I have been a longtime resident of TN and only recently began to have a passion for the preservation of exotic animals more specifically big cats. I was surprised to learn about this sanctuary not far from Chattanooga and disappointed to read about all the legal disrupt from neighbors. I did provide my first donation regardless of the negative reviews. It has to be expensive to run this facility and it is a job that isn't for the faint of heart. It is doubtful the animals are being used for personal gain as some suggested. It would be easier to rate effectiveness with better information but 3 stars for effort.
I believe Tiger Haven is doing their best to help these beautiful big cats. And I agree that charity navigator doesn't explain clearly,that the costs of fundraising are ridiculous. So it's understandable that Tiger Haven must spend 50%.H however,sending dollar bills in the mail-in the hopes you will get it all back,is foolish. Less than 5%will return that dollar,and those that do,will only send a small 5-10$ donation. Ex:$30k×5%=$1500×$10=$15k-$1500recovered 1$bills=$13,500. Net loss=$16,500. At best,you break even,if 10%give$10each...it is possible that if 10%respond@$25each=$75k-$30k sent out,you net$35k. I tend to think a net profit occurs not more than 3× per year. And if these mailings are done 6× a year,with 3×netloss$16k=&49,500 and 3×netgain$35k=$105k-$49,500=$67,500 net gain/year,minus payments to the experts. Not great. But I love the calendar,but I think more people love hi-quality silkscreened t-shirts,sweatshirts,etc.and would gladly pay double the cost.Also,that former admittedly underpaid employee,was working there because he/she obviously cared for the animals....so you better get the owner in-check with her spending of excess...I can't fathom why this former worker would lie about that. So, I would like to see full disclosure of all net income minus salaries&non-profits I would hope,do NOT/SHOULD NOT give bonuses. Excess income should not be at the owner's disposal. I will be conservative in donating,for now. Put it all out there&i will gladly give more to help.
Review from Guidestar
I am writing this because I wouldn't have known anything about the crap that going on in China to these big cats if Tiger Haven didn't get it out there! So a lot of their $$$ is spent on fundraising. All this means is they are doing it from the ground floor. Instead of pointing fingers, lend a hand. They are shouting for help the best way they know how!!! The first time I got a petition to China was Tiger Haven.They get my vote for having the guts to give these animals the grace they deserve. I know they are on the top of my donation list , whatever Charity Navigator's stars show. And a THANK YOU to Tiger Haven for kindness and courage...
Review from Guidestar
I certainly agree with the goals of this organization--rescuing and providing homes for the big cats that people without expertise, financial means for housing and care, and access to veterinarians have acquired. And that means virtually everyone who buys a big cat. As for the fund raising, I donate to multiple organizations and it seems as if most of them either have the same fund raisers or the fund raisers have similar methods. However, I have some sympathy for the amount of money being spent, although I would rather have to go for the animals. Basically, how many people are aware of these organizations or what they do? It is expensive to get the word out and then to compete with other similar facilities with the same mission of saving animals that should never been in private hands. I will probably continue to donate since the big cats did not contribute to their fate nor did they have choices. I'm also disgusting with the neighbors who bought property when cats were already in the area and now are trying to close down the sanctuary. Too much development! If they didn't want to be anywhere around an animal sanctuary, they should have gone elsewhere. This sounds like a lawsuit for financial gain. Shame on them.
I got a request in the mail from Tiger Haven. Like all requests, I checked with Charity Navigator. They got a 1 star rating and had a lot of financial concerns and 50% of their budget went to fund raising! ( A fund raising efficiency of 50%). By comparison The Elephant Sanctury, also located in the rural South had 5 stars and a fundraising efficiency of 3%. There are better places to donate.
I do find it troubling that disgruntled employees have the freedom to write fictional reviews that have no connection to reality. Negative reviews are admitted former employees. Tiger Haven has a CPA who enters all receipts, and this is sent to another independent CPA for a audited financial report every year. There is no cash coming into the organization from visitors, gift shops or concessions. All donations are entered by a independent data entry company and deposited into a Tiger Haven bank account. No room, for any ill fated donations. Fundraising cost are a ongoing challenge. Tiger Haven DOES NOT have multiple non profit charters and organizations that we hide fundraising cost in like so many others. Many others raise money through another organization, then donate it to the functional organization to legally hide the high cost of fundraising. Tiger Haven is also not open to the public like a road side zoo, so all funding must come from other sources that does not use the exploitation of the animals to raise their funds.
I am responding to your comments regarding our fundraising expenses and charity rating on Charitynavigator.org I hope that this letter will address your concerns.
Tiger Haven is designated as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. This status, however, does not mean that we get any federal money or any kind of subsidies for doing this type of work. Tiger Haven is 100% funded by contributions from donors. Several years ago, it became clear that we could no longer rescue cats unless we did something drastic to raise funds. At that point, we hired a professional fundraising company. This is extremely costly, but the funds that it generates far surpass any funds we could hope to secure by ourselves.
Tiger Haven’s mission is to take care of neglected, abused, or otherwise unwanted big cats. That is what we do best. When we investigated our options prior to hiring the fundraising company, we realized that this type of work was best outsourced to professionals.
The expense breakdown is alarming when looked at out of context. What sites like charitynavigator.org do not tell you is that fundraising is difficult and inconsistent at best. They also group a lot of different costs into the “administrative” category. This administrative category is not a synonym for “salaries”. Our staff is extremely underpaid for the amount of work that we do. This category includes all aspects of our fundraising such as filing a yearly permit to solicit donations (for each of the 50 states), obtaining donor lists from other organizations, bookkeeping, publishing and graphics, etc. Further, Tiger Haven is our only corporation; we do not have a parent company or other affiliate nonprofit corporations to "hide" expenses.
Another issue that is not addressed by the charity rating is the amount the percentages represent. For instance, one national Humane Society uses 19% of their income on fundraising, but that translates into $24 MILLION since their income is $148 MILLION. Twenty-Four million dollars will go a very long way to find new donors.
Tiger Haven has 280+ mouths to feed daily and our method of fundraising generates enough money (on a fairly regular basis) that we do not have to worry where the next food shipment is coming from. We are looking into alternate fund sources, however, and are always open to suggestions
I received a mailing requesting money to donate to this organization. However, after doing research online I decided not to give money because of the bad reviews here and only a one star rating on another site. I am horrified to think that this owner is using these poor animals. I sincerely hope not. It seems doing the right thing for right's sake is rapidly vanishing in this world and for that I am very afraid. Despite anyone's belief in a higher power we are all on this planet "together". No one species is here for the sole purpose of serving another. Animals are on this good Earth WITH us; not FOR us to use, abuse, discard and mistreat as we see fit. In fact, it is the opposite. We have a responsibility as a member of the species of reason to co-exist, not control and destroy. The bio diverse species on this Earth can tell us much if we let them; instead, we look down our noses at them. Disregard of any life has consequences for which people live in a dream world of arrogance. Retribution comes to all and we have yet to see the consequences of how serious this will be for many future generations to come. There are some things technology can't fix; there are mistakes that can never be undone. I sincerely hope that this organization can improve so that I can feel good about donating to these magnificent animals. For now, I will look for another.
I worked at Tiger Haven for 4 months. Please, find another charity to donate to. The owner brags about the fact that she has 3 million excess dollars above the cost of running Tiger Haven to spend however she pleases. Everyday, she has multiple packages from Amazon delivered to her office, most of which contain things that are of no use to the cats. For example: cat statues, blankets, candles, posters, movies, house plants, and an assortment of useless crap. This place needs to be changed. The cats could be cared for far better. Mary Haven isn't qualified to own and run a place like tiger haven. I'm just ranting, but I care about the cats and they aren't being cared for the way they should and more of the money that is being donated should be used in a far more responsible way, and should be improving the cats quality of life.
I have watched this organization for several years and am very disappointed in the small amt of the donation that goes to the programs of actually helping the tigers. I will be sending a small donation within the next week (probably $5) and hope that at least $4 goes to helping the tigers at Tiger Haven. I certainly hope that you can find people that will donate their time to help you run this organization more efficiently so that most of donations rec'd will go to helping the tigers. Sincerely, Karen Frauman
Review from CharityNavigator
This is a costly undertaking for sure, and I try to support it when I can. But your financial review on charity navigator is terrible. Your fundraising expenses are killing your program expenses, and sending out dollar bills to - what - 30,000 people?? Not a good strategy! Those who are willing to support the cause will do so regardless of the dollar bill. Those who won't, are just taking and pocketing my donated dollars. I will return it this time, but it seems I speak for others here when I say I will discontinue my support if this practice continues.
Review from CharityNavigator