Charities behind the 8 ball with QR Codes? Or, are QR Codes something to ignore?

Charities use of QR codes appear to be either late to the game or, perhaps, charities are approaching the game a bit cautiously. I am not sure. Let me tell you what has caused me to as the question.

When on a recent business trip to New Zealand,  I was faced with QR codes repeatedly. QR codes are literally everywhere – at the Auckland airport, on political signage, on tourist brochures, in tourism ads in magazines, and on billboards. New Zealand has awakened to the use of QR codes! Yet, I have asked myself whether charity usage of QR codes is non-existent? I was on the hunt for them on charity content and I could not seem to find an example where charities are using QR codes, including in organisational materials, on fundraising brochures, on appeals to get bikers to do a multi-day bike ride, and the like. I have come up empty handed searching the charity material in New Zealand and Australia.

QR code (Quick Response Code) is a two dimensional barcode that has storage capacity behind the code, which allows organisations to create marketing campaigns to take the reader elsewhere (think donation form, video, website, and beyond). All it takes is a smart phone (camera-enabled device) for the donor or prospective donor to read the QR code and you can immediately drive the reader to some sort of call to action.

I recently received a piece of mail from Bobby Goldsmith Foundation commemorating the 30th anniversary of the passing of Bobby Goldsmith. The piece was a tribute to Bobby and all his life meant and the 30 years of work BGF has done to fight HIV/AIDS and to care for those with HIV. A brochure was enclosed and featured a QR Code. When one scans the QR Code, a video launches to educate the reader more about BGF.


With over 8.8 million Australians estimated to carry a smart phone, unless charities create QR codes and drive the reader to associated content, the charities are leaving the reader to respond using other devices – phone, email, Website or…mail!

Is your non-profit organisation using QR codes? How do you use them and are your constituents finding value in their use?