QR Code CampaignsWhat happens when a classic treasure hunt is turned into high-tech extravaganza?

The South Carolina Aquarium’s Be Rare Contest used QR codes as part of a city-wide scavenger hunt. Fifty pictures of alligators, along with unique QR codes, were scattered around the city, and participants competed to be the first to track down and scan the codes. The contest engaged the public, creating buzz for the aquarium’s new albino alligator exhibit.

These two-dimensional bar codes — called Quick Response (QR) codes —are read and interpreted by smartphones. As soon as the code is scanned, the phone automatically opens a certain website, sends a text message or dials a phone number. QR codes are a fast-moving trend that could revolutionize the future of nonprofit marketing, fundraising and special events.

They mobilize people instantly to sign petitions, make donations, register for events or simply access more information. QR codes give participants an easy way to check in or to share feedback at events. They work best when they are printed on flat surfaces like posters, brochures, or tickets. 

They can also be included as addendums to walking tours, exhibits and event registration systems to enhance your participant’s experience. For instance, you could offer an optional “express” starting line for the people with smartphones running your 5K to help ease the flow and improve your participants’ experience. 

QR codes can generate a large supporter response as well. For example, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network designed a flyer with both a text campaign and a QR code to get more information on how to get involved. Though only 30 people sent in text messages, the QR code had been scanned more than 200 times. It provided a quick, simple and direct way for people to be involved with the organization with very little hassle. They didn’t have to hand over any personal information, and they could get everything they needed right there simply by scanning the code into their phone.

Of course, not all of your potential donors and participants own smartphones or know what QR codes are…yet. Nielsen projects say that smartphones will become more common than basic cellular phones by the end of the year.

Are you ready to give your next fundraising event tech upgrade? Creating your QR code is easy: enter a URL, text message, or phone number into the free service at qrcode.kaywa.com, and your unique image will be generated immediately. Take a screen shot, copy and paste the provided HTML code, or save the permalink for later use.

How will you use QR codes to enhance your next event?

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