Holiday Fundraising with QR Codes



Remember QR codes? They were big in the early 2010s, then vanished for a while. In the era of COVID-19 and social distancing, however, these nifty little codes have made a comeback. They’re cheap, easy to use, accessible to pretty much anyone with a smartphone, and require no person-to-person contact.


Giving this year looks different; every nonprofit is well aware of that by now. In-person galas and fundraisers have moved online, and everyone is navigating a world gone virtual. GivingTuesday and end-of-year campaigns will look different as well. QR codes offer the opportunity to get creative and broaden your reach and appeal to new donors this holiday season. Below are a couple of ideas you can use when employing QR codes.

Tip: To double the impact, transition your GivingTuesday page to an End-of-Year campaign page (we’ll have a tutorial on how to do this coming soon). That way any collateral you print for GivingTuesday using these QR codes will work until the end of the year!



Community Billboards

Maybe you’re in an area with a lot of local parks or neighborhood billboards. Create an eye-catching poster with a QR code that links to your GivingTuesday or End-of-Year fundraising page. A great example of this was The Big Wild’s “do something small to save something big” campaign; community members could scan the QR code on the poster and learn more about the campaign and the cause, as well as sign the petition to save British Columbia’s Flathead River Valley.

The key here is to be creative and clever with your design – the QR code must be the center of attention, but it must be done in a way that stands out to passersby.


Partner with a local coffee shop or small business

If you have a connection with any local businesses or coffee shops in your town or neighborhood, it might be a good idea to reach out to them and ask partner with them over the holiday season. Many people are getting their holiday shopping done, and since it ‘tis the season of giving, may be in a more charitable mood as they wait for their coffee or purchase gifts for their loved ones. The idea is simple and easy for everyone involved: create a small sign or poster with your organization’s logo, a brief summary of your mission and fundraising goal, and a QR code linking to your donate page. Then ask local businesses if they would be willing to display this sign at their checkout counters or on community bulletin boards in their shops. It costs you and them nothing, which is always great!

If you have a strong and established relationship with any businesses, you could take it a step further and get creative here! Create bookmarks with your QR code and fundraiser information and ask local bookstores to hand them out with each purchase. Or, partner with a local coffee shop to run a limited batch of coffee cup sleeves that incorporate your fundraiser’s QR code. Creativity is key!


Incorporate QR Codes into your usual holiday fundraising plan

We all know, that when the holidays roll around, the Salvation Army bell ringers will be at a store near you, raising money for those in need. This year, the classic Red Kettle Campaign has gone virtual in many states, using QR codes to allow for contactless donations. They still have the little red bucket, it’s just a 2020 version with QR codes that donors and passersby can scan easily with their phones. Perhaps your organization typically has a holiday 5K (turkey-trot, anyone?) that’s gone virtual this year. Add a QR code to your runners’ bibs that link to your fundraising page. That way, runners can get their neighbors involved and possibly recruit new donors while jogging through the neighborhood!

Think strategically: are QR codes something you can incorporate into your normal holiday fundraising plan in a fun and creative way?

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