Most missing persons are found within 48 hours, so depending on the circumstances, you may want to keep the news off social media until Day 3. Instead you could focus on emailing, printing and displaying posters. Avoid using their full name if you can – it may protect their privacy if they are found quickly.
Missing People Posters
A missing person poster is only as good as the information it contains. That’s why we recommend gathering all pertinent information right away (you won’t necessarily present them all in the poster). It will aid in the prevention of forgetting important details, which is all too common in stressful situations. And focusing on the obvious is a good way to make progress because once you’ve completed this step, you’ll be almost done.
Information to Include:
The following are the main details to gather at this stage:
- Name and Age
- Recent photo – ensure that this image is clear and up to date. If the missing person recently dyed their hair, for example, it’s critical to show them their current hair color. If that’s not possible, at least the current hair color mentioned on the poster. Bottom line, don’t use a photo that doesn’t accurately portray the missing person’s appearance – that includes photos that have been altered with Instagram filters, etc.
- Last seen date
- Location: School (if applicable), city, and state are all missing from the area.
- Physical characteristics include height, weight, piercings, and tattoos.
- Previously seen wearing
- Getting in Touch – phone, email
- Hashtags on social media pages (for example, #BringJaneDoeHome)
- Case number for NamUs (if available)
- Amount of the reward (if applicable)
- Any other pertinent information about the individual or situation
Here’s a Free Missing Persons Poster Template
It’s critical to think strategically when creating the missing persons poster. Who are the people who are most likely to help you find your missing loved one if you use this poster? This is referred to as defining your ‘target audience’ in advertising. This is not a trivial matter. This will influence every aspect of the poster, including the image you use, the sort of design you select, and the details you include.
Ink isn’t cheap and not everyone has a printer. Office Depot may still have a monthly charity/community service budget and Members of Congress are obliged to print missing persons posters for free.
Don’t put it off and don’t be afraid to bother anyone. So what if you send out the missing person poster in the middle of the night, waking people up? This is a critical situation. Share it on social media and encourage others to do the same. TELL people you need them to spread the word. Send it via messenger. Hang it in any community where your missing loved one is / was likely to be. And then send it to the local news stations, requesting that they publicize it. Then request that 100 of your friends do the same.
Ideas of where to display the poster:
- Supermarkets, shopping centers
- Bus stops, train stations
- Universities, schools, TAFEs
- Centrelink offices
- Social media (but be aware that once it’s on the internet, it’s out of your control)