If you haven’t noticed QR Codes yet, after you read this post and browse the QR Codes on Flickr you’re going to start to seeing them everywhere. In magazines, on flyers, tabletops, and conference materials. So, what are they?
QR Codes are two-dimensional bar code images that when scanned by a camera on a smartphone open a link to a website, send a SMS, or dial a phone number. You can easily create QR Codes for free at sites like qrcode.kaywa.com and qrstuff.com. To scan a QR Code, smartphone owners download a QR Code Reader [browse your App Store/Gallery for a "qr code reader"] and then take a picture of the QR Code. The person scanning is then sent either to a mobile Web browser to view the link inside the QR Code, sent a text message, or prompted to dial a phone number. QR Codes are ideal for location-based communications and fundraising campaigns. Try it! Scan the QR Code featured in this blog post to see how it works.
Interestingly enough QR Codes are turning out to be a tool that finally helps nonprofits understand why they need mobile websites (for multiple reasons). Think about it. Linking to a desktop site in a QR Code that is meant to be read on smartphone is not practical. It’s very difficult to read a 12″ wide website on a 2.5″ wide screen. To best utilize QR Codes you will need to link to Web pages designed for mobile browsing, especially “Donate Now” and “Text-to-Give Now” pages and petition pages optimized for mobile use. It’s also smart to link to your social networking communities, but to the mobile versions i.e., m.facebook.com/nonprofitorgs, m.twitter.com/nonprofitorgs, m.youtube.com/nonprofitorgs, m.flickr.com/photos/nonprofitorgs, etc.
There are infinite possibilities of what your nonprofit can link to in QR Codes – just make sure the pages can easily be read on mobile devices. My guess is that over the next year we’re going to see a rise in nonprofit services tailored to create mobile-friendly Web page and QR Codes. That said, QR Codes that prompt scanners to call phone numbers could be put to very interesting use at political events protests ushering in a new wave of QR Code activism.
The early adopters in the nonprofit sector are a creative bunch. With a mobile website (create one for only $8 a month) and a QR Code generator and reader, there are thousands of possible QR Code campaigns. To help jumpstart your creativity, here are 22 ideas to ponder:
1. In fundraising appeals.
2. In print newsletters.
3. At fundraising events – galas, marathons, etc.
4. On flyers and community billboards.
5. At protests.
6. At conferences.
7. At check-out lines.
8. On tabletops in restaurants.
9. In playbills.
10. In museum tour materials.
11. As scavenger hunts.
12. In city tours.
13. At concerts and sporting events.
14. For art walks.
15. At zoos, aquariums, and animal shelters.
16. In libraries.
17. At parks and outdoor recreation venues.
18. At church.
19. On college and university campuses.
20. At airports.
21. In window displays.
22. On t-shirts, mugs, pins, and business cards.