I’ve been reading the most recent tax return and financial statement for the Humane Society of the United States. The news is both good and bad. The bad news is that once again HSUS gave only 1 percent of its budget to local groups to help them care for pets. The good news is that HSUS contributions from the public fell significantly. I hope this means more people are giving locally.

According to HSUS’s financial statement, contributions totaled $104.5 million in 2013. That’s no small number, but it is $16.6 million less than HSUS contributions in 2012. That is a very significant drop, and we should ascribe it to the public learning more truth about what HSUS is and isn’t.

However, this $16.6 million drop in HSUS contributions was somewhat offset by an increase in bequests of $8.6 million. What this means is that while HSUS success in soliciting the general public declined, HSUS and its CEO Wayne Pacelle still are able to prey on the elderly. (He’s such a nice young man who cares about those animals, after all.)

Still, a net decline of $8 million in one year is nothing to sneeze at. And there is a lot of room for improvement as more people understand where their money is going (or isn’t going).

Anyone reading this can help. HumaneWatch has its own campaign this holiday season—I’ll omit specifics since HSUS reads this column, too—but everyone can pitch in.

  1. On social media, share some of our stories about how HSUS has put $50 million into Caribbean hedge funds in the past two years or how it spends 35 percent of its budget on supporting friends at fundraising companies who keep most of the money they raise. Or, share our video “Wayne Pacelle: The Predator” and expose how HSUS’s CEO manipulates donors, who are predominantly women.
  2. Talk to your family and friends when you see them. It’s quite possible that someone close to you gives to HSUS unwittingly. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance had a recent post about how a member’s aunts—who were pro-sportsmen—were under the false impression that HSUS is associated with local animal shelters. If family members do have an animal group in their will, make sure it’s a specific (local) group and not HSUS or an ambiguous “the Humane Society.”
  3. Help your local shelter raise money or get volunteers. This serves a dual purpose by helping animals locally while helping others distinguish between local groups and HSUS.

There’s an old saying that Rome wasn’t built in a day. But together—between farmers and ranchers, sportsmen, pet enthusiasts, and others—we’re on the right track with HSUS.

Rick Berman is the Executive Director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies and consumers to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices. Visit HumaneWatch.org to learn more. The comments presented in this commentary are expressly those of the author.