[Editor's note: The following first appeared in the March 2011 issue of NTEN:Change. Read the complete issue of NTEN's new quarterly journal for nonprofit leaders by subscribing to the journal for free!]
Similar to an old-fashioned bar code, a QR (which stands for "quick response") code is a black and white graphic box holding valuable information. There are many dedicated QR code readers out there as apps, available for download directly to your smart phone.
QR codes can be embedded with a number of things, a URL, data or text, or even a phone number, and are typically used to enhance paper marketing with rich media or further information.
Nonprofits are using QR codes as a way to provide potential donors or activists with more information about their cause: create a catchy ad, mailing, or paper flyer with a QR code to find out more or direct donors to a specific URL. (At the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference, we put QR codes on attendee name badges that included a link to their attendee profile online.)
Generating QR codes is a simple and most often free process. There are a number of websites out there that will do it for free (do a web search for "QR code generator"). You’ll just need to provide the link, text, or other data that you want your QR code to contain.
Check out more information about QR codes by reading the QR code in this post with your QR reader on your phone! (Or, you can also click this link.)
This tidbit is from the "What's This?" series in NTEN:Change. If there's a "whosy" or "whatsit" you've been hearing a lot about lately and would like to know more, please tell us in the comments!