Quick Response (QR) codes are black and white, pixilated, square graphics that can be captured by smartphones, and instantly pull up a website.
This sounds like a great campaign idea, when it comes to asking for donations, but according to Giving In A Digital World, the fad may not be as popular with consumers as it is with businesses.
Giving In A Digital World sites several reasons why QR codes might not be the best fundraising medium:
Downloading a reader application.
Not all smartphones come automatically equipped to read QR codes. Many users need to download an application from their app store. While a QR code makes donating quick, it also limits accessibility to those (1) with a smartphone and (2) with a QR reader app.
Only a small portion of mobile device users scan QR codes.
In 2011, comScore survey only reported 6.2% of people with a mobile device using the technology to scan a QR code.
QR placement is not always ideal.
QR codes have been placed on reflective surfaces outside, on buildings, buses, billboards, clothing, and more, which seems like a modern way to advertise, however each can cause issues for the scanner. The optimal placement of a QR code is on a proximal, unmoving, matte surface.
The end-site is not well-designed or planned, and sometimes not scalable to a mobile device
The research on mobile fundraising indicates that users are very willing to donate via mobile technology, and are often turned-off by mobile sites that take a long time to load or process, use too much data, are too complicated to navigate or complete a donation, or are not optimized for mobile usage.
QR code awareness is low.
Another study in 2011 by Levelwing that only 19% of the 928 survey respondents have scanned QR codes. In addition, 26% of respondents have never heard of QR codes, but have seen them, and another 8% have heard of QR codes, but never seen them.
The popular QR locations are not typically used by nonprofits for advertising.
Levelwing reports that the most popular medium for QR code scanning is magazines, with 66% of respondents that have scanned a QR code before doing so via this source. The second most popular source is the Internet at 58%, and then in-store displays at 51%. The least popular mediums are business cards, outdoor ads, TV, newspapers, posters/flyers, and brochures.