4 Ways to Use a QR Code to Raise Money

Photo by EEPaul
03.12.2013By

Photo by EEPaul

Scanning QR Codes with a mobile device is one of the most popular ways to donate money.

I’m on a mission to discover all the different ways you can scan-to-give. As a cause marketer, I’m especially interested in how businesses and nonprofits are using QR Codes to trigger giving.

Here are four ways QR Codes lets your donors scan-to-give, their advantages and disadvantages, and how real life businesses are using them.

1) QR Code Links to PayPal

After scanning the QR Code with their smartphone, the donor enters her PayPal username and password to confirm a donation.

  • Advantage: The donor can quickly make a donation without manually entering her credit card information.
  • Disadvantage: The donor has to have an active PayPal account.

Real World Example: Baked good chain Cinnabon posted QR Codes at its registers that customers could scan to donate to anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength via PayPal. The campaign raised $3,800.

2) QR Code Links to a Merchant Account

After scanning the QR Code, the donor enters her credit card information.

  • Advantage: Anyone with a credit card can make a donation.
  • Disadvantage: You may have to type in your credit card information every time you want make a mobile donation.

Real World Example: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City used a QR Code that linked to a mobile site where donors can enter their credit card information and make a donation.

3) QR Code Lets You Text-to-Give

After scanning the QR Code, the donor charges the donation to her cellphone account.

  • Advantage: A quick and easy way to donate! Plus, many cellphone users are comfortable with text giving so there’s no learning curve.
  • Disadvantage: Text-to-give plans vary, but in general, it will be your most expensive option.

Real World Example: Cause beer maker 50 Back used a QR Code to link cellphone users to a landing page where they could buy a solider a beer for $1.99. Text2Pay handled donations. The donor’s cellphone account was charged $1.99, but Text2Pay takes $.99 of every purchase as a processing fee. In less than a year, 50 Back gave away 7,400 beers to thirsty soldiers.

4) QR Code Triggers a Cash or In-Kind Donation

After scanning the QR Code, the business will donate cash or product to a nonprofit.

  • Advantage: Like tracking the clicks on a hyperlink, tracking QR Code scans is easy.
  • Disadvantage: The consumer isn’t given the opportunity to support the campaign beyond scanning the QR Code. The company–not the consumer–makes the donation. Consumers may feel that their simple action isn’t making a real difference.

Real World Example: When you scan the QR Code on the back of a Heinz Ketchup bottle and thank a veteran for their service, Heinz will donate $1 to the Wounded Warriors Project.

What scan to give options would you add to this list?

Looking for some inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board of QR Code cause marketing campaigns.