In nonprofit fundraising, one of the central goals of fundraising technology is to make it very easy for a donor to give. If a donor is sitting at a desk on a computer, giving is relatively easy. However, most donors are on the move. What is the easiest way to give at an event, in the carpool line, checking out at a store or at lunch with a friend? For years, we have relied upon the text-to-donate functionality but QR codes are the easiest way to give. QR codes are a simple, effective technology that nonprofits can use in many ways to create an easy path to a mobile-friendly giving page.
QR Codes 101
What is a QR Code: QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) were invented in 1994 (can you believe it’s been that long?) but their use has broadened widely in the years since. Basically, the code contains data that points to a website or application. The QR code is typically a square with dots or lines configured so that it is readable by the camera on a mobile phone. The code itself can include a graphic and different colors without altering the information.
How to use a QR code? Prior to COVID, most people did not realize that their phone camera served as a QR code reader. COVID changed this. QR codes are widely used by the restaurant industry to direct guests to an online menu, schools to purchase game/performance tickets, magazines to link to an item for purchase and nonprofit giving. A person simply opens up the camera on a mobile device and centers the code on the screen. The phone will “see” the code and a box will pop up with the link to the designated web page. It’s easier than text-to-donate, easier than searching for an email with a link, easier (and more secure) than filling out a card or writing a check.
Two Types of QR Codes
There are two types of QR codes: Dynamic and Static
A dynamic code provides an organization with significantly more flexibility especially if you decide to print the code on long-term places (i.e. a business card, coffee mug). A static code is easy to create and free.
What is the difference between a dynamic and a static QR code?
With a dynamic QR code, an organization can change the link that will pop up for donors/guests easily. This means you can feel comfortable printing the code on business cards, coffee mugs, placing it on a billboard because you can always control and change (if needed) the link that the code will provide.
A static code is created from a web address link and it cannot be changed. This is suitable use for an event or on materials that will be disposed of quickly.
10 Ideas for Using a QR Code in Fundraising
There are so many creative ideas for QR codes. Here is a full list with a few templates.
Anywhere that text-to-donate worked, a QR code will work better.
Plus, you can design QR codes to match your brand with colors and a logo.
Business cards: Everyone on your team can simply use their card when someone says, "I'd love to support your mission".
Slide Presentation: Are you speaking to a local club with a slide deck? Are you showing slides at an event? Put the QR code front and center on a slide. Most guests will be able to scan the code from their seats.
Table Centerpiece Cards: The table guests can easily scan and give right from their seats. (With Swell, we even track giving by table automatically). Here is a table card canva template.
Stickers: Everyone loves stickers but at an event a sticker can go on a nametag, cups, centerpieces. Use a dynamic QR code and create a sticker that your team and supporters might stick to a laptop or notebook. Here is a Canva template to get you started.
Nametags: This is in the sticker family, of course, but imagine all of your guests having a donation link on their nametag. The QR code can be quite small and work well at a close range.
Merchandise: Are you hosting a run? Print a small QR code on the t-shirt. Are you hosting a breakfast? Provide your guests with a coffee mug - your logo and a QR code. What a fun way to ask your guests to give! (Note: we would recommend using a dynamic QR code on merchandise so that the code is always working and leading to a current giving page).
Napkins: perfect for a cocktail or casual gathering where you do not have table cards or a program.
Event signage, posters and all printed materials used to advertise the event: Consider using a QR code that leads to your ticketing page for event advertising.
Donor newsletter or Postcards: If you send a printed newsletter or other materials via direct mail, consider adding a QR code to that mail piece.