While interest has been high in recent years to fundraise over the Internet, a recent study found that direct mail continues to solicit the overwhelming majority of fundraising revenue. The 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report also found that more new donors are giving their first gifts online but then switching to offline giving, primarily through direct mail. By renewing support via direct-mail petitions, donations may increase, according to the report.
Without doubt, donors are increasingly taking advantage of the different media channels available today, from printed material to websites to social media. As a fundraiser, it is critical to consider offering donors multiple channels for giving and interaction with your organization.
This brings us to mobile. Today’s smartphones can also serve as great connectors to your donor base. The adoption of smartphones in the U.S. continues to grow, and people are connected to the Web and social media 24 hours a day. Printed direct-mail fundraising has used website addresses to connect donors to online channels, but how can a printed piece interact with a donor’s smartphone? The answer: Quick Response (QR) codes.
Make print interactive with QR codes
You may have already heard of these two-dimensional barcodes as they have recently taken the marketing world by storm. Somewhat resembling a gray and black checkerboard, these codes are showing up in more and more places in the U.S., including magazines, billboards, business cards, product labels and in-store displays. Mobio Identity Systems Inc., a mobile payments company, reported QR code use in the last six months of 2010 increased 1,200 percent across North America.
QR codes, when scanned by a mobile device such as a smartphone, can immediately link users from printed material to online content. A QR code can be printed on a direct-mail piece sent to prospective donors or on a poster advertising a fundraising event. When a prospective donor scans the code with her smartphone, she is immediately directed to online content hosted by your organization. Powerful printed appeals are enhanced with an interactive mobile response — an immediate call to action that bridges the physical world with the virtual one. On-the-spot access to online resources can make integrated fundraising campaigns extremely effective, providing immediate access to all sorts of additional information of interest to donors, including:
- An emotional video to help tell your story;
- Photos of featured items for a silent auction;
- More detailed information on how a donation will help someone in need;
- Event details with ticket information; and
- Your organization’s Facebook page
A critical advantage to using QR codes with your printed appeals is allowing donors to link immediately to an online site when their interest is high. A recipient can connect online through her phone and make a reservation for a fundraising dinner right when it’s on her mind.