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How Much of ASPCA Donations Go to Animals? Facts & FAQ

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

man in volunteer shirt petting a dog in a shelter

How Much of ASPCA Donations Go to Animals? Facts & FAQ

The ASPCA is registered as a non-profit organization, and it is widely known for collecting donations to help prevent cruelty to animals and support rescue organizations throughout the United States. It’s been around for about 150 years and has been known to do excellent work for animals in need. However, there’s a bit of confusion regarding how much of ASPCA donations actually go to animals that desperately need the assistance. It seems that a significant percentage does get donated, but it’s not as high as perhaps it should be. Here are the rumors and the facts as we know them.

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The ASPCA Is Not Affiliated With Local SPCAs

Does ASPCA really help animals? Overall, yes, they do. That said, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, is not affiliated with local SPCA programs that are maintained in various states throughout the country. The SPCA is an international organization that works to promote and support local programs in the United States and a multitude of countries worldwide.

The ASPCA is a national organization that only works within the U.S. and does not collaborate with the international, similarly named organization in any substantial way. So, when you donate to the ASPCA, chances are that none of the money will get to your local organizations. Similarly, donating to your local SPCA will keep funds nearby but won’t support animals in other parts of the country.

young nice looking couple wants to adopt beautiful dog at animal shelter
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

Social Media Posts Claim That the ASPCA Only Donates Minimal Amounts of Money

Certain social media posts online (note that the linked one has been labeled for incomplete information and/or misinformation) claim that the ASPCA spends only a meager $0.03 of every donated dollar on things like veterinary supplies and animal transportation. These posts also claim that the CEO of the ASPCA makes a six-figure income (about $600,000 a year, plus bonuses), thus highlighting the disparity between corporate income and money spent on saving the lives of animals. If this is true, it means giving money to the organization only thickens the pockets of those at the top and isn’t spent to help animals overall.

USA Today Claims Otherwise

USA Today fact-checked the claims posted on Facebook and other social media sites and found that the claims in the posts are not accurate and in fact, are misleading. After looking into filings, the news organization concluded that the ASPCA spent more than 34% of its charitable contributions on veterinary care and much-needed shelter in 2019 alone. Like all tax-exempt organizations, the ASPCA must file a 990 form that outlines how any money received was spent.

According to USA Today, the organization spends much more money than social media posts suggest, with funding going to more than 24 groups of programs meant to help animals in need in some form or fashion. A spokesperson for the ASPCA stated that upward of $0.77 per dollar that comes into the organization is spent on animal-saving related programs throughout the United States.

woman volunteer in animal shelter
Image Credit: David Tadevosian, Shutterstock

CBS and HumaneWatch Have Their Own Views

While USA Today has its own stance about how the ASPCA operates when it comes to spending donor money, organizations like CBS, HumaneWatch, and Fox News differ. First, Fox News reports that a think tank discovered that ASPCA spends just 2% of its income on pet shelters while keeping the rest within the organization.

After its own investigation, CBS News reports that ASPCA spending is likely not what donors of the organization expect. Revenue for the organization was $280 million in 2019, and of that amount, little has gone to help local SPCAs and other organizations. It seems that donors expect their money to trickle down into community programs.

HumaneWatch reports that the ASPCA shortchanges animals and donors. It claims that the CEO makes nearly $1 million a year, with a salary that works out to more than $400 an hour. It also states that the ASPCA maintains an offshore account with around $11 million in it. Finally, Charity Watch, a watchdog organization that monitors charities, gives the ASPCA a “C” grade when it comes to how its budget is spent to help animals in need.

Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

Should You Donate to the ASPCA?

Deciding whether to donate money to the ASPCA is a solely personal decision. If you are comfortable with where and how the organization will spend your money and you want to contribute, go for it! If you’d rather not donate for whatever reason, that is your decision to make, and it’s perfectly okay. Just keep in mind that if you are passionate or concerned about helping animals in your community, don’t overlook your local SPCA and similar programs.

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The ASPCA has been known to do good work, but how it spends all its money is not entirely clear. If you are comfortable with how the ASPCA does its work and you want to contribute to its mission, please do so! Just don’t forget about the local shelters and organizations that can make a bigger impact within your community.

Featured Image Credit: Max kegfire, Shutterstock

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