QR Codes Explained

Another meaning of the black and white squares

A QR code, or Quick Response code, is a type of barcode invented in the mid-90s by a Japanese car company.

The striped barcodes on products we buy at supermarkets are machine-readable that contain information about those items. QR codes are the same, usually containing information about a website, which can be used simply with the camera on your phone.

What does that mean for Freemasonry?

With the introduction of digital donations, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) has enabled easy cashless donations to Relief Chests by members and friends by using their mobile phones.

Fundraising at meetings or non-masonic events can be made quickly and simply and go directly into your lodge or chapter’s Relief Chest, with Gift Aid when possible.

After you’ve pointed your phone at the square (you may need to load your camera), you’ll be asked if you want to visit the givetap.co.uk website. Press that message and you’ll be taken to a dedicated, secure donations page for that Lodge or Chapter. Givetap is the new financial website partner of MCF. The squares can be found via correspondence sent to you by your unit, and in some instances even on Lodge summonses themselves.

The dedicated web page that you visit has the number of the Lodge or Chapter at the top, followed by an easy-to-use page, asking for the donation amount (the default value is £5), or to select other amounts or to add your own.

The name and address of the donor comes next, followed by areas for the number of your Lodge or Chapter and the number of the Lodge or Chapter to be credited, and the name of the appeal, if one exists.

At the bottom of that page you’ll find a blue button for card payment, and if you use an iPhone, a button for Apple Pay if you use it. Enter the card number on the next page, followed by the expiry date, CVC number (the last three digits on the signature strip) and your postcode, and press the donate button.

If you are able to add Gift Aid, a simple declaration comes next and then you have the option to have the receipt emailed to you. It takes less than a minute – less time than it took to read this article up to this point!

There are multiple benefits to making digital donations by phone: no need to hold cash or have unnecessary physical contact, even more important in this time of Covid; no distribution, collection of gift aid envelopes and cash; the opportunity to receive more donations from younger generations, a really quick confirmation of Gift Aid (which adds 25% to donations); no administration work for the Charity Steward, no app required to make a donation, and the ability to share the QR code on Summons and other official documents.

If only learning the Third Degree Closing was as easy!