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Featured Charity: The Humane Society of the United States
From a hoarding situation, Lola snuggled her way into the HSUS family. We all have the capacity to make a tremendous difference in how animals like Lola are treated. So, how exactly can you help the HSUS?
What does your organization do?
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization—America’s mainstream force against cruelty, abuse, and neglect. We help animals by conducting campaigns to reform industries, advocating for strong animal protection standards, providing animal rescue and emergency response, and investigating cases of cruelty. The HSUS and its affiliates also provide direct care for thousands of animals at sanctuaries and rescue facilities, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and mobile veterinary clinics in underserved communities. We all worked together to directly help more than 76,000 animals in 2011.
The HSUS stands out because of the range of issues we address. In addition to our hands-on work with animals, we also take aim at the root causes of cruelty, with major campaigns to crack down on dogfighting and cockfighting, captive hunts, puppy mills, factory farms, horse slaughter, and the commercial fur trade. We promote scientific innovation by driving the development of alternatives to painful animal experiments. We also offer resources and support to other animal advocates, providing shelter standards and evaluations, training programs, a national advertising campaign to promote pet adoption, grant support, and the largest educational conference for the animal shelter community.
We are headquartered in Washington, D.C., and have offices and staff throughout the United States. We have state directors covering 44 states, assisting with on-the-ground rescues, public and corporate outreach, and education campaigns. But we work wherever animals, and the people who care for them, need us. Animal welfare issues don’t stop at state or national borders, of course, so we often partner with our international affiliate, Humane Society International.
How have you responded to the economic crisis?
The HSUS strives to work effectively and efficiently, no matter the economic climate. We are rated a 4-star charity (the highest possible) by Charity Navigator, approved by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance for all 20 standards for charity accountability, voted by GuideStar’s Philanthropedia experts as the #1 high-impact animal protection group, and named by Worth magazine in 2010 as one of the 10 most fiscally responsible charities.
When the economy faltered, our biggest concern was external: A down economy means more animals in danger of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, and smaller budgets for law enforcement and local animal sheltering and rescue groups. The HSUS’s involvement can help local agencies proceed with an investigation or rescue that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford. We continue to build more and stronger relationships with law enforcement and other organizations so we can help even more animals.
Is there a time during the year when you need more help than usual?
Just as animal cruelty knows no borders, unfortunately, there is no time during the year when our need for assistance slows. We are constantly being called on to assist with rescues, and our investigations team is vigilant in tracking down and helping build successful cases against animal abuse, whether it is puppy mills, wildlife poaching, captive hunts, or animal fighting. While the deployments and field responses may take one or two days, the real work and cost is in the veterinary and emergency care, sheltering, food, and special assistance for animals to ensure a safe placement. These are ongoing activities and it can take several months to ready a dog, cat, horse, or wild animal for placement or release to natural habitat. Spring and summer are likely to be busiest because of the incidence of tornadoes, floods, and other natural disasters.
How can I help?
Whether caring for nearly 700 rescued cats in Florida, staffing an information table at a community event, grooming horses in Texas, representing The HSUS at a workplace giving event, feeding baby squirrels in Massachusetts, or hosting a house party to spread the word about an animal welfare issue, our volunteers make the world a more humane place. Click here to learn more about opportunities available now.
Signing up for our email alerts, connecting with us on social networks, subscribing to our blog and becoming a member are the first steps towards helping us help animals. From there you will be informed about recent developments and given opportunities to get more involved.
The most important thing you can do, however, is get involved in some way—whether that’s helping The HSUS, connecting with a local group in your own community, or taking individual action to make the world more humane. The animals need us all to be involved. To see a list of ways you can help in your community and in your everyday life, click here.
How can my company help?
There are a wide variety of ways companies can help The HSUS with our mission to celebrate animals and confront cruelty. Just to name a few, here are some opportunities:
- Event sponsorships,
- Trademark licensing,
- Cause-marketing promotions, and
- Advertising in our two magazines, All Animals and Animal Sheltering.
What kind of impact will my donation have?
Every penny that you give helps animals, whether it is supporting our programs or backing the infrastructure that allows us to succeed and grow.
One of our most publicly visible groups of employees is the HSUS Animal Rescue Team, which over the course of the year could be called on to help animals ranging from toy dogs to tigers. Even small donations can make a big difference to the team’s work.
How long emergency shelters operate varies by situation. Last year, the Animal Rescue Team deployed to Florida for five months when Alachua County Animal Services asked The HSUS and local groups to help remove nearly 700 cats from a sanctuary licensed for 200. We set up an emergency shelter in a warehouse while the court system decided custody, then worked to find a place for every single one of hundreds of healthy or treatable cats, including cats who were FIV-positive or feral.
Of course, some cats helped themselves. Although she was blind in one eye and had a few health problems at the time, one tortoiseshell got herself adopted when she curled up in the lap of the HSUS web designer who had traveled to Florida to help care for the cats. Today, Lola and her new mom do their cuddling back home in Maryland.
It’s an occupational hazard. Sometimes we bring our work home with us.
What do you wish more people knew about your organization?
We believe that one of the fundamental measures of our humanity is how we treat animals.
We have so many opportunities every day to make a big difference in the lives of animals. Being kind and compassionate in how we live our lives helps animals and enhances the human experience by extending our sympathies to other species. Unlike other causes in which it’s difficult to measure the impact of a single individual, we all have the capacity to make a tremendous difference in how animals are treated.
What makes your organization successful?
The HSUS is passionate, pragmatic, ambitious, innovative, and tenacious—all qualities that come in handy when you’re trying to solve complex, institutionalized problems.
Charities should be relentless in their commitment to their mission, creative in their strategies, and determined to make a significant impact. Groups that give supporters opportunities to become active participants in creating meaningful changes thrive in today’s competitive environment.
Do you have any current or upcoming events?
The HSUS has two annual educational conferences:
- Animal Care Expo: This event is for anyone who works or volunteers at the local level in the fields of animal sheltering, care, control, rescue, and disaster planning and response.
- Taking Action for Animals: The purpose of this event is to motivate, inform, and inspire anyone who’d like to make a difference for animals.
- The Future of Fashion: This September in Los Angeles, we’re also hosting our first couture fashion event, H-Couture 2012.
- We hold workshops and lobby days in communities across the country.
To find out about other special events or see if there’s one scheduled in your area, go to www.humanesociety.org/about/events. You can also sign up for email alerts to be notified of upcoming opportunities.
Want to learn more about The Humane Society of the United States?
Web Site: www.humanesociety.org
Mailing Address: 2100 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
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