From the standpoint of nonprofits, making use of social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook is a no-brainer. These online communities allow nonprofits to tell potential donors about their work, engage the public, and drive traffic to nonprofit websites. Pinterest, on the other hand, may be a bit more difficult to understand, from the standpoint of a nonprofit. How can pinning items to a virtual bulletin accomplish any of those above mentioned goals?
As the website explains, “Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”
Each “pin” serves as a sort of graphic hyperlink that takes one to the item’s website of origin. So if a nonprofit pins an item from its website, such as a blog article or infographic, to a pinboard, Pinterest users can go straight from the pin to the website.
Pinterest Is Interesting
More to the point, Pinterest is, well, interesting. It is estimated that at any point in time, 3.3 million users are logged onto Pinterest. In one month, the online community generated 421 million page views and has over 4 million users. Most Pinterest users are women aged 25-44. Clearly, the developers of Pinterest are on to something.
Here are four tips for using Pinterest on behalf of your nonprofit:
One – Create Pinterest boards that speak to the causes you promote. For example, the Humane Society might wish to create a board called Save a Dog, or, Report Animal Abuse. The car donation charity, Kars For Kids, may wish to create a board called Green Benefits of Car Donation, or, After School Programs for Latchkey Kids.
Two – Nonprofits can follow other nonprofit users. By following other nonprofits, you may get new creative and inspiring ideas for how you might use Pinterest for your own nonprofit. It can also be beneficial for a target audience to see which nonprofits you follow. Your choice of nonprofits to follow says something about your own cause. For instance, if you follow the Susan G. Komen Foundation, it shows that breast cancer is a special interest, something your organization cares about. Even if your nonprofit has nothing to do with breast cancer research and prevention, showing that you align with this cause tells people who care about breast cancer that you care about it, too.
Three – Engage your followers by following them back. You can choose “follow all” on the person’s profile and then “unfollow” any boards that are, well, boring. You can also engage other Pinterest users by “liking” or “repinning” those pins that speak to you. Users will receive a notification when this happens and will be aware of your interest. This tells them you care about them and their interests. There is also a pin comments section where you can actually converse and interact with other users.
Four – Highlight a specific project by creating a pinboard just for that purpose. In this way, you can document current work projects. Edit the board so that other people involved in the project can pin items, too. If your organization is engaged in building housing for the homeless, you can pin photos of the builders, the building site, the various tools used, and daily progress on the building. This helps your audience feel involved with you and your project, every step of the way.
About the author: Esti Landau is a non-profit consultant with kars for kids.