Today we are going to be dealing with the underbelly of the fundraising world. The fake charity/fake sweepstakes. This is some very nasty stuff that should be illegal. It is a charity asking for money with the veneer of a sweepstakes.
Child Protection Program
PO Box 6119
St. Louis, MO 63139-0119
The first red flag is, that this “charity” has no website. It had one once according to Washington State, but it is now dead.
It is apart of Survivors and Victims Empowered. Which made the Tampa Bay Times Worst Charities list. It is run by Phil Sheldon, who is the son of the Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition. OMG! Get out of my mailbox Sheldon family!! The dad, the daughter and now the son. Charity Navigator page, unrated because it is sub 1 million dollars.
Both of these mailpieces are made by the same direct marketing firm: Specialized Fundraising. Website redirects to Info Group Media Solutions. Specialized Fundraising phone number (864) 579-7755 x111. Nextmark page for Specialized Fundraising. If that doesn’t work this is the Info Group Media Solutions contact page. I do not know if they are the same company of if they just bought the domain name.
You can look through their mailing lists here. You will find a lot of “sound a like” charities:
A Child Forever a program of Kids Wish Network
American Foundation for Disabled Children
Care for Our Wounded Soldiers a program of National Caregiving Foundation
Combating Children’s Cancer Foundatoin, a mailing program of Israel Children’s Cancer Foundatoin
Committee for Missing Children
Contest Cash (National Heart Council)
Healing Hero’s Network
Help the Vet
Israel Children’s Cancer Foundation
Kids Wish Network, Tampa Bay Times Worst Charities, AC360 part 1, AC360 part 2, AC360 part 3
Kids Wish Network Hero of the Month
National Caregivers Foundation
Sweepstakes Contributors To Alzheimer’s Research (National Alzheimer’s Council)
Sweepstakes Donors To A Diabetes Cause (Defeat Diabetes)
Welcome Home Hero a program of Healing Heros Network
Normally I would use a from 1500 to stop mail from these groups because they are sweepstakes. But save a stamp (or 10) and opt-out here. I recommend you send your email to someone on the List Management team. They got back to me very quickly.
From the “the internet never forgets” desk: How the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act of 1999 came to be.
Article by the New York Times about sweepstakes from 1998.
In 1998 Susan Collins and Carl Levin started a sub-committee hearings on sweepstakes in the mail.
CSPAN September 1, 1998
CSPAN March 8, 1999, Victims of sweepstakes junk mail testify.
CSPAN March 9, 1999 skip to 1 hour 5 minutes to see Susan Collins, Carl Levin, Dick Durbin, John Edwards, and, Arlen Specter grill the heads of American Family Enterprises, Reader’s Digest, Publishers Clearing House, and Time Inc., New Media (that is the magazine division) about the misleading sweepstakes mail they send out.
Full transcript of both hearings
One of the topics that comes up in testimony is people flying to Tampa Florida to collect their winnings from American Family Publishers. This happened so many times the St. Petersburg Times collected the stories on one page.
These are the bills they were trying to pass at the time:
Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act Senate bill 355, became a law
Deceptive Games of Chance Mailings Elimination Act of 1999 Senate bill 336, didn’t pass
The DMA guide to to the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act of 1999.