Wednesday, August 24, 2011

QR Codes and Donors

Recently, I was performing a stewardship audit and was interviewing the special event team about their use of technology and events. I asked a simple question, "do you currently use QR codes for your events or for RSVPs?" Immediately, I received two answers from the ladies, "I don't even know what that is" said one, and the other shook her head and said, "I tie bows and do arrangements, I don't 'do' technology." Strikingly, outside of the conference room we were in was a poster for their football team's fall schedule, and smack dab in the middle was a QR code. Irony is rich here folks! Now, neither of these two were in their eighties, in fact, our "bow tier" friend was younger than I am. Sigh.

So here I am discussing with you a great and free new technology, the QR code. Last month, over 5 million QR codes were scanned on smart phones in the US alone. A QR code is like a UPC code for smart phones that redirects you to a webpage, including videos, photo slideshows and more. Smart phone populations are booming and I would hedge a bet that most of your donors have one, eMarketer estimates 31% of mobile users, or 73.3 million people in the US, have a smartphone this year.

You can take any URL in the universe and create a free QR code for it by going to this website, then voila! 15 seconds later you have an image you can cut and paste and use anywhere like this one for my website-

maybe I should get it tattooed somewhere? Overshare? Lol I did this creation during a recent conference session and the whole room was magically transformed, with light bulbs everywhere thinking of the ease and possibilities!

Regardless of my bad humor, I have some great suggestions on how you can incorporate them into your donor relations activities!

1. Use them on your publications, invitations, and solicitations. They can redirect to an RSVP form, an online giving site, more information, a video about your event, the possibilities are endless and they save tons of text!

2. My friends at MSP Digital Marketing and others use them on the back of their business cards- genius!!

3. Put them on shirts, t shirts, polo shirts, give away items etc. then your donors at an event could have their scholarship student show them how they work and the image could lead them to a video of that student, a virtual campus tour, or a gratitude video- brilliant!! Don't have the money to do that on t-shirts!?--- Print them on the student's nametags!!! Free and easy and a great way for the donor and student to interact!!!

4. Trying to get a student's attention for those all elusive thank you notes, post a QR code and a mysterious note like, "I bet you won't" across campus and have it lead to a form where they can learn why this is important and submit their note- and then be entered to win something fab like an iPad- endless possibilities here folks!

5. Use one of your on campus graphic designers and have them jazz up the QR code like Cornell, Jet Blue and others are doing. As you can see the possibilities, much like social media, are endless- I would love to hear your feedback, creative uses you have seen and any questions you might have!



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