QR Codes vs. SMS for Charity Donation

When disaster struck Haiti earlier this year, the country needed money quickly, so what better way than with SMS? I used the Verizon service, that allowed me to donate funds to Haiti via text, but now there might be a better way… with QR codes.

In fact, Union Gospel Mission, a grass-roots charity in Vancouver, has recently implemented a QR code campaign to allow people to donate money in order to help those in needs over the holidays.

Union Gospel Mission plans to place the QR codes throughout Vancouver, in places where they will receive high visibility, such as bus stops. By using the Mobio barcode scanning app on the iPhone, Android, or Blackberry, donators can scan the code, which will direct them to a landing page for the charity. Then, they can decide on how much they would like to donate.

With typical SMS systems, donations are usually small pre-set amounts ($5-10), but with a QR system, donors can choose to donate as much as they want, ultimately raising more money for the charity. In addition, since SMS donations are run through the mobile companies, they usually take a portion (30-40%) of the amount donated, something that is undesirable for most charities. In contrast, QR code systems give a much higher percentage of donations to charity and the transactions are immediate.

Overall, I think QR codes are a better way to donate money, the only downfalls are having to enter credit card information, and also they only work for smart phones. Then again, how many people don’t have a smart phone by now?

What do you think, should charities use QR codes to collect donations, or should they stick to SMS in order to cover a broader audience? Let us know by commenting here, or our Facebook or Twitter pages.