Grand Control of the Year: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
John Walsh Endorsement
The success of a package from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that's been in the mail for more than three years — since 2008 — is not surprising. The envelope's matter-of-fact teaser alone is startling enough to grab your attention: "It was easier to find a missing car than a missing child." But there's also the endorsement of co-founder John Walsh. His black-and-white photo and signature are in the corner card of the No. 10 outer, and that's understandable — plenty of people know him as the tough-as-nails, crime-fighting host of "America's Most Wanted" on FOX and Lifetime TV for nearly 25 years.
At the beginning of the four-page letter inside, Walsh describes the passion behind his crusade: "For me, it's personal." In just a few sentences, he explains how the abduction and murder of his son, Adam, back in 1981 led him and his wife to channel their anger and pain into founding the center and a mini movement to protect children. The changes made so far, "bringing about critical improvements to reporting and response systems nationwide," are not enough, he warns. Before the end of the first page, his two-part call to action asks the donor to promise to "Never Stop Looking" for missing children and to make a gift to support the group's programs.
In the subsequent paragraphs and pages, he describes some of the resources NCMEC has developed to deal with threats to kids from predators on the Internet, as well as provide assistance for law enforcement officials and parents. The only insert in the package is a buckslip listing a few statistics on child victimization on one side and, as a public service, providing multiple contact points for the group on the other.
The mailing is devoid of the sensationalist tone it could have easily employed. This is Walsh's intention: to avoid scare tactics and, instead, emphasize awareness and prevention. It's an approach that has served the organization well. — Paul Bobnak, research director of DirectMarketingIQ.com and director of the Who's Mailing What Archive.
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