October 22, 2012, 8:57 AM

QR codes power a school supply donation program

Fast-food chain Sonic features codes of the sides of drink cups.

Lead Photo

Consumers scan the code to visit an m-commerce page where they can vote on projects or make donations.

Quick Response bar codes are hitting the books in the Limeades for Learning campaign to help consumers make donations to pay for classroom materials.

The campaign is sponsored by Sonic restaurant chain and DonorsChoose.org, an organization that enables teachers to solicit donations to pay for educational materials, such as books or science projects.

The codes, which are a form of two-dimensional bar code, appear on the sides of Sonic cups, and were developed with the help of mobile marketing provider Scanbuy’s ScanLife bar code service.

Consumers can use the ScanLife app or any other QR code reader app on their smartphones to scan the code, which opens a mobile commerce site for Limeades for Learning. From there, consumers can search for local projects to support and make a donation. Consumers can search by state, subject, grade level, type of materials sought, school name or keyword.

To date, more than 6,500 teachers have registered Limeades for Learning project requests, Sonic says.According to DonorsChoose.org, teachers spend approximately $1 billion annually for out-of-pocket expenses for their classrooms.

Consumers also can vote for projects. From Sept. 24 through Oct. 29, Sonic awards $100,000 to teacher projects receiving the most votes each week. If 4 million votes are cast by Oct. 29, Sonic will throw in an additional $100,000 donation, and consumers who voted will receive a free medium Cherry Limeade, Sonic says.

“Limeades for Learning allows Sonic customers and fans to make a difference in their local communities by voting to allocate Sonic funds toward public school teacher projects,” says a Sonic spokeswoman. “QR codes offer a simple way to make a connection from something as common as a soda cup, and it is driving the most traffic of any channel into the mobile giving experience.”

This is Sonic’s fourth year promoting the Limeades for Learning campaign.

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