Chartiy Uses QR Codes to Increase Donations

[tweetmeme source=”equalman” only_single=false use social mediaSince it’s the season of giving, we thought it appropriate to highlight a great organization that is using technology to further its cause. Specifically, with demand for emergency food at record high levels, City Harvest is reaching donors with an innovative advertising campaign that uses technology commonly used by for-profit marketers but new to fundraisers.

On advertisements in print, phone kiosks, transit shelters, and on Facebook, City Harvest has incorporated a QR code, which functions like a barcode and can be scanned by mobile phones. As a result they will deliver 8.5 million pounds of food this holiday season.

This cutting edge technology offers donors the highest level of flexibility. Cell phone users that scan the QR code will immediately have the option to go to the City Harvest website, read facts about City Harvest, view a video illustrating City Harvest’s work, and make a donation online or by clicking a button to call City Harvest directly.

Donors can choose the amount they wish to donate and get more information about City Harvest at the touch of a button. QR Codes in Advertising

The QR codes can be found on City Harvest’s new advertising campaign featuring New York City residents that have taken action to fight hunger. Though the food City Harvest rescues and delivers is donated, City Harvest needs cash donations to maintain their trucks and staff that are essential to picking up and distributing food. The advertisements demonstrate the impact of donors who pull out their wallet or checkbook in helping City Harvest feed more hungry New Yorkers.

“In an era of mobile technology, potential donors want and expect to be able to act immediately,” said Jilly Stephens, executive director of City Harvest. “QR codes allow New Yorkers just learning about City Harvest to get more information quickly and easily as well as give.”

“QR codes are changing the future of donor-charity relationships. They allow nonprofits to interact with their donors by exchanging engaging content,” said Irina Skaya, marketing manager at Horizon Media. “QR codes can be used without monthly running costs and function without limiting the dollar amount donors give to the nonprofit.”

Despite other indicators that the recession has ended, agencies served by City Harvest have reported no relief since demand for emergency food spiked last year. City Harvest works to meet greater need at soup kitchens and food pantries by rescuing and delivering food to some 600 programs throughout the five boroughs. Currently, City Harvest helps feed over 300,000 hungry men, women, and children each week. Donate

By Erik Qualman

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5 responses to “Chartiy Uses QR Codes to Increase Donations

  1. I can see SO many applications for this for the blood center; partner with high traffic locations, displaying a small graphic at check-out that includes a QR code to connect people with the blood mobile schedule in their area; sends them to a landing page with the gift of the month for donating blood; upcoming events at which the blood center will have drives; info about annual golf tournament; instant donation site for the Foundation – the mind boggles at the possibilities!

  2. Interesting development.

    I’m interested in if they decided to only use QR codes, thus excluding many non-smartphone owners, or if the QR code was displayed alongside a range of other options, an integrated approach, with other response mechanisms, such as the lowly URL…

    If so, PR based decision or they saw value in QR above other approaches?

    • Great question Brant. I believe this was additive to more traditional means for donations. The smart thing is that they realize they will get a PR lift using QR codes. So even if a ton of people don’t use them, the word will get out (e.g. this post is a good example).

      Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!!


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