A few Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com readers have asked about QR codes so I thought it would be a good idea to get my assistant, Kristina, to explain what they are and how you can use them. ~Kivi
QR Codes have actually been around for a while. They just took a while to catch on here in the U.S. Our friends at Wikipedia tell us that QR (Quick Response) Codes were originally created by a Japanese corporation to track car parts. It’s a two dimensional bar code that was designed to allow for quick decoding, but honestly, I know you don’t really care about the science behind it, right?
You just wanna know what’s the big deal and what the heck it does, right? Well, that little box stores information such as addresses, contact information, or website addresses. Anything you’d like it to, really. So, if you have a QR Reader on your cell phone (and there are several apps available), it will scan the code with your phone’s camera and automatically take you to, let’s say, a website on your cell phone’s browser. Pretty cool, huh?
How to Create One
It’s easy! You just need a QR Code Generator. I have used Kaywa and QR-Server before. I’ll be using QR-Server’s generator, called GOQR.ME, for this post since it gives you a few more options.
Once you have downloaded the image, you can add it anywhere you could add a photo or other image.
How to Read One
You will need a QR reader for your phone. Some phones have them installed, but you may have to download an app. You can find them in your carrier’s app marketplace and there are a lot of them. I have a Droid X and use QR Droid.
Each app will vary, but basically you will be prompted to scan the QR code. That sounds all sci-fi, but it really just consists of you using your phone’s camera. Just hold the phone still until it is done scanning the code. Once it has “read” the code, you should be prompted to either visit that website or download whatever information was in the code.
What to Do With One
The possibilities are pretty much endless. Ask yourself:
- Where are the folks I want to reach?
- What do I want those folks to do?
Fundraising: Direct potential donors to your “Donate Now” page.
Business Cards: Contact info could simply be scanned into your phone.
Marketing: Put QR Codes on brochures or fliers at your events or any place where people will be out and about.
Services: Add a QR code to the front door of your facility that sends people to your services page.
Calendar of Events: Link to your event’s page.
Now keep in mind, people scanning your QR codes will then be using their phone to look at what’s linked to the cod. If your website or donate now page is difficult to navigate on a mobile phone, rethink sending them there. You can create simple pages that are better for cell phone browsers and use those.
I recently received this direct mail piece from Samaritan’s Purse. That QR code takes you to a video about their mission.
How might you use QR codes? Leave your ideas in the comments.
Kristina Leroux is Kivi’s little sister and executive assistant. She also runs Kristina Leroux.com, a virtual assistance service that provides online administrative support to nonprofits and entrepreneurs who need to spend more time focusing on their passion to help others and less time worrying about administrative and technical issues. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter or email her at kleroux [at] kristinaleroux [dot] com. For more “how-to” posts, check our her blog also.