causes, more than 97% of donations go to causes other than ones that save animals. People like you, not institutions, provide the backbone of financial support to charitable causes. I know that you love and are concerned about animals because of your kindness to us in the past. When you make your future giving choices, please consider that animals receive only a tiny fraction of the support most people, and institutional donors, give to other charitable causes. Please help animals by speaking with your friends and family to urge them to join you in supporting the Richmond SPCA and give them the true facts about how little charitable support actually goes to animals.
Animals face so many threats and need us so much. We can save their lives and protect them only if we have the resources to do so. Please give generously to the Richmond SPCA and help us to increase the amount of financial support that goes to the animals we love.
Give now at www.richmondspca.org.
Robin Robertson Starr is the chief executive officer of the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography or that of our other bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires both your first and last name to be used as your screen name.