From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1995:

“By significantly expanding the scale and
scope of their groups’ activities” during the past decade,
“the directors of environmental organizations hoped to
capitalize on Americans’ increasing demands for environ-
mental quality,” say Christopher Boerner and Jennifer
Chilton Kallery of the Center for the Study of American
Business at Washington University in St. Louis, in a new
report entitled Restructuring Environmental Big Business.
“Unfortunately, as many U.S. corporations have discov-
ered, expansion away from an organization’s core compe-
tency often has numerous disadvantages,” including inten-
sified competition for donor dollars and loss of concentra-
tion on achieving key goals. Examples of groups in trou-
ble include Greenpeace , down to 3.5 million members
from a peak 4.8 million; the Sierra Club, down from
630,000 members to 500,000; the Wilderness Society,
down from 400,000 members to 275,000; the National
Audubon Society, which posted a deficit of $1.7 million
in 1993; and the National Wildlife Federation, which
has been reducing staff since 1992. Humane societies and
animal rights groups have not been hit as hard, partly
because most have remained more closely focused.
However, Boerner and Chilton Kallery note that groups
“employing highly emotional and often misleading cam-
paigns,” including “apocalyptic prophecies,” have suf-
fered significant erosion of public trust.

Animal-related charities have median
receipts of $136,000 apiece, according to a recent study
of nonprofit life cycles by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
president William Bowen. Twelve percent of animal-
related charities have annual receipts of over $1 million;
17% take in $25,000 to $50,000. Measuring the growth of
causes by organizational starts, Bowen found that the
number of animal-related charities grew by 13.5% per year
from 1965 through 1975, as humane societies formed in
newly developed suburbs––but grew by only 5.9% per
year from 1976 through 1988, despite the takeoff of the
animal rights movement during that period. However, the
growth of the animal-related charity sector remained faster
than that of education (4.7%), arts and culture (4.1%),
health (4%), and human services (3.8%).
According to the Council of Better Business
Bureau’s Philanthropic Advisory Service, of the top
150 U.S. charities, half wrote off direct mail costs––47%
of the costs, on average––as “program expense.” The
CBBB-PAS also found that the salaries of chief executives
at major nonprofits slipped 1% in 1993––but the 150 exec-
utives surveyed still averaged $110,723 apiece, 10% more
than the total budget of ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Dues-paying members of organizations give
three times as much money as other donors, according
to a new study by Independent Sector. The study also
found that 75% of the people who do volunteer work as
children continue to volunteer as adults, giving charities
an average of 4.2 hours a week.
Professional fundraisers keep from 33% to
40% of the money they collect for charity, new reports
from the attorney general’s offices of California and
Minnesota conclude. Effective January 1, professional
fundraisers in California are limited to 50% of the take,
but are challenging the new law in court.
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