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April 4, 2023 | Categories Donation Processing, DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, Featured, Fundraising Strategies, Nonprofit Technology

5 Dos and Don’ts for Engaging Donors with QR Codes

Between scanning restaurant menus, contactless payments, and accessing transit schedules from specific stops, QR codes have become increasingly commonplace in the last few years as a result of safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some reports suggest that between February 2020 and August 2021, QR code downloads increased by an incredible 750%. 

And the growth isn’t stopping! Business Insider predicts that individual smartphone users who scan QR codes will increase from 83.4 million in 2022 to 99.5 million in 2025. So, how can nonprofits take advantage of fundraising QR codes as a way to connect with their communities? For many nonprofit directors, QR codes are a no-brainer as they plan how to reach a wider audience: they are usually free to generate and only take a few seconds to put your online form in front of a donor.

Try the free QR code generator from DonorPerfect:

1. DO: Use QR codes to make it easy to give

Before QR codes for nonprofits and other digital giving tools, giving in response to a direct mail appeal included a lot of friction for donors. They would have to write a paper check or find cash to mail with the reply envelope, or call the nonprofit during operating hours to read their credit card information over the phone. And they’ll only give in these ways if they trust the post office or feel comfortable sharing their credit card information over the phone. 

Now, nonprofits can include a QR code that links to their giving page directly on their mailers. Including secure payment options like Venmo and PayPal make it fast and easy for donors to give from their phones, so you can capture their charitable spirit the moment your letter inspires them to give back. 

DonorPerfect Online Forms accept Paypal as a form of payment

Encourage your supporters to give securely and seamlessly with digital wallets like PayPal and Venmo through DP Forms. They’re included for DonorPerfect subscribers! Learn more>>

QR codes can also help you save big on mailings. Rather than a full appeal letter with a response device, you can try sending a postcard with a QR code to your full message, including video, photos, and giving options, to drive your supporters to donate. 

Don’t waste money mailing to the wrong people – have a process in place to regularly update your donor addresses. With DP Address Updater, you can set DonorPerfect to automatically update addresses while you sleep. Learn more >>

2. DON’T: stop at your giving page

There are lots of creative ways to use QR codes to connect with your donors, and adding variety will encourage them to scan your code so they can get in on the action. Here are some ideas for ways to use QR codes that will delight your donors without asking them to give:

  • A video update from your executive director
  • The rendering of your future building after you kick off a capital campaign
  • If you’re a performing arts or musical nonprofit, a link to a playlist of your artists’ top hits
  • A question linking to a poll 
  • A photo album or video of your latest event or successful project 

Cultivating your donors is a critical step in making sure they feel like a valuable part of your community, rather than just walking ATMs. 

Create, edit, and send video messages directly from your DonorPerfect account with DP Video!

3. DO: Put your QR code up around your community 

You don’t have to limit your QR codes to appeal letters – try thinking of where your community members might carry their phones, and have a little time to spare, and get creative! 

Do you have billboards or other signage around town? How about using stickers, flyers, or yard signs to catch the eyes of passersby? Try to think of places where people have to spend time waiting: the dentist, doctor’s office, restaurant waiting areas, the airport, the bus stop…

If you’re interested in reaching potential beneficiaries, you can put your QR code up in areas they’re likely to visit. If you’re an animal rescue nonprofit, the waiting room at the vet or the entrance to a dog park are great places to reach people who share an interest in your mission. Instead of doom scrolling, now your audience can enjoy a story of how your nonprofit helped a dog just like theirs!

4. DON’T: Forget to include a clickable link when using QR codes on digital communications 

If you include a QR code in an email, that works for readers who are on their computers and can take out their mobile device to scan it, but what about readers who are already on their phones? If they can’t tap the image to open your link, the QR code is worthless to them and hurts your engagement efforts.

Meet donors where they live and give: online. Streamline operations and maximize your digital impact through Givecloud’s integration with DonorPerfect. 

5. DO: Track that data! 

On top of donor engagement opportunities, QR codes offer nonprofits great data and tracking opportunities. With a marketing piece like a billboard, it’s possible to estimate how many people see it in a given day, but with QR codes, you can know for sure how many people scanned and interacted with it. 

If you include a QR code on a direct mail appeal, make sure to track the number of people who scanned the code and gave in response to that letter, and include it in your results so you can accurately evaluate the appeal’s success. 

Want to learn other strategies to boost your online fundraising results? The Digital Fundraising Makeover for Nonprofits is a free guide that can help you clear your online fundraising “closet” of clutter and curate a collection of staples and standouts that will delight your donors and inspire them to give back. 

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Meet the author: Emily Zacek

Emily Zacek joined the DonorPerfect team as a copywriter in January, 2022. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with degrees in flute performance and organizational studies, and her undergraduate thesis focused on labor activity trends in American arts nonprofits. She brings a...

Learn more about Emily Zacek
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