Lately, I’ve been reflecting on how the pandemic has shaped our lives and our work. The QR code has seen a meteoric rise. We use them to order lunch, pay for a haircut, or go to a concert. And now we use them to learn more about the issues that matter to us and to donate to organizations that we support.

QR Code

What is a QR Code?

But just in case you’ve spent the past few years on a remote island (sometimes I wish I had!), let’s talk about what a QR code is and why they’ve become such a part of our daily lives. QR is short for “quick response.” It is a barcode made up of a series of pixels that store information.

Why should I test one on my next direct mail campaign?

According to Bitly, there has been a 750% increase in QR downloads since the pandemic! While the pandemic was a major driver of QR code adoption, there are several benefits to using QR codes.

They store more data than a traditional barcode: They’re not just links to websites; they can also store images, video and audio content.

They are flexible: Dynamic QR codes can be edited and changed as many times as you need.

They track valuable statistics: You can track when and where the code was scanned, how many times it was scanned and on what operating device it was scanned—and all of this can be downloaded into a csv file for analysis (my favorite feature).

How can I use them?

The possibilities are truly endless, but I’ve jotted down some examples that I hope you’ll consider.

  • Campaign direct-to-donate links on the mail piece. Some donors like reading/receiving the mail but prefer to use digital as their payment channel. But be sure to test placement.
  • DAF giving A well-placed QR code that leads to your DAF landing page to resolicit DAF donors is a great tactic to test at year-end or at the beginning of the calendar year in the mail.
  • Ways to give Consider testing QR codes on your newsletter or welcome kit that highlight midlevel giving, monthly giving or special initiatives/projects your organization is working on.
  • Multichannel uplift at busy times in digital calendar Our inboxes have become crowded at GivingTuesday and year-end. Keep your organization top of the donor’s mind. Consider a postcard to digital donors ahead of GivingTuesday featuring a QR code.
  • Survey packages Maybe the donor does not want to take the time to fill out and return the survey. A QR code linking the donor to the survey online could increase completion rates. And better yet, make sure you daisy chain to a donation form on the digital survey to collect gifts!
Image of QR Codes

Let’s get out there and test!

And don’t be afraid to get creative. QR code design can reflect your logo and brand colors. You can even change the shape of the QR code to reflect your case for giving in the mail piece.