Defenders of Wildlife: Misleading fundraising?

220px-Everglades_National_Park_Florida_PantherSeveral months ago my wife and I went to a Florida Panthers (hockey) game.  During one of the periods I took a walk around the arena and came across a booth with people promoting conservation of the Florida Panther (Puma Concolor Coryi), a critically endangered subspecies of panther that exists in south Florida.  I spent quite a bit of time talking to the people about the panthers and the discussion migrated to wolf dogs and wolf-like dogs since one of them had a husky / malamute service dog with them.  Their setup and their paperwork didn’t give any kind of hint that they were associated with a larger organization and I was under the impression that they were a local organization  I decided to give them a donation of $20 and they gave me a small stuffed panther.

My concerns started the next day when I noticed the tag on the stuffed panther said “Defenders of Wildlife”.  I didn’t jump to conclusions at the time since I had also given them my email address.  I was hoping that DOW had given these panthers to the group as a donation to help with the conservation.  Over the next few months I watched my email account and did not receive any emails from DOW so I thought that the panthers were donated to the group from DOW.

Well, today I received proof that it was, in fact, Defenders of Wildlife at the arena.  I received a letter from them thanking me for my $20 donation and it will go to help the “crisis” in Wyoming (in regards to the wolf hunts).  Now, I am angry at the organization.  I gave the money to help with Florida Panther conservation, not wolf conservation in Wyoming (don’t forget, I am a huge advocate for wolves and other predators and do a lot of work with The Wolf Army and Wolf Army USA).  Yes, it is a needed cause but this money was geared for Florida panther conservation.  I feel like I had been lied to by Defenders of Wildlife.

Of course, most of the “thank you” letter was asking for more donations.  But something else bothers me.

They say “91 cents out of every dollar goes towards conservation”.  They also show 9% goes towards fundraising.  When you look at their tax returns, you will see that there is a lot more to the organization and according to their tax refunds, fund-raising does take up about 9% of their money.  This means, salaries of their directors (yes, they are paid) comes out of the money slated for animal conservation.  All other money used also comes out of this part of their money.  A more accurate representation would be that 9% of their money goes towards fund raising while the other 91% goes towards everything else.

It looks like Defenders of Wildlife are openly participating in deceptive fundraising practices.  This bring up another question – what else are they deceiving us about?

Sadly, we now have to pay a lot of attention to organizations and charities we donate our hard-earned money to.

Leave a Reply