How to Set Up a Text Message Donation Program for a Small Nonprofit

Our hearts go out to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Thankfully, there are many relief efforts underway.  Many are supported by donations (see links to donate below) and some, like the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, are even using mobile technology to get text message donations quickly and easily.

If you’re a non-profit organization or a small business supporting a cause, you can easily create your own text message donation program as well.

Set up a Donors Mobile Campaign

Here’s how it works:

  • Ask donors to give a donation by sending a text with your new keyword to 65047.
  • An automatic response can be set to thank donors and link them to a mobile optimized credit card processing form to complete the donation.
  • The donations are then transferred to the organization.

We realize it’s a little extra work to have donors complete a credit card from instead of automatically charging the donation on the mobile phone bill. But the auto billing system is costly for small organizations, the organization needs to be a large national charity and requires a year-long contract.

Advantages of our mobile donations system

Our mobile donations campaign offers a few advantages…

  • You can collect donations of more than $10 (the max limit for donations billed through cell phone carriers).
  • You can collect additional information such as name, mobile phone, address and email as part of the transaction.
  • It’s easy to promote this campaign in ads, TV or radio.
  • It’s easier for donors to pledge while they’re away from home or their computers.
  • You’ll have a mobile list of donors you can contact later—to thank them, announce you’ve reached your goal, etc.

We sincerely hope nonprofits and charities take advantage of mobile technology to support their causes. If you’re a member of such a group, contact us. We’d be happy to work with you to get started.

To send your own donation to relief efforts visit…

Red Cross Disaster Relief
(Or send a text with REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10)

20 Ways to Find Out if You are a Closet Marketer

I believe we are all marketers. Regardless of what you do for a living, you have had to convince someone or “sell” something.

We all have to present a compelling emotional and/or rational argument to get our way, whether it’s for an idea, product, service or simply to get someone to follow along. So, I believe we are all marketers in the end.

The question now is… are you in the “closet” about it? It’s OK if you are. I have many friends who are in the marketing closet.

It’s time to do some soul searching. Try to discover and embrace your inner marketer with the next 20 points. Keep a mental record of the ones you agree with below and see what the analysis chart says about your marketing tendencies.

You must be a marketer…

1. If you drive on the freeway and read all the billboards.

2. If you don’t automatically filter out ads and like to read them or watch them on TV.

3. If you immediately recognize when you have an “impulse buy” impulse.

4. If you read the fine print on coupons.

5. If you wonder how junk mail still provides a return on investment, but set a budget aside for direct mail campaigns.

6. If you are so drawn in to TV ads, you forget which show you’re watching.

7. If beautiful packaging catches your eye, even though you have no use for the product.

8. If your ears screech when you hear annoying radio ads from car dealerships, but know that with enough repetition people will remember them.

9. If you’re nauseated by the annoying TV ads from car dealerships, but forgive them because you know they’ll sacrifice quality and creative to spend the budget on as many TV spots possible.

10. If you read subject lines on Spam emails, just to see if you get any good email subject line ideas.

11. If you watch the Super Bowl just for the TV ads.

12. 12. If you buy designer sunglasses knowing that you’re mostly paying for the money the designer spent on branding and are fine with it.

13. If you know creativity has nothing to do with budget, but everything to do with brainpower.

14. If you read marketing books like they were part of the Twilight series.

15. If you see your car’s brand logo on the steering wheel and think, “That’s good brand placement.”

16. If you visit Apple stores not to buy their products but to revel in the beauty of the brand and retail experience.

17. If you’ve thought about the potential branding impact of naming a child with your product’s name.

18. If you wonder whether the toilet paper and moist toilet wipes combination will ever replace dry toilet paper.

19. If you really love coupons.

20. If you offer your kid a 7-Up and he say he’d rather have a Sprite. And you think…damn branding, like Jerry Seinfeld says “Newman”.

Scoring Chart

If you agree with 5 of the above: It’s ok, marketing is in you. Foster it and it will grow.

If you agree with 10 of the above: Are you in a marketing position? If not, consider a new career.

If you agree with 15 of the above: Not only are you a marketer. You’re also a discerning one.

If you agree with all of the above: You and I are marketing soul mates. I embrace you as my significant marketing other and feel sorry for you, as none should be this way…I know.

If you don’t agree with any of the above: Text CLOSET to 65047 to get an analysis of your results. We need to keep your results confidential.

Add your own points or improve on the ones above. Tell me on Facebook, comment on our blog or email me at

My Client Paid Me Twice For the Same Job. Should I Return the Money?

Should I declare all my income in my taxes? Should I tell my wife her gym friend is hot? Should I tell the cashier she didn’t charge me for the bread? Should I assume refills are free on the self-service soda machines? Should I be courteous to my neighbor, even though he’s on the sexual offenders list and I’m a parent? Should I keep my pirate beard, simply because I don’t like to shave? Should I switch stadium seats, because I know the better ones in front are empty? Should I share a new business opportunity with my partners or do it myself as a consultant and keep all the revenue?

Ahh… life’s little questions. Well I’m here to tell you that I have the answer. Well not so much the answer but a miraculous system that will help you find the answer to all of life’s ethical conundrums.

The Four-Way Test
It’s called the Four-Way Test. This simple four-question system helps guide your ethical compass to find your true north. The Four-Way Test was created by Herbert J. Taylor as a way to help guide the management decisions of an aluminum company that was bound for bankruptcy.

Hebert set policies for the company’s moral standards when it came to doing business. The test was then adopted by Rotary International to guide the things Rotarians think, say or do.

The Four Way Test asks:

1. Is it the truth?

2. Is it fair to all concerned?

3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Are you experiencing an ethical dilemma? Did your client pay you twice for the same job and you know he won’t find out? Should you keep the money as a settlement for all those extra unpaid hours spent on the last project? What to do?

Say no more. The Four-Way test is here to the rescue.

1. Is it the truth? – Well not really, we received payment already for the work. Unless it’s an understated bonus?

2. Is it fair to all concerned? I think it’s fair to me, since I do work extra, unpaid hours.

3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? If the client finds out I kept it, probably not and any excuse will sound like theft.

4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Ahh, s*%t you’ve got me Four-Way Test. I’ll send the money back and say I know we are good, but there’s no need to pay us double. We’re happy to give you our best.

Insert your ethical enigma here and apply the Four-Way Test and see what you discover. It’s a business ethics cheat sheet. Get it? Cheat sheet? (Ok, not that funny.)

I really did get paid twice
In all seriousness, that case above happened to me a few years ago with a very large client and I sent the check back. It hurt, because we all need the money, but to this day they are one of my main clients. I’ll never know whether or not the client noticed my honest action, but I’d like to think they did and I can rest at night knowing it was the right thing to do.

The Four-Way Test provides a formula to guide the moral strength of decisions you make in business and in your personal life.

See the test in action
If you’d like to see the test in action, email me. I’ll invite you to lunch any Thursday at the Hard Rock Café in Bayside, were we, the Miami Rotarians, put it to good use. Want to get in the loop with the Rotary Club of Miami? Text ROTARYMIA to 65047 and get our event invites on your phone.

Want to know my answer to all the first 8 questions of the article? Especially the one about my wife’s hot gym friend? Text CONUNDRUM to 65047.

I’d love to hear it if the Four-Way Test worked for you. Tell me on Facebook, comment on our blog or email me at

What Do You Do? Answer Why Not What!

So what do you do? That’s pretty much the defacto opening line after meeting someone at a networking function or social gathering, even a kids’ birthday party, like the ones my wife has been forcing me to go to lately.

I go to the parties so my kids never accuse me later of having been an absent parent in an unhappy childhood. I’ll have video evidence so to speak.

Bored parents asking what
Those videos might also be evidence of the usual rituals we go through at these, unfortunately no-beer gatherings, where I get to field the “So what do you do?” line many times. We’re all just trying to gain relief from the boredom that’s interspersed with kid tantrums and bounce-house mishaps.

So now I’m using my parental sacrifices as a way to weave in the main topic of this article, which is how to answer when someone asks you what you do.

Advice from the Executive Safeguarding Your Future
I got good advice from my friend, professor and financial advisor Robert Bull, who’s title is Experienced International Executive Safeguarding Your Future (yes, that’s his real title). He said it’s not what you do that people care about, but why you do it.

The why engages others and helps them take an interest in what you do. In other words, answering what you do with why you do it is the best way to capture someone’s interest.

What’s the why?
“What do you do?” One answer might be, “I own a mattress store.” Ok, that says a lot and at the same time it doesn’t say much. But think about the “why” and you’ll get a much more interesting answer. One like, “I help people wake up feeling like a million bucks.” Now you’re thinking, “What? Tell me more!”

“What do you do?” The guy sitting next to you might say, “I sell insurance.” You might think “Ehh, not interested.” A better answer could be, “I help families protect themselves and their assets. So if something should happen to you, God forbid, I make sure your loved ones are taken care of financially.” You might get “Oh! How?”

“What do you do?” Instead of “I make mobile phone games,” a better and more business-oriented answer is, “I make games that kids can’t stop playing.” You might hear, “Wow, how do you do that and did you design Pong?”

“What do you do?” At one of the birthday parties, a guy wearing steel-toe boots answered, “I’m a contractor.” After inserting the “why,” the answer could have been “I build buildings that save electricity and are more eco-friendly.”

What’s your why?
My point is that what others care about is your value not your actual service. The value you bring to the relationship is what’s in it for your customers. That’s what they care about.

Answering the “why” and “what’s in it for them” applies to any situation, whether you’re meeting another bored parent at a mindless kid party or a prospective customer at an event. The “why” will guide the way.

For help with the “why,” I’ve found the Wow Pitch iPhone app from my friend and communications coach Anne Freedman to be a tremendous tool. It helped me find the “why” when presenting my mobile marketing services to others.

Do you have your “why”? I’d love to hear it. Comment below.

Ever Had Your Brother Held For Ransom? Mine Was

At 9:44 am on Friday, May 11, 2012, I got a call on my mobile. A voice said, “Your brother has been in an accident. He’s hurt.” “Where?” I asked. A male voice with a heavy Puerto-Rican accent said, “In a gas station and he is hurt pretty bad.” The voice went on to tell me, “He hit my brother’s motorcycle and damaged it and tried to run off.” I asked “Is your brother OK?” He responded, “We have your brother tied up and will not let him go.” “We can pay for the repairs!” I told him. He said, “I don’t know what is going on here, but I was called in to help. He’s tied up and beaten.” “We can repair the motorcycle,” I repeated. His voice was annoyed and aggravated: “Look, this is a kidnap and we want $1,500 now!”

I didn’t know what to think
My thoughts at this point were… My brother lives in Puerto Rico and these guys sound Puerto Rican. Do they know I’m in Miami? Are they physically in Puerto Rico? How am I to pay them? I was starting to get really nervous. My throat was drying up and my hands were shaking a bit. I kept trying to remember what I had heard about express kidnappings. It’s when they kidnap you and take you to an ATM for ransom. It usually happens in other countries.

The negotiation begins
“Are you going to help your brother?” he asked. I said yes and he responded, “Good. Go to an ATM and withdraw $1,500. Can you do that? Do you have that kind of money?” I thought, wait a minute, he wants to negotiate.

He was asking if I had the money, instead of assuming I had it. I said, “No, that’s a lot of money. I would need to transfer…” He cut me off and asked, “Transfer?” I said, “Yes, from one account to another. It can take 3 days.” The kidnapper said, “No, go to the ATM right now and take $600 out.” “The maximum is $500,” I said. His response was “No, its $600!” and he gave me delivery instructions. During all of this, I was frantically calling my brother’s cell phone number from my office line. He didn’t pick up. On my second attempt, I heard what sounded like a pickup, a pause, then a disconnect tone. I called again and it went straight to voice mail. The kidnappers have my brother’s cell phone I thought. I tried my brother’s wife and she didn’t pick up either. The voice said, “Get in your car now and drive to an ATM.” Does this guy know I’m in Miami, I wondered? I couldn’t get him the money physically. I took a bold step and said, “I’m not going anywhere until I speak to my brother.” He didn’t like that. “No. Do as I say!”

I was beyond nervous
“How do I know this isn’t a prank call from a radio station?” I asked. He started laughing condescendingly and told someone with him, “Rafi,” that I thought this was a radio station prank call. Rafi said, “That’s it, I’m going to kill him now.” The voice started shouting “Is this what you want, the death of your brother on your conscience?” At this point, I was beyond nervous, I was scared. I heard Rafi moving and I could hear faint background noise, like a crowd, but I couldn’t make it out. I started pleading, “No, no, no, I will help. Please!” And like in a movie, I braced to hear a gun shot. I told the voice, “Look why kill him, he is useless to you dead and then you’ll have to deal with that problem. I told you I will help.” The voice said, “Go to your car now and drive to an ATM.” All of a sudden, I got a second call on my mobile, from a phone number I didn’t recognize. I asked him “Someone is calling me, can I answer?” “No,” he said. “If you hang up, I will kill him.” As he explained what he wanted me to do, I tried to dial the number that just called, hoping it was my brother’s wife.

“Rafi, get the gun”
The voice then asked, “Who is Marcos Menendez?” I was freaking out by now. The kidnappers must have seen my caller ID on the other phone number and thought I was trying to call out for help. The voice again asked, “Who is Marcos Menendez? Huh? Answer me!” I said “Who? Mendez? I don’t know.” He asked, “Is someone calling you on the other line?” My mobile was flashing with another call, but I said “No, no one. Can’t you see I’m talking to you?” The voice said “I’m tired of playing games with you. I’m going to give the order to execute your brother. I’m done fantasmeando [playing around] with you. Rafi, get the gun.” I started begging, “No, please don’t shoot. I’m on my way to the car right now.” Trying to get a grip on the situation, I asked him, “How do I know you won’t kill me or my brother after I pay you?” His tone of voice changed, from slangy, reggaetonero to reassuring and comforting: “I know you might feel insecure about the exchange. That’s why we will do it at a public place like Winn-Dixie Supermarket.” I went dead cold. They knew I was in Miami. There are no Winn-Dixies in Puerto Rico. They kidnapped my brother in Puerto Rico, I thought, and knew I could pay them in Miami. “What are you doing now?” the voice asked. “Tell me!” I said, “I need to get dressed to go to the ATM.” At this moment, my mind was exactly where they wanted it – in compliance. I was broken, scared and worried about my brother. Fear got the best of me. I dismissed any fleeting, rational thoughts, gathered my keys and proceeded to my car, only to realize it wasn’t there. I forgot my wife needed my car for something that morning.

“We have a problem”
I didn’t know if I should tell the kidnapper I didn’t have a car. I asked, “Can someone else deliver the money?” “If it’s not you, we’ll kill him,” he said. “We have a problem,” I told him. “I don’t have a car.” He got irate, cursed me out and continued to threaten me. I told him not to worry. I could walk to an ATM. At that moment, my mobile phone flashed with another call. It was my brother. I couldn’t resist picking it up. “Is that you?” I asked. My brother answered: “What do you want?” My heart dropped. Oh man, was I relived.

My brother laughed
“You haven’t been kidnapped?” I asked. My brother started laughing. “You got called? It’s a hoax,” he told me. “They’re trying to extort money from you. I’m okay. I was busy with a client. That’s why I didn’t pick up when you called. Tell them to go to hell,” he said. “They tried that on me two years ago.” I heard the click of a disconnected line and remembered I left the kidnapper on hold. Then I got a text message, “Semurio.” Poorly spelled in Spanish: “He’s dead.”

It’s a scam
I later called the FBI to report what happened. They took my information, but the lady nonchalantly said it happens all the time. She would send the report to an agent and I might get a call. I guess it wasn’t of major importance, since no money was involved and no one was really kidnapped. But if the FBI isn’t going to move on this, at least I can let others know. What happened to me is a scam for money. It felt very real and scary to me, but fortunately, it was fabricated. I uncovered various forums and a news article about this scam. I also searched the phone numbers on caller ID from the “kidnappers.” Both numbers, 787-477-0979 and 787-624-4234, have Puerto Rican area codes. My advice is to save those numbers on your phone and if you get called, don’t pick up. I know this is a mobile marketing newsletter where I mostly talk about my business marketing experiences. But I thought this was especially important to share and this was the best way to get the word out to 8,000+ readers.

Ironically (and especially for me), the easiest way to have reached my brother would have been a text message. He would just have replied and the ruse would have been uncovered. Even the criminals thought a text message was a good way to communicate a powerful and direct message. And I can tell you from experience, it worked.

Has this happened to you? Comment below.