Monday, August 1, 2011

Animal Groups Barking At ASPCA

Here is a sample of one of the aritcles appearing in this month's edition of The NonProfit Times:

As the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has grown revenue by 50 percent in recent years, some local SPCAs are becoming increasingly upset that donors are confusing it for an umbrella organization for other animal welfare nonprofits.

The local groups say donors believe that by giving to ASPCA they are also giving to aid local animal rescue organizations.

“The misunderstanding of the name is certainly what's at the core of this current discussion going on,” said Carter Luke, president and CEO the past six years at Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA). He added that he often hears from people who confuse the organizations, thanking MSPCA for something ASPCA did.

“The confusion in the minds of the public has been there certainly since the 1860s, I'd guess,” said Luke. ASPCA was founded 1866 while MSPCA was started in 1868. “What's happened in recent years -- what brought it to the forefront anyway – was a noticeable change in marketing and advertising from the ASPCA around the country,” said Luke.

“We hear this story constantly from people who confuse this. If our last name was humane society, it might not be the same confusion. There is no national umbrella organization,” said Luke, adding that the issue has caused confusion elsewhere.

“Sometimes people look at the Red Cross, with local chapters scattered around the country, but they are connected. The public generally understands that model; there's a national entity with local entities,” Luke said.

There are some who portray the dispute as being about money. Luke disagrees. “It's important for the public to know where their donations are going and what services are provided by it,” he said. “We're making sure we tell our story. We recognize there is no parent organization.”

He said, “In some sense, it's a rising tide raises all ships – the more people involved in helping animals, the better.”

Head on over to NPT's website to read the full story.

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