Where does your donation go?

I recently wrote a paper for my course work that looked at the fundraising machines known as the Humane Society of the United States and PeTA. The assignment was to compare how they raised money and how successful they were. I didn’t feel like just looking at the fundraising tools and income those generated was sufficient, I wanted to delve a little deeper into what they DID with the money.

I’m putting the paper here since several people have asked to read it and this is a good central area to post in. Keep in mind we were limited on word count – in the future I may write an expanded version because there is a LOT more to say!

“Select two large animal welfare organizations and analyze their approach to fundraising or marketing. Discuss the pros and cons of the approach and how it does or doesn’t lead to the organization’s overall effectiveness. This paper should not be shorter than 600 words nor exceed 1,800 words.” I’ve included the original ads so you judge the effectiveness of them yourself.

HSUS – How successful/effective they are depends on your definition of success. Their ads are often compelling:

Sad puppy face, please for money, makes its point simply and boom, you’re done. Or this one:

Very sad kitty face, don’t you want to be a hero?

 How about this one:

Rescue Animals NOW!! (dot org) – if you go to RescueAnimalsNow.org you’re taken straight here:

Pretty clever, eh?

Just how good? In 2012 (the last year I could get their income tax forms) they raked in $112,833,027 in gifts, grants, contributions and membership fees. Since 2008 they’ve brought in $510,470,513, including the $50,000 ‘grant’ in 2009 from the Philadelphia Eagles for partnering with Michael Vick and saying he’s ‘reformed’. Half a billion dollars in 5 years is GOOD. That’s a lot of $19-a-month-to-save-the-sad-puppy-mill-puppies gifts, in fact 92.49% of the monies raised in 2013 was through public supported gifts etc.

If I’m going to support an organization, one of the first places I start with is Charity Navigator. What grade did HSUS get in 2011 (the last year they have info on) Oh…not so good, only around a C. So I read all 133 pages of IRS Form 990 because, you know, I’m a curious girl. Now I claim NO sort of accounting skills, no financial guru-type stuff, and the unfortunate timing of this module meant I couldn’t ask any of my tax pro friends because it’s THAT time of year. I’m all on my own here and I have to say it was FASCINATING stuff. All those puppy ads work miracles!  Let’s just pass right over the amount they pay in salaries ($32, 499, 673), or what they paid lobbyists ($2,438,529) and head straight to Advertising and Promotion – $15,009,718. Direct Response Costs came to $9,823,229. I started to lose track of the commas.


The bottom line End of Year Assets were $195,410,586. Cool huh? But what do they BUY with all of that? The REALLY interesting stuff is on the Activities Outside the United States pages – some areas scored some pretty decent grants, like Sub-Saharan Africa got $40,332 for a rabies and vaccine campaign and a rural neutering program. The Middle East and North Africa weren’t nearly as lucky, they only received $2,800 for stray animal project development. The BIG score was Central America and the Caribbean, $25,678,184! What for, you might ask? A natural disaster, something like another oil spill? Nope, Cayman Islands hedge funds. They actually put more into their executive pensions in 2009 ($2,592,272) than into supporting pet shelters ($976,775).


But let’s come back to the United States. National Outdoor Sports raised $35,801,399, kept $1,890,820 and sent $33,910,579 to the HSUS. How nice! Those cars you can donate? They brought in $399,498 so that’s good.  Under fundraising activities:

“The HSUS and its affiliated entities rely on a substantial and longstanding program of direct mail fundraising to support the full range of activities they undertake….direct mail fundraising helps create greater awareness of our campaigns and our concern, and has allowed us to build a constituency of supporters unmatched in the humane field…To complement direct mail, the HSUS relies on larger individual gifts solicited by regional fundraisers, planned giving, foundation grants, telephone solicitation, workplace giving, bequests, and most recently direct response television announcements.”
This is my all-time favorite ad:

This plea for funds came out just after Wayne Pacelle said the dogs should be KILLED “Officials from our organization have examined some of these dogs and, generally speaking, they are some of the most aggressively trained pit bulls in the country” How much money did any of the rescues that eventually took all but one of the dogs receive from HSUS? Not a penny. The bill came to slightly over $900,000 to rehab and pay for sanctuary care and that came from Vick’s estate NOT the HSUS.

The other delightful item of note here is the “The HSUS….is now overseeing the care of the 52 pitbulls seized from Vick’s property…” Bullshit. They DID NOT oversee anything except the perception of themselves in the media, and not all the dogs seized from Vick were pitbulls, so if you can’t get some very basic facts straight what ELSE is being spun?
Since I seem to like numbers here are some others – HSUS fundraised for helping animals displaced after Katrina to the tune of $34 million. To date only $7 million can be accounted for, spent assisting a handful or organization. The HSUS DOES have the  caveat on SOME of their fundraising literature “to support all our vital animal protection
programs” or something of that ilk but $28 million went elsewhere and I’m guessing the donors might want an explanation. The same tactics were used to raise funds after Hurricane Sandy, this time $1.9 million was raised and to date only 20% has been disbursed to organizations directly involved with Sandy. Gotta wonder if Mr. Pacelle isn’t a friend of Chris Christie since they seem to have the same sensibilities when it comes to relief aid.
Is the organization effective? Maybe. Do the raise a lot of money? Yes. Do the raise
awareness? To some degree. While researching them I reads LOTS of articles on Humane Watch. That is not to say I believe everything THEY say. I like to think I have better critical thinking skills than that but they did have some good points. They are, in many ways, just as crazy as HSUS and PeTA, just in a different way. They do point out that the HSUS VP, Joe Maxwell, owns Heritage Acres, a pork processing plant that was suspended by the USDA for violations of the humane slaughter/treatment regulations in 2009. For an organization that promotes a vegan lifestyle (HSUS) this might seemingly present a conundrum, “Do as I say not as I do” seems to be the message. I have no problem if they want to promote a vegan agenda, but then use farm animals to raise your funds. Using the cute and fluffy kitties and puppies is disingenuous.

They spent a lot of time during the BP oil spill talking about “gearing up” and  getting “ready to act” without doing a SINGLE thing to help out; no rolling up of sleeves, no writing of a large check (or small for that matter) to build or support a wildlife rehab facility, which they could EASILY do!

The real question is – What are they going to do for “all the helpless little puppies, kittens, dogs and cats”? Less than 1% of what they took in in 2012 went to any sort of animal shelter in this country. One Percent.

Yes, the lobby, they raise money, and the gnash their teeth over the fate of farm animals. The do some good undercover work but when you call the new media to splash tapes of your latest investigation all over the 10 o’clock news report BEFORE you call the local authorities you’re grandstanding and have lost sight of your mission.


Having to spend some time on their website was akin to falling into a pool filled with fecal matter. Compared to HSUS they are small change. They “only” bring in $30 million a year, give or take a million or two. Their 990 was ‘only’ 53 pages long and MUCH less involved than the HSUS return. While Mr. Pacelle pulled in around $400,000 (according to these documents) Ms. Newkirk only took home around $40,000. Interestingly the VP made around $85,000 and an Assistant Secretary took home a healthy $125,000. Quite a few sections are blacked out, but I can clearly see $879,418 in Federated campaigns, $720,910 in Fundraising events and $31,851,917 in “other contributions, gifts, grants and similar amounts”. The Public Support percentage for 2012 is 88%. “Campaigns involve renowned celebrities, extensive media attention, interactive social networking, web site features and blogs that reach millions of viewers, and public service announcements, which are typically placed for free in high-exposure outlets.” They spent $5,538,763 on postage, printing and direct mail on things like this:

I appreciate the message but using some blonde bimbo with most of her cleavage showing manages to piss off my feminist sensibilities. As one reviewer put it “I’m sure the nurses greatly appreciated having their profession reduced to cosplay titty porn.” This was sent to the Texas Heart Institute. Effectiveness? On a scale of 1-10 I’ll give it a -2.

As a fan of Chloris Leachman, cabbage and dresses made from natural products I really, really like this ad.  It will at least get you to their website, which seems to be the primary place for fundraising. THIS would make me want to see what else they have to say. Effectiveness? Around an 8.

Another ad that made me say “Seriously??!” Originally installed near a beach in Florida it was eventually pulled because of complaints. How much do you think THAT brought in? Effectiveness: – 1

PeTA claims 3 million members and supporters; 4500 members belong to the Augustus club, an arm of the fundraising section where people can pledge future funds through wills and trusts. They currently have just over $200,000 in endowment funds. “Permanently restricted new assets are comprised of four separate endowment funds. Under the terms of the first endowment fund, 20% of the ordinary earnings from investments are permanently restricted while 35% are available for unrestricted use and the remaining 45% are donated to other organizations. Earnings on the second, third and fourth endowment fund are unrestricted.”

Since we’re discussing effectiveness let’s look at my favorite chart:

This compares all the shelters in the area with PeTA’s shelter. Cat save rate – 9.21 %

9.21% means it doesn’t matter how many naked celebrities you have on bill boards, it doesn’t matter who thinks you’re top notch enough to leave you a legacy in their will, it doesn’t matter what you proselytize, you have FAILED at any mission you pretend is important to you.

THIS ad was pulled in Europe for being disrespectful and is NOT politically acceptable. If you use PeTA’s thinking (which is fairly reprehensible), comparing animals with humans, they fail yet again. It is estimated 1.3 people were sent to Auschwitz, the Nazi’s killed and estimated 1.1 million. Cats in PeTA’s shelter fare worse today than humans did in Auschwitz. That may be tacky, and I certainly mean no disrespect to Holocaust survivors, I grew up around them as well as survivors of Japanese internment camps BUT for an agency that promotes veganism and animal ‘rights’ and has made comparisons of animals in the farming industry to Holocaust survivors they have a convenient disconnect in understanding their OWN actions.

Effectiveness? Zero. Less than zero. Maybe -30.

I understand this project was to look at how money is raised. But unless you follow the money trail AFTER it is in an account to see who, what, where, when and why it is spent the actual fundraising isn’t the whole story, it’s only the beginning.  Neither agency is trustworthy and needs a complete management overhaul. I’m going to take a shower now and hug each and every one of my animals.



The Art of the Twenties Dress


Things are happening.

First – who doesn’t love Miss Fisher of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries? I mean, seriously, the clothes, the locations, the music…sigh…

Check this out:

There is a Miss Fisher costume exhibition going on RIGHT NOW and I’ve got tickets to see it!! I am meeting up with the lovely Trish from Quiet Vintage Sewing to see the exhibit, check out a fabric store or two and explore Sydney and its surrounds.

To that end, I REALLY want to get a handle on this 20’s thing. I made a stab at the Gatsby sewalong last year and failed miserably. The biggest hurdle to overcome is my view of my own body – I’m not tall, I’m not willowy, I look nothing like Miss Fisher or any of the drawings we typically see from the 20’s. I AM smart enough to know I AM typical, women were shaped like me back then! To get over my own silly self I’m going to jump right into the era and invite you all along : )

You see, on Vicki’s blog she’s got these links on the right side. And I was bored one day so I started reading them ALL, and I stumbled onto 20’s gold. Kathleen from Midvale Cottage Post has posted some of the cutest, seemingly simple yet elegant 20’s “patterns” by Ruth Wyeth Spears. One page patterns/directions, most likely from a magazine, they epitomize the look of the 20’s.

I’m going to start from the underwear out to re-create some (hopefully) fabulous looks. I found a pattern on Reconstructing History that I’m excited about:

I am SO fortunate to be able to pick my grandmother’s brain (my mother’s mother) about what was worn! We have some photos of a trip my great grandparents took to Niagra Falls in the late 20’s that I’ll be able to share along with some funny and new-to-me stories of life back then. She was born in 1919, is turning 95 this September and remembers EVERYTHING! The only thing that she doesn’t quite understand is my fascination with that era. Ah well…

I have a photo of my dad’s mother that I want to completely re-create. I look just like her and inherited the boob gene from her so it should work out well : )

In keeping with my vow to buy as little as possible this year <cough*hoarder*cough> I’m going to try to make everything on my list from stuff I have in my stock. Unless of course I find something SO FANTASTIC in Australia that I MUST have it, but I’ve done a cursory inventory and I should be able to do this.

Here’s a sample of the goodies I want to make:

I think this is one of my top favorites! This is the ENTIRE pattern but if you read it its pretty clear. Ruth is assuming that you (or we) have a basic shift pattern. I’m going to draft one, and show you how, using a pattern we can all find online for free. Free is good : )

I love the simplicity of this, and have a piece of printed chiffon that might do it justice. I’m also guessing each of these creations can be done in an afternoon : ) I’m going to use ‘mostly’ standard sewing techniques available back then, but I’m not above using a rolled hem foot or even the rolled hem serger stitch to save my sanity. My grandmothers would approve.

Oh! I just LOVE the idea of this! Will it look like this when I’m done? Who knows… But I’ve got a box of tablecloths made from Indian inspired fabrics (and Marion Boyce uses lots of Indian fabrics on “Miss Fisher”) that are just waiting to be something fun.

I’m not a big point fan, mainly because making them is a pain, but I can’t pass this up. Time to hone those skills!

And if you have fabulous dresses you need cover-ups:

That piece of bright pink velvet my girlfriend gave me years ago is PERFECT for this, wait until you see what I pair it up with!

I’m not sure if I’ve got 4 yards of velvet but I certainly have yards and yards of other things.

How cute is this collar?

Fringe, honey, fringe…

I like the IDEA of this, now I’m going to see how close the reality is!

More squares…again, how will it look on a real person (me)?

We had a version of this in the 60’s. I’m hoping the right hair and make-up makes me think 20’s and not caftan : )

I love this sporty stripy outfit!

I would wear this to work today, in a snap.

And the perfect accessory for this? Hats!

Hats, hats…for career girls…

Felt. Just felt. No buckram. MUST TRY.

RIBBON. Just ribbon. Again, MUST try!

Again, felt. Scraps in stock, can’t wait.

Metallic brocade. Sigh…

This one uses a buckram frame, and I have buckram and a mold so I’ll show you how utterly easy this is : )

What about some fun accessories?

The drawing is cute but how functional is it? Let’s find out.

A handy belt to dress up a plain frock. Again, box of tablecloths just waiting to be something new.

Hats need flowers : )

And more flowers!

So you see, there is PLENTY of inspiration out there that takes just a little ingenuity. This is my starting point, the project may change as I go. I’m using my Grandma Bertha’s book, “The Art of Dressmaking” by Butterick as my go-to source for period details. (Sarai on Coletterie wrote about it here.)  I don’t have much from her so this is precious to ME. She was a seamstress, tailor and all around character. I think she would heartily approve of this project.

You all are invited to sew along with me!

I’m turning the top photo into a button for pasting onto your blogs : ) Several bloggers out there have recently cut their hair into 20’s style bobs so I hope they come play. I’m kicking this off June 3, the day AFTER I get home from Australia, and considering the number of projects I’m looking at means I’ll probably be posting over a 6 week period. I’ll do step-by-step pictorial tutorials so you can compare the written instructions to the photos and hopefully all will be de-mystified.

If nothing else, I’ll have some really fabulous frocks to choose from for the Gatsby picnic at Dunsmuir house this September : )

Sew for Victory Part 2

The Facts
: Cotton print designed by Rochelle, V for Victory!
Pattern: McCalls 7152
Notions: Interfacing & 1 as-yet-to-be sewn on hook-n-eye
Year: 1947
Time to complete
: 2 hours
First worn: April 2014
Wear again? Yep : )

I’ve had this skirt pattern in my “please make this soon” box for YEARS. When you wait for ‘just the right’ fabric to come along you end up waiting…and waiting…and waiting.

I finally decided to go for it with this fabric because I only had 2 yards and no other pattern was doing it for me. When Rochelle put this and the blue version up on Spoonflower last year I had to think long and hard about what to buy. Spoonflower isn’t inexpensive, and while I craved both I REALLY wanted to make sure I used every scrap in a garment I’d really love AND wear! I’m not a huge fan of dirndl-style skirts but I figured 2 yards would suffice. As soon as I placed my order I got a notice from Spoonflower that they were in the middle of re-doing their printing process and changing fabrics, so did I want to get the new and updated version (not available for a little while) OR was I willing to settle for ‘older’ stock and printing process in exchange for a free yard of anything I wanted?

I said yes to the free yard : ) While the red isn’t the bright cherry red that Rochelle had originally designed, and she was quite concerned that I might not like it, I decided that the soft red looked ‘aged’ and I was fine with it. I also have a yard of the blue version that I’m still trying to find a perfect fabric partner for (fabric matchmaking skills, anyone?)

Ideally I would love a soft gabardine fabric for this skirt pattern, but all in all the Kona cotton is lovely. Not only is my jacket vintage, but so is the “V” for victory pin over my left boob and check out the hat!

My friend John, who let me ‘borrow’ his car for my Mad Men photoshoot, found this hat in Ashland and just HAD to buy it! It’s just beautiful and in great shape. Reminds me of something Chuleenan of CSews would wear : )

It’s cool, it’s casual, I feel so timeless.

And now, my FAVORITE outfit!

The Facts
: Cotton from Hart’s Fabrics
Pattern: 4892
Notions: 4 buttons, rick rack, interfacing & that elusive hook-n-eye
Year: 1950′s but adapted
Time to complete
: 4 hours
First worn: April 2014
Wear again? As we speak…

This stunner was one of the patterns Z from Gladys and Viv sent to me last summer in our Sew Weekly Reunion swap. I LOVE that rounded yoke, but didn’t really want another dress right now. So genius me cuts the top as a shirt, I just lengthened the bodice pieces about 6″, and made the skirt separately. In that simple step it went from solidly 50’s to can-pass-for-40’s. And wouldn’t you know it? The sweater I poured my soul into knit for the Knit for Victory challenge is PERFECT with this!

Girly side note – last year I had one of my hair dressing friends do my hair in wonderful Victory rolls for my photoshoot, this year I figured with a little bit of patience and some mirror time I could do it myself. Wrong. After 45 minutes I had aching arms and was in tears. Every cat in the area wandered through the bathroom, drawn by the sounds of distress, only to flee in terror from the expanding cloud of hair spray. Sadness…

When I finally got into Oakland it was WINDY so any efforts at a vintage hair-do were blown away (thought I’d make a GWTW reference didn’t you? Considered it…)

Here’s that yoke:

The entirety of the bodice, yoke and sleeves are top stitched together. Here’s my handy quick tutorial for how to get *almost* perfect curves.

Find a piece of cardboard, I used the insert from a shirt and it was wonderful. Trace the curve you need to sew onto the cardboard and cut it out. (In this case I traced the stitching lines)

Press lightly for the moment. Just inside the seam line, along the curved edge, sew basting stitch.

Pull the threads up just enough to get that curved edge around the cardboard. Press firmly.

See how pretty?

 And flip it over…

Nearly perfect! Now it just gets top stitched as per the directions which, in this case, turned out to be horribly WRONG! Had I looked at the pictures and tried to match up what they said to do versus how the notches matched up…I’d have been in tears. When in doubt look at the notches and use your intuition. I wonder if another seamstress or two had that issue with this pattern.

Because I liked the way the top stitching looked on the shirt I top stitched the seams on each side of the center front and back skirt panels to match. I used my favorite shirt pattern to compare the fronts and backs and stitched back pleats in the shirt for more of a 40’s look. I HAD to make a matching belt because buckles. Tons o’ buckles. Had a hard time choosing.

Not only was the day windy BUT we had planned to go down to Jack London Square to take photos around the boats, especially The Potomac, FDR’s Floating White House. There is a red boat down there (that was the backdrop to my “Titanic” outfit) that we thought would have been PERFECT for this outfit…and then I discovered I left the house sans purse AND the car’s “fill me NOW” light came out just as I pulled up to my daughter’s house. I decided we’d do all the photos in and around her neighborhood and call it good. Then LOOK what happened:

We stumbled across a house that is the SAME color as the dress! You cant make this stuff up. Well, maybe my friend Alana is talented enough to photoshop the background color but I’m not. That paint color is REAL. Oh! Before I forget – I LOVE the cut of the sleeves on this pattern. I think I’m going to have to transfer this cut to the hemline of my favorite blouse pattern next time I cut one out.

And finally, the last photo my daughter took at the front entrance way to her house. The plants really do make a dark, cool tunnel to the front steps. Very secret garden-like!

Announcement Number One:

I’m in.

 ‘I, Loran of Loransworld, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear at least one made piece each day for the duration of May 2014’


Announcement Number Two:

I’m GOING TO AUSTRALIA at the end of May so I’m not sure what I’ll be packing!

I think I may do more of my photographing of items via Instagram as Oona has decided to do. Smart girl, smart move, why not? Will my phone work in Australia? One of the many questions I’ll need answered in the next few weeks.

Announcement Number Three:

Just as I was finishing this post up something in the computer froze/broke so I couldn’t upload the graphic that goes with this story. Now you’ll have to tune in tomorrow….