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Eric Rardin 4 min read

Google+, QR Codes and Second Life?

I spoke at the Social Media Strategy Summit last week and heard another presenter make an interesting recommendation. “Yes all nonprofits should be experimenting with QR Codes,” he said in response to a question from the audience. Really?

Memories came flooding back from January 2007 RootsCamp where a cadre of attendees were chanting “Second Life!” and holding up their open hands to replicate the Second Life logo. At the time no one could stop talking about the one nonprofit that had raised significant money on Second Life. This success was repeated by at most two other groups.

My point is that there is not that Google + or QR Codes will go the way of Second Life, but that shiny new tools need to be explored rationally, and even skeptically. And the smaller a nonprofit’s budget the more skeptical they should be, especially when so many have websites in need of serious love, and they haven’t mastered email or perfected their donation landing pages.

Yes, nonprofits should test new technology…after they have done the following:

1)   Website – is there a donate button on every page that leads directly to a donation form? Can people easily sign up for your email list?

2)   Email – Are your constituents opening and responding to your emails at least as well as the bench-mark averages? If not, they or your list, or both need some more love.

3)    Forms - Are your donation forms secure pages, and can people tell? Can your mother, father, or uncle find your page from scratch, and easily make a donation without getting confused or distracted? Test it.

4)   List growth - Do you have a strategy and budget to continually grow your email list at least as fast as people come off of it?


And please, remember the technology hype-cycle. (I’ve included it here in fact).


Many people start investing time and money into new tools and technology when it hits the peak of inflated expectations. I prefer to avoid the trough of disillusionment and hold out for the slope of enlightenment. I’m grateful for those who dive in early and deep, I just hope they can afford it.