Nonprofits Use QR Codes® to Get People to Act

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April 19, 2012

Nonprofits don’t have the budget of Nike so they can’t spend $300 million pushing a campaign centered on a swoosh or statement like Just Do It.

So the nonprofits that are continuing to ask, “How can we squeeze out more results on the same budget,” are turning to technology, multi-channel campaigns, and QR Codes® for additional lift.

Organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network are piloting QR Codes® to see if they can achieve better life or market penetration without adding costs. Statistics from Netwit Thinktank say these nonprofits are wise to do so:

  • In aggregate, online-acquired donors have much higher cumulative value over the long term than traditional mail-acquired donors.
  • Online giving was up 13% in 2011
  • It has become increasingly common for new donors to give their first gift online.
  • The largest amount given online in 2011 was $260,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers and Big Sisters in Kansas City is the top matching agency in the country yet they face the same challenge faced by each state – finding enough men to mentor boys. Currently there are more than 600 boys on the Kansas City wait list for a big brother.

To recruit more big brothers it bought “Real Men Mentor” print ads and billboard space included a QR Code® that led to information and an online volunteer application.

To BBBS’s credit, the billboards did not include a QR symbol that someone driving couldn’t scan safely any way.  In the first six weeks of the campaign, Big Brothers Big Sisters received 196 clickthroughs to its application page, according to Kristi Hutchison, BBBS Chief Marketing Officer.

Unfortunately because this is the first time they’ve used QR Codes®, whether the clickthroughs came from emails or QR scans is unknown. Hutchison says call-to-action sources will be closely tracked in the next campaign.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PCAN) used an event awareness night at a L.A. Kings game in California as an opportunity to beta test QR effectiveness. So the “Be a Hero” flyer the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network distributed that night included two new calls to action (1) a mobile opt-in via text messaging and (2) a QR Code®.

The PCAN was wise to include some basic scanning instructions on its flyer since only 5% of Americans are using QR Codes®.

The results were about 30 people out of a 1000 opted in via text message, which was a typical response rate. However, the QR Code was scanned more than 200 times – out pulling text messaging. The QR Code® led the curious attendees to a simple page that showed them how to learn more, how to get involved, and how to find a local event they could attend.

Want to see how other nonprofits are using this technology to increase their numbers. Check out How Nonprofits Can Use QR Codes.
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