NCNCF Nonprofit Center

Cultivating Support, Growth & Community Awareness
For Nonprofit Organizations

Pinning to Generate Interest

July 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm

You’ve learned how to use #hashtags on Twitter. You’ve spent time getting people to “like” your nonprofit’s posts on Facebook. But what’s the deal with this new social media site, Pinterest, and how could it be beneficial for your nonprofit?

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest revolves around images. Similarly to Facebook, users create their own profile webpage where they upload images, or repin other users’ images. Users can ‘Pin’ images found while perusing the internet by simply hitting the “Pin It” bookmarklet. You can organize your Pins to different subject Boards, and if you come across an interesting board by another user, you can choose to follow it.

Launched in 2010, Pinterest has already become a top social media site with almost 18 million users in February, making it the third most popular social media site behind Facebook and Twitter.

Uniquely, Pinterest users are almost 80 percent female. Many women use Pinterest for more practical things like sharing recipes, planning weddings, or making gift wish lists.

However, nonprofits, along with other companies and brands, are also putting Pinterest to practical use. A growing number of nonprofits are using Pinterest to increase exposure and visually communicate their causes. See this article for 10 great examples of nonprofits successfully using Pinterest.

If your particular cause can be conveyed through images, videos or infographics, you might want to consider creating a Pinterest account  to reach a broader range of constituents.

5 Tips for Pinning your Nonprofit

1. Speak with your Images

Choose images that say something about your nonprofit and what you represent. Images should be aesthetically appealing and should invoke some sort of feeling, such as compassion, joy, or nostalgia. Avoid posting many photos of events or everyday occurrences, as you would in a Facebook album.

You can tell a story through just one picture. Rather than pictures with lots of people, choose shots of one or two people, giving your cause a face people can identify with. For a great example of individual stories through photos, see UNICEF’s “UNICEF Mothers” Board. For more tips on visual storytelling, click here.

2. Create Infographics

Infographics are images that contain data or facts about a cause, often in easy to read graphs and images. In some cases, infographics are the best way to convey information in an easy, understandable format, increasing the impact of facts and statistics. Check out this effective infographic from Amnesty International here.

3. Reppin’ Other Nonprofits

Avoid filling your Boards entirely with your own pins. Follow users with similar interests or causes, hit the “Like” button on interesting Pins, leave a comment, or repin on your Boards. When you repin something, it credits both you and the original source. This will show your interest while also connecting you with other users and perhaps gaining new followers.

4. Engage your Audience

Give your Pinterest followers the opportunity to get involved. Run a photo contest for a specific theme. Encourage your followers to find the wackiest pins related to your cause. Have an entire Board dedicated to your top donors or volunteers for appreciation and recognition. Whatever works best for your organization.

5. Add the “Pin It” Button to your Site

Make it easy for people to share images from your website by simply adding the “Pin It” button to the top of your page. When someone pins an image from your site, Pinterest links the image back to your site to give you credit. (Pinterest makes it easy to install the button. Follow the instructions here.)

Like most social media sites, Pinterest takes valuable time and effort, and it might not be worth the investment for some nonprofits. However, if your cause can be depicted through powerful images, Pinterest is a tool that your organization might want to consider.

-Corrine Gentile

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