Ways Nonprofits Can Use QR Codes in Fundraising

These past few years have seen a rise in the use of QR codes in all sorts of contexts, from product packaging to advertisements to payments. And while their use has been largely limited to the for-profit business world, nonprofits can and should get in on the QR code action too. 

Why? Because QR codes can be a powerful tool for nonprofits looking to engage potential donors and boost fundraising efforts

Read on to learn more about how your nonprofit can use QR codes to its advantage.

What is a QR code?

A Close-Up Shot of a Person Scanning a QR Code

A QR code (short for “Quick Response”) is a type of 2-dimensional barcode that can be read by smartphones and other devices with a camera. When scanned, a QR code can take the user to a specific website, reveal text or contact information, or even initiate a donation.

These codes are increasingly popular, as they're easy to use and increase engagement. And since more and more people are using their mobile devices to do everything from checking the news to making donations, QR codes present an attractive avenue for nonprofits looking to connect with potential donors.

Some advanced QR code generators even offer customization options, allowing you to change the colors and design of the QR code to match your branding or preferences. Adobe Express online QR code generator is a good option to consider. Many mobile apps also provide QR code generation functionality, enabling you to quickly create QR codes directly from your smartphone or tablet.

How can a Nonprofit use QR codes?

As a nonprofit, you can use QR codes in a variety of ways to engage potential donors and make fundraising more efficient. For example, you can:

Use QR Codes on Fundraising Materials

Including a QR code on your next batch of fundraising materials will make it easier for people to donate on the go. The only thing they'll need is a QR code reader (which most smartphones have built-in), and they can scan the code to be taken directly to your donation page. No more fumbling around for a URL or trying to type in a long web address on a compact phone keypad. This tactic can be particularly effective if tabling at an event or setting up a donation booth somewhere.

Embed in Emails

If you're already using email to reach out to potential donors, then adding QR codes to your messages is a no-brainer. Just include a QR code that links to your donation page somewhere in the body of your email and you're good to go. As a bonus, you can use these codes to track the effectiveness of your email campaigns by including different codes in each message and seeing which ones get scanned the most.

Use QR Codes to Send Texts

You can also elevate your fundraising strategies by integrating QR codes with text campaigns for nonprofits. These “text-to-give” campaigns make donations as simple as a scan and send. By embedding these codes in various promotional materials, donors can quickly scan to send a pre-filled donation text message. This streamlines the process and helps you appeal to a broader audience. This simplifies giving and also helps you leverage the widespread use of smartphones, blending traditional fundraising with digital convenience to boost engagement and support for your cause.

Add to Multimedia Content

Multimedia content like videos or infographics may be more engaging than traditional text-based content, but it can be harder to include a call-to-action in these formats. Adding a QR code is a great way to get around this problem. Just make sure you place the code in a part of the video or infographic that makes sense and is visible enough that people will be able to scan it.

Make QR-enabled OOH Advertisements 

Since OOH or “out-of-home” ads are designed to be seen by people out and about, they're the perfect place to put a QR code. So if your nonprofit is running any bus, subway, or billboard ads, add a QR code to the mix and watch your engagement (and donations) soar.

How to create a QR code for fundraising?

Person Taking Photo of the QR Code

You don’t need to be a coding wizard or have a background in graphic design to create a QR code. Here are a few easy steps to get started with QR codes for fundraising:

  • Choose a QR Code Generator

To begin with, you'll need to choose a code generator. The Internet is full of QR code generators, so choose a high-ranking, reputable generator that offers the features you want yet is surprisingly easy to use. Uniqode, for example, has established itself as the go-to platform for many, thanks to its user-friendly interface and a wide range of customization options.

  • Decide on the Data You'll Use

Once you’ve chosen a generator, decide what information you want to embed. This could be a web address, an email address, or even a multimedia file.

  • Generate your code

After deciding on a content type, you’re ready to produce your code. Nearly all generators take you step-by-step through this process, asking you for the information you want to include and the layout options.

  • Print or download your QR code

If you’re using your QR code for an offline campaign, you may wish to print it out so that it can be scanned in the field. But if you’re using your code for an online promotion, download it as a graphic and upload it to your digital marketing materials.

  • Be Mindful of Padding

When printing your code on paper or another offline medium, leave enough space around the code so that scanning is easy. A good rule of thumb is to leave .25 inches of padding around all sides of the code. But if your code is near a fold, cut, or sharp edge, consider leaving even more padding just in case anything gets distorted during printing.

Tips to get success with QR codes in fundraising

Now that you know how simple it is to create QR codes, let's look at some best practices that will increase the likelihood of their success.

Test your code before releasing

When you think your code is ready, test it on a few different devices to ensure it can be read and decoded correctly. Once you're confident that everything is working as it should, your code will be ready for its public debut.

Employ Project and Resource Management Tools

Much like any other project, QR code fundraising campaigns require a bit of backstage organizational magic to ensure everything runs smoothly. This is where project and resource management tools come in. These tools are not just for the high-flying agencies; even grassroots movements can leverage them to orchestrate a symphony of efficiency. All you have to do is explore the vast prairies of the Internet to find blogs and forums highlighting the crème de la crème of marketing or creative agency management tools. This way, you can bypass the tedious trial-and-error phase and equip your team with the arsenal of already vetted, battle-approved tools.

Manage QR code scans ethically

With QR codes, you can now track how many people are scanning your code and when. This information can help you understand which parts of your campaign resonate with donors and where you might need to make some adjustments. But make sure you're using this data ethically. Be clear about what data you're collecting and why. And try to allow donors to opt-out of data collection if they're uncomfortable with it.

Channel the Power of Social Media 

If you're ready to have your QR campaign go viral (or at least try to achieve internet fame for a hot minute), then you'll need the power of social media behind you. But let's be real: whipping up those viral-worthy, envy-inducing posts isn't always as easy as it seems. That's where the sorcery of free AI tools like OneUp's Facebook caption generator and Instagram hashtag generator comes into play. These nifty resources will help you conjure up those scroll-stopping captions that beg to be shared, liked, and scanned.

Fundraise with QR codes 

QR codes offer a world of possibilities for nonprofits looking to take their fundraising campaigns to the next level. They’re easy to use, trackable, and cost-effective—what more could you ask for? So if your nonprofit isn’t using QR codes yet, now is the time to start!

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