Attack Aftermath: DMA Offers Aid to Mailers

New York—The Direct Marketing Association on Sept. 12 unveiled a disaster relief initiative for Manhattan-based member companies affected by the attack on the World Trade Center.

For starters, the DMA compiled a list of 78 member companies whose offices are located near the World Trade Center and “sent an e-mail to all of those folks and offered them phones, computers, temporary office space, or whatever would help them stay in business,” says DMA president/CEO Bob Wientzen. “I got 12 responses on this first day—all saying they’re okay, although we got about 15 undeliverables. So we’re trying to see if we can fax those companies, although obviously a lot of them are not responding because they’re not there today.”

In addition, the DMA has been in discussions with the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army to act as a clearinghouse for donations. “It occurred to us that members might like to donate their services, so we contacted these organizations, which are among the largest,” Wientzen says. “We’re also communicating with our nonprofit members to see if there are other charities that might be involved. Then we can act as a go-between of those who want to make donations and those in need.”

The DMA is also pulling together an internal task force to help identify other ways to help members. “I heard from a number of members whose call centers shut down on Tuesday,” Wientzen says. “And we’re asking members for ideas of ways to help businesses that face big losses as a result of the country turning its attention to this tragedy.”