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ASPCA says 80 percent of donations go to animals

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has sad, heartrending commercials on TV. What percentage of my $18 per month donation actually goes to the care of animals?

— Leroy, Eagle Point

A donor service representative with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, said 80 percent of donations goes directly to help animals.

The other 20 percent pays for other expenses such as advertising and administration.

Donors like you who give automatic monthly donations through the ASPCA Guardians program help the organization spend less on fundraising and more on saving the lives of animals, according to ASPCA's website.

Charity Navigator gave the ASPCA a rating of 81.86 on a scale of 0 to 100 based on 2013 financial reports. Charity Navigator said the organization spent 61.3 percent of donations on programs, 32.8 percent on fundraising and 5.8 percent on administrative expenses.

Among major animal welfare organizations, Charity Navigator said, PetSmart Charities, a nonprofit organization separate from PetSmart stores, scored the best with 94.81 points on a scale of 0 to 100.

PetSmart Charities works with other groups to support the adoption of shelter pets, spay/neuter programs and other activities to help animals. It spent 92.6 percent of donations on programs, 4.8 percent on fundraising and 2.5 percent on administration, Charity Navigator said.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals scored 72.38 points after getting dinged in the categories of asset diversification and whether it has independent voting board members. PETA spent 83.8 percent of donations on programs, 14.9 percent on fundraising and 1.1 percent on administration, according to Charity Navigator.

The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance rated the ASPCA using financial data from 2012 and said it spent 77 percent of donations on programs, 19 percent on fundraising and 4 percent on administration. Its expenses for that year were nearly $168 million.

The ASPCA met the BBB's 20 standards for charity accountability, which include fundraising expenses, effectiveness and board oversight measurements.

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