Blog Growth Case Studies

Case Study – QR Codes Offline To Online


Where: JustGiving – peer to peer fundraising platform

When: 2018 – Present 

Why: Drive more donations and reduce in person friction

How: Roll out QR Codes to all important business areas transacting money.

Quick Intro Into The Different Types Of Use Cases For QR Codes 

  • Free Text – Can add a small message or bit of fun 
  • SMS – send a predefined SMS to person or service 
  • URL – send to a URL for information, CTA.
    A normal use case for younger people is scanning to connect on social media. Snapchat were one of the first Western apps to leverage QR tech
  • Contact Details – Add full details as a contact card, with name, organisation, email, phone, post code & URL
  • Phone Number – Ability to prompt a call to a dedicated number 

The Full Growth Case Study 🚀

One of the brilliant areas that full-stack Growth departments can dedicate themselves to is building out services that many have not considered or thought through the different use cases.

Especially when your brand can be lighter with touchpoints. JustGiving was an almost exclusively online-only brand, meaning you interacted with a URL of your friends or families page, rarely ever in person or something you touched, tasted or shared in person.

In 2018, QR codes were still relatively uncommon but underutilized and something we could build-out in a couple of sprints. 

QR codes were only used in very specific use cases in the West (adding friends on social networks like Snapchat) and in some advertising campaigns, so the battle would be education and updating our communication with existing and new users. 

Rethinking The Online Only Experience 

One problem JustGiving (an online peer to peer platform) had was making a mostly online-only experience offline. 

Although numerous pages connected to JustGiving pages were based on (offline / IRL events) run, walk, swim and ride events, JustGiving pages were URL based and can be difficult to remember, no simple way to promote in person and would require a copy and paste.

The way people interact is in person is very different to our typical use case: over chat apps, social media and emails. 

For donors their journey was a struggle if they did not know the URL or couldn’t find it.

The Flow Looked Like

To go to search engines ➡️ search justgiving ➡️ select the site ➡️ land on the site ➡️ search their friend’s name ➡️ then hope they find their friends page ➡️ donate. 

Another journey would be going to friends social media, clicking through and donating.

Many don’t know their friend’s handles and many felt uncomfortable using social media in this way. 

The Goal: Converting In Person Time To Less Friction Filled Donations

  • It is important with any product, you map out and understand how people spend time together to understand the opportunity
  • How they look for help – in our case this was majortity verbally in person or via social networks as we prompted users to
  • Friction Point For Fundrasiers:
    How many times you need to chase to gain as much support as possible, reducing the friction. 


During ideation, we knew we had to help all of our stakeholders raise as much money as possible. 

The different stakeholders: 

  • From close to a million fundraisers a per year, 
  • To raising money for over 200k charities 
  • Charity shops that were hard to support or donate to when they were closed 
  • To event organisers helping to raise money for charities. 

In 2018 there was close to 90% penetration of smartphone users that had the ability to scan QR codes. 

QR Codes was the easiest and most scalable way to produce simple tech for which some users knew how to save and share. 

The solution we developed and created was a QR code for every single page ever created and every new (fundraising or crowdfunding) page created, every single charity (over 200k) had the ability to create their own by going to their own JustGiving URL and appending with /qrcode.  

Each QR code had bespoke and trackable QR codes, meaning there could be used for multiple use cases and freedom to use and distribute.

Breakdown: How To Find Them 👀

  • We amended our onboarding flow to include we were offering QR codes and how to save and use them, including a few use cases when you are with friends, family and colleagues. 
    • Rather than just relying on emailing, texting, creating groups etc, this was a way for many people who spent a lot of time with their closest friends and loved ones to maximise their time and efforts 
  • We let each fundraiser know you could edit any fundraising URL with /qrcode and you can donate in a click 
  • We work closely with our the Charity Account Management Teams showed how they work, provided a number of different use cases including on Marketing materials, charity shop windows and merchandise. 

Breakdown: Different QR Code Use Cases 

One of the deliberate internal conversations was to help those who were unsure of sceptical to create different existing examples and scenarios where QR codes could be used and add value to thousands of new people every week.

  • Driving offline to online donations from charity shop windows
  • When want to support a cause (you have seen) but you cannot remember a long URL and you don’t want to buy anything in store or have to visit a shop
  • When walking past the charity shop or poster you can scan to support quickly
  • Local campaigns on posters, shop windows, on entrance and exits park benches
  • In person sharing: (flow: scan, open, select and donate) 
  • Print onto Runners T-shirts and vests 
  • Supporting materials shared 
  • Push for additional Merchandise for crowdfunding pages and helping supporters to become a network of supporters and use the code in their efforts to support further than donating 

From The Original Internal Pitch 

Copy and paste from the original slides in our Product session, these sessions were opened and allowed anyone to feed into them and understand the logic and business cases behind these important decisions.

Reduce Friction – Increase Adoption & Support ❤️

One of the core considerations we had in reducing friction was being smart and contextual about where the QR code would send people, unfortunately, multiple QR codes were not something that would be easy for the fundraiser and would need careful consideration.

Something we decided was to send people to the story page (fundraising page) vs the checkout flow (which sat on /donate), although the majority of users of the QR code would know the fundraiser, if it was shared wider or there were curious people around the QR code, we needed to ensure the important element of the story was included and tweaking the /donate page was going to be much more work and potentially repeating the story would increase cognitive load and add another step in the checkout flow, therefore negatively impacting donations.

Thinking Differently To Win 🏆

In a multi-device world, many people use their laptop or PC and their mobile at the same time, with QR codes being an image they could be added to many different items to encourage donations. 

Different use cases such as adding to email signatures, as an image on slack or teams, all helped people to donate and support.
These were easily explained once you explained the different ways you could use them.

Asking your donors to support by sharing the URL or code helps to raise awareness and donations, this is essential in helping your product to expand and take friction from the hero who is running the race or raising money for a cause they care about.  

When asking for additional support, it was as simple as asking people to save the image and promote it offline to online ways. 


As the QR codes were an MVP growth launch that went into straight into production, they had good adoption and drove significant a number of donations.

A secondary goal was to help JustGiving to become more relevant and influence more partners and more people to be curious around our offering and innvoation.

Both had positively increased conversations and donations.

Important Final Note 📝

Throughout the pandemic we have seen QR codes spike, it is important to leverage the full use of QR codes and enabling all use cases to help your products grow and increase usage of your product, especially if it is for donations or for supporting those in need. 

Want To Roll Out Something Similar But Don’t Know How?

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