Anatomy of a Mailpiece: The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

When I was in the storm of stopping junk mail I didn’t have the time to slow down and really get in-depth with how the mailpieces are put together, how they are aimed at the elderly to get money from them.

Thankfully The Jesse Helms Center Foundation has ignored all the requests I have put out for them to stop sending mail to my house.

This includes:

Obviously I need to have another chat with my mail carrier, but in the mean time let’s take a long hard look at the fundraising mail The Jesse Helms Center Foundation is sending out to people.


Jesse Helms was the US Senator for North Carolina from 1973 to 2003. The Jesse Helms Center Foundation houses his papers and the museum is host various programs for students and guest speakers.

Mission Statement:
The Jesse Helms Center exists to promote traditional American values and the principles upon which our nation was founded and that Senator Jesse Helms advanced throughout his career. This is accomplished through education, public policy promotion,and historical preservation.The Jesse Helms Center Foundation’s programs are offered at little or no cost to the public. This is made possible by the support of foundations, individuals and corporations who recognize the value of the programs and the non-partisan commitment of the foundation.
How about this:

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

Stop the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans!
3,000,000,000 Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans
-and-
Petition Demanding Your Senators REJECT This UN Tax
I am sure many of you are scratching your heads going What?! The UN is hurting for money so they wrote a proposal for various global taxes.  The boogie man in today’s junk mail are taxes that may or may not happen, that were proposed by the mostly toothless UN.

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

Please complete your personal, registered Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans I’ve enclosed, right away! So I can pressure the U.S. Senate to REJECT the TAX!
Then sign the enclosed REJECT the Unconstitutional U.N. TAX Petitions demanding your two Senators to vote to STOP the greedy U.N. bureaucrats’ plan to impose hundreds of billions in taxes on American citizens– for the first time in history.
Then return your Survey and Petitions to me today so the Jesse Helms Center can expose and stop President Obama’s plan before he sneaks this treaty through the Senate.

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

ONE: Sign and return your REJECT the Unconstitutional U.N. TAX Petitions. I’ve sent you four Senate Petitions: One for each of your two Senators and one for each of the Senate’s majority leaders, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn. Your Petitions urge McConnell and Cornyn to REJECT the  U.N.’s tax on Americans.
TWO: Complete your enclosed Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans and return it to me today. The Jesse Helms Center will send the results of the survey to key national news outlets, especially conservative talk radio, so they can expose this tax scheme and help us STOP the UN TAX.
THREE: Make a tax-deductible donation of $15, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more to the Jesse Helms Center to help fund our massive grassroots and media campaign to pressure ALL Senators – old and new! – to reject this U.N.’s tax scheme.

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

Did the font just get bigger?!

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

We are half way through and we need to stop and take a break. A few things I would like to point out:
The Printing: The font size is bigger than your average letter. It gets really big on page 3
The liberal use of ALL CAPS, Bold, Italic, and Underline.
The repetitive nature of the letter. They repeat the “3 part plan” on every page. Twice on page 4.

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

Here is the Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans. I’m not going to type the questions out. You can read them  yourself.

 

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

Can anyone tell me where to put my CREDIT CARD INFORMATION?

In the body of the letter they were asking for “$1000 or more”. But now the top dollar amount they are asking for is $500. You have to be consistent with this stuff people. You just cost yourself a $1000 donation.

I also find the “I can’t make a donation right now but here is $9 to deliver my petitions.” very interesting. Even though they can’t get a lot of money out of you today, you are still interacting with the mail. You are telling them that you may donate in the future, or to some other cause.  Is $9 the cost of processing one check these days? They might break even on processing this transaction, but by the time they sell you to other mailing lists the may get their money back. Maybe. But that is for a real reporter to look into.

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

And finally the REJECT the Unconstitutional U.N. TAX Petitions that we have been hearing so much about.

If the people that process the checks for the The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, operate the same way as the ones who process the checks for psychic scams the “Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans” and the “REJECT the Unconstitutional U.N. TAX Petitions” will be tossed in the trash once they get the credit card information off of it, or grab the check out of the envelope.


If all of this seems familiar or formulaic it is because The Jesse Helms Center Foundation uses American Target Advertising for their direct mail. I have written about American Target Advertising here and I also reviewed  America’s Right Turn by Richard A. Viguerie (the founder of American Target Advertising). While American Target Advertising is not listed in The Jesse Helms Center Foundation‘s IRS 990’s (you can find them on their Charity Navigator page.) American Target Advertising did fundraising for Mr. Helms when he was alive, and the mailing list for The Jesse Helms Center Foundation is listed on Viguerie Political Lists website.

I will pull out the best part of Mr. Viguerie’s book America’s Right Turn. He outlines how movement starts and why that movement would want to use “alternative media” to get their message out.

 Issues that motivate:

A perceived crisis

Threats to a way of life

Idealistic revulsion against corruption

Idealistic projections of a better life

Then you need:

A dedicated vanguard

Self-identification as a movement

Communication networks

Money to fund the revolution

Let’s see if this letter checks off all the boxes:
  • A perceived crisis: “Stop the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans!”
  • Threats to a way of life: The U.N. is going to tax us $4 billion.
  • Idealistic revulsion against corruption: “This new tax would make the U.N. less dependent on dues from donor nations. And that Would make the U.N. bureaucrats even more unaccountable, more arrogant and more powerful than they are now.”
  • Idealistic projections of a better life: ??? This letter doesn’t talk about what will happen once the bad guys are overthrown.
  • A dedicated vanguard: The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, “pro-sovereignty patriots like you”, 3 million Americans, Internet “warriors”
  • Self-identification as a movement: The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, pro-sovereignty patriots like you”
  • Communication networks:  “We will survey 3 million American patriots and share the results with media outlets.”
  • Money to fund the revolution: Make a tax-deductible donation of $15, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more

I almost had a junk mail BINGO, but they just had to be negative the whole letter.

A few more things you should look for in a mailpiece like this are:

  • How many pages is the pitch? (A milti-page pitch in a mailpiece will pull in more money than a one page pitch will. ) 4
  • Who are the good guys?:The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, pro-sovereignty patriots like you”.
  • Who are the bad guys?: The U.N. and Obama
  • Sense of urgency: “Please complete your personal, registered Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans I’ve enclosed, right away! ” and “return your Survey and Petitions to me today
  • Interaction with the mail:  Fill out the “REJECT the Unconstitutional U.N. TAX Petitions” and the  “Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans

The only goal of this mailpiece is to scare and upset a person so that they will send money to fight against whatever cause is in the letter. The combination of the size of the font, the liberal use of bolding important talking points, and repeating those talking points over and over, lead me to believe that this mailpiece is aimed at an elderly person.

The big question I have is Why? Why is this mailpiece coming from the The Jesse Helms Center Foundation and not The UN Sucks Foundation?  Do they have so little confidence in the mission of their foundation, that they have to go so wildly off topic to raise money? Is the cause of getting young people interested in government not good enough? Is digitizing a collection not a sexy enough topic to get people to pull out their checkbooks? If I lived in the town of Wingate, NC I would be a member just for the speakers they bring to town. Why are they spreading fear, when they could be spreading the positivity of what the foundation does every day.

Let’s return to Mr. Viguerie’s book America’s Right Turn for the answer:

Even in the environmental arena, where liberals have had so much success, Warwick sees nuances others might miss: “Certain issues strike a responsive cord with the public, and others don’t.  I mean, some of the worst problems we face in many communities in the country come from toxic spills and solid waste management. Yet it is virtually impossible to raise money around those issues-at least in ‘cold mail’ [prospect mail]. Whereas, if you want to save the rainforest, or cuddle pandas, it’s another story altogether.”

So the core mission of The Jesse Helms Center Foundation is the junk mail equivalent of a toxic spill, and “STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans” is like cuddling a panda Got it.


This space is normally where I tell everyone how to get off the mailing list of whom ever I’m talking about. Instead I’m going to ask for help. If you know who to call or email to get off the mailing list for the The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, comment or email me darthjenni@gmail.com.

I received another mailpiece from them in July. At that time I filed complaints with the California Attorney General and the DMA with no effect.

In the week since I received this mailpiece I have sent a webmail to the The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, emailed John Dodd johndodd@jessehelmscenter.org. I have sent a webmail to American Target Advertising, and I have also sent a webmail to Viguerie Political Lists, and left a message with Marty Anderson who does list management for them.

It shouldn’t be this hard to stop junk mail.

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