“The company doing the ‘mail-outs’ gets most of the money”

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2003:

“The company doing the ‘mail-outs’ gets most of the money”
–another ex-Eberle client

McLEAN, Va.-Fundraiser Bruce Eberle, representing many of
the animal protection charities with the highest ratios of
fundraising to program expense of all those whose IRS Form 990
filings ANIMAL PEOPLE monitors, has apparently both gained and lost
animal protection clients since ANIMAL PEOPLE last listed those known
to be associated with him.
Discontinuing a relationship with Eberle is the Dream Catcher
Farm, Sanctuary, of Rocky Mount, Virginia.
“We are no longer using any type of fundraising company,”
founder Catherine Sutphin wrote in an open letter to donors. “We
tried using one for a couple of ‘mail-outs,’ but not all the money
went to the sanctuary for the horses. We would net about 8%-10%…
The company doing the ‘mail-outs’ gets most of the money for mailing
list rentals, bank statements, designing, printing, [and] stuffing and mailing letters.

“Further,” Sutphin said, “I find it gut-wrenching to
receive a letter [asking me] to donate money to something that shows
pictures of sick, physically injured, and blind animals. I
understand this type of thing may work to draw money, but we hope to
prove that theory wrong.”
Sutphin’s words parallel those of another former Eberle
client, Kay McElroy of the Cedarhill Animal Sanctuary in Caledonia,
Mississippi, whose experience ANIMAL PEOPLE detailed in an October
Eberle appears to have gained as a client Peaceful Valley
Donkey Rescue, of Acton, California, founded about two years ago
by former Wild Burro Rescue volunteers Mark and Amy Meyers.
Diana Chontos and her former husband Gene Chontos began Wild
Burro Rescue in 1990 after learning while on a wilderness trek with
their domesticated burros that the National Park Service was shooting
wild burros in Death Valley and the Mojave Desert. WBR has managed
to prevent further burro shootings since 1994 by annually removing
quotas of burros allocated by the Park Service.
The initial Eberle appeal for Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue
solicits help to prevent a resumption of the shooting. This could
happen under pressure of bighorn sheep reintroduction proponents,
who say the presence of the burros inhibits the recovery of the sheep.
Feral burros and sheep coexisted in the Mojave for nearly 500
years, until competition and diseases from domestic sheep combined
with hunting pressure in the mid-20th century to drive the sheep
toward extinction.
The most recent IRS Form 990 filings of other known Eberle
animal protection clients show fundraising plus administrative costs
of up to 86% for Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue; 69% for Tiger Haven;
54% for Tiger Creek; and an indeterminate total for Wildlife
Waystation because the line on the Form 990 where fees paid to
professional fundraisers are supposed to be declared was left blank.
No current Form 990 is available for Great Cats In Crisis,
Noah’s Lost Ark, and other apparent Eberle clients.
The Wise Giving Alliance recommends a ceiling of 35% for
combined fundraising plus administrative expense.
Eberle accused ANIMAL PEOPLE in a lawsuit filed in July 2002
of libel and interfering in his business relationship with the Dream
Catcher Farm, Sanctuary, although ANIMAL PEOPLE is unaware of
having had any contact with anyone associated with it while it was an
Eberle client.
Obliged by the Circuit Court of Fairfax County to refile the
charge of interfering with a business relationship, due to initial
inspecificity, Eberle claimed in the refiling that ANIMAL PEOPLE
cost him relationships with the Yellowstone Park Foundation, Vital
Ground Foundation, and Summit Assistance Dogs. ANIMAL PEOPLE is
also unaware of having ever had direct contract with these.
ANIMAL PEOPLE recently rejected a “settlement offer” from
Eberle which amounted to demanding that ANIMAL PEOPLE should cease
all critical coverage of his fundraising operations and allow him to
advertise. ANIMAL PEOPLE made clear that while we will correct any
factual error in our coverage pertaining to anyone, if it is
actually shown to be an error, we will not compromise the integrity
of either our news coverage or our advertising acceptance policy.
The ANIMAL PEOPLE coverage pertaining to Eberle is grouped at
our web site, <www.animalpeoplenews.org>, accessible by clicking
“Why is fundraiser Bruce Eberle suing us?”
Relevant documentation of Eberle’s history may also be
accessed, including a special report by Laura Miller of the Center
for Media and Democracy, and the conclusion of the 1992 U.S. Senate
Select Committee on MIA/POW that Eberle in the early 1980s produced
“clear examples of misleading solicitations” pertaining to the
MIA/POW issue.

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