QR Codes for Mobile Phones
At last weekend's Catholic New Media Celebration, I gave a presentation on mobile technology, titled Gadgets & Gizmos: Sanctifying Mobile Technology. In the presentation, I offered some ideas for ways parishes can take advantage of the smartphones and iPads that more than half their parishioners now use.
One of the ideas that seems to have generated a great deal of interest—and skepticism—was the use of QR codes to assist mobile users.
What are they? Basically, they're 'Quick Response' codes (see Wikipedia for more); they encode a string of text that can tell a person's smartphone to do something: visit a link, call a phone number, or send a text message to a particular number (to name a few things).
Two ideas I had that I really do think could be implemented in many parishes already, with some good effect, are using QR codes to get people registered for your parish, and using QR codes to accept donations.
QR Codes for Registration
flockNote is already ahead of the curve here: If you go to your Network's edit page, then click on 'Embed in Your Website', and expand the 'Links' section, you'll notice we've added a QR code that directs visitors straight to your Network's registration page:
If you take that QR code (click on it for a bigger version) and print it on the front cover of your bulletin, or a poster in the back of church, and encourage mobile users to scan it to register, you may be able to get a few new registrants 'in the moment' (which is often better than sending people home with a registration card that may or may not be returned).
Mobile Donations with QR Codes
Another great opportunity is to create a QR code that directs a user straight to your parish or organization's 'Donate' page on your website. You'll want to make sure you keep the donation page really simple, though, otherwise mobile users may give up while filling out your donation form.
If possible, just ask for a person's name, address, and credit card details. Better yet, try using PayPal's mobile donation service or some other method of accepting donations that doesn't involve the mobile phone user trying to type out long strings of numbers and other information!
Obviously, QR codes are not as popular in the US as they are in many other countries (notably, Japan), but I've been seeing them in more and more places, and in many ads (even on a ketchup bottle!). Time will tell whether they catch on for a while, or are a passing fad... but if you can use them to get a few more people registered via mobile devices, or send them to a page to sign up for a contest, they'll have helped in some small way!
By Jeff Geerling - Oct 6, 2011 at 9:50 am