MLB Players, VOA Partner on Holiday Mailer

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Volunteers of America is promoting a partnership with the Major League Baseball Players Trust for Children through its holiday mail program.


VOA mailed 55,000 pieces announcing the Share with a Child partnership and Caring Gifts Team as part of an overall holiday mailing of 830,000 pieces that dropped last week.


"The need is great. The time for action is now to help thousands of children at risk in this country," reads an information sheet in the mailing. "The Share with a Child partnership features the personal involvement of Major League Baseball players and their families with youth programs conducted through Volunteers of America local offices throughout the United States."


VOA director of direct marketing Ann Carroll said the names came from an in-house acquisition list.


"The names chosen for this mailing do not have any special baseball interests," she said.


The mailing went in an envelope featuring different portraits of the same city block. The front of the envelope reads "With your help" and depicts a lively, safe city block. Christmas lights and other decorations fill the block, and people are shown walking with presents. The back, which reads "Without your help," depicts the same block with people, children included, huddled around trash can fires. There are no decorations, trash lines the street and doors and windows are protected by graffiti-covered security gates.


A two-page personalized letter makes the pitch for a donation and includes more information on how donations can help and statistics on homeless children. A perforated tab lets donors check off how much they want to donate. There are options for $15, $25, $35 and "other."


The letter is signed by Charles W. Gould, VOA's national president, and four Major League Baseball players: Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees, Barry Zito of the Oakland Athletics, Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins and Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.


Along with the direct mail, VOA launched a page on its Web site, www.volunteersofamerica.org/CaringGifts/, where donations can be made.


An e-mail campaign is to begin in the next week, Carroll said. The 300,000 targets are provided by Major League Baseball. Carroll said the e-mail was still in development but would include elements from the direct mail and online campaign.


Volunteers of America also plans a major mailing in the spring targeting lists of people interested in baseball and who have made donations to help children. Plans call for the mailing to be baseball-themed and launched to coincide with spring training.


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