QR Code Best Practices

December 2, 2021  •   LPi

person using smartphone to scan QR Code

If you haven’t realized it yet, the QR code is making a major comeback. Due in part to the pandemic, as well as a dip in the need for paper products, parishes and community organizations alike are utilizing the QR code to ensure a contactless experience by easily directing people to the website or app that is taking the place of a booklet or worship aid.

Here are some basic tips on how to create one, and some unique ways parishes are using them to help guide parishioners during Mass.

Q-R-What?

Short for “quick response,” the QR code has been around for more than 30 years but hasn’t been used as commonly since the 2010s. Found mainly as fun additions to a website link, the data stored in a QR code can include website URLs, phone numbers, videos, or up to 4,000 characters of text, according to Kaspersky. For a while, the only way you could use them was through a QR code reader on your smartphone, but today it’s as easy as quickly scanning the image using your phone’s camera, where a message will pop up that prompts you to visit the link or view the message attached to it.

It’s easy (and free!) for parishes to create their own codes. QRCodeMonkey, QR Stuff, or QR Code Generator, are some websites you can easily access and create for your own purposes. Other generators allow you to customize the look and feel of the code for an additional cost.

And this brings us to the next chapter of this innovative tool — what can you use a QR code for?

Not Just for the Back of the Booklet

When it first became popular, people often used QR codes like a URL if they wanted to direct people to learn more about an event, initiative, or their website for awareness. These days, however, we’re expected to be a lot more intentional with the tool, such as:

In Place of a Booklet | During the pandemic, many parishes moved to an all-digital option for their worship aids. Using a QR code on a sign when they enter, or placing it the back of the pews, they encouraged people to scan the code to read, sing, and pray along.

Easy Way to Register | Instead of directing them to a form to fill out in the back of church, a simple QR code that leads to a digital form for new members is a great way to capture visitor information.

To Invite | In addition to your parish URL, include a QR code that will lead people to your website and all that your faith community is about. This way, instead of trying to type out the URL on their mobile browser, all they need to do is scan the code to be sent right over.

To Donate | With our increasingly digital world, the ability to give — and give quickly — is paramount. In addition to inviting them to place their contributions in the passing basket, you can also give them the option to scan the code to give online.

Looking for more ways to be both intentional and innovated with parish technology? Check out “Ideas to Share Your Parish Bulletin Digitally.”

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