For those who aren’t familiar, QR (short for “quick response”) codes are those pixel-y little boxes you might have seen popping up on store windows or in magazine ads. If you have a smart phone, you can use it to snap a picture of the code and it will take you to the web address of, say, a coupon, a video, or any number of things.
My pal Emily Goodstein wrote a long post about QR codes for Convio’s Connection Cafe blog recently. Check it for a much better explanation than mine, and for an example of how the National Partnership for Women and Families used a QR code to occupy conference attendees as they waited in a long security line. There’s also a helpful intro post up at Nonprofit Tech 2.0.
I was curious about the ways that organizations like yours might be using this technology. Here are some of the responses to my tweet, from folks with lots of different goals.
- CAMBA Inc., a Brooklyn-based human services organization, recently included QR codes on transit posters for an HIV anti-stigma campaign. (Click that link to see the Facebook note that accompanied the campaign as well as the poster.)
Inspire an action
- Hope & Heroes, the children’s cancer fund at Columbia University Medical Center, is considering adding a QR code to a save the date postcard for an upcoming walk event. Anyone who sees the postcard could scan the code and go straight to the registration page.
- Miss Representation, a documentary film and nonprofit aimed at raising visibility of women leaders, tweeted: “We used QR codes to help spread a petition! Check it out: http://j.mp/mOBrgV.” They posted the codes around San Francisco and, though it was hard to track, found that it increased the number of signatures.
- Larry Schooler of Austin, TX, noted: “We’re a city government, not nonprofit, but we use QR codes to send people to websites where they give input on city policy.”
Share a video
- Independence First, an organization that serves people with disabilities in greater Milwaukee, WI, said: “Honestly we use them on almost everything now. Ads, flyers, event invites, brochures. Love em!” A second tweet clarified that for each of those examples, the QR code takes you to a video – one might be an invitation to a big event; another a more general “About Our Work” video.
- Small Change Fund, a collective giving campaign based all over Canada, added a QR code to the backs of their staff business cards. The code “links to video of our founders explaining who we are & why we exist!”
More ideas, plus a caveat
- Rebecca Saidlower, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications at The Jewish Education Project, wrote “we discussed using them on conference badges as mobile business cards.”
- And finally, a word of caution from social media manager Josh Ness, who says that if you’re thinking about developing a QR code, you should “try to avoid these QR mistakes!”
Your turn! Have you ever bothered to snap a photo and see where a QR code might take you? Has your agency or organization incorporated QR codes into your campaigns? I’d love to hear about it.