Getting Started Tips: Leveraging Pinterest as a Nonprofit


Last week I gave a presentation to the New York City Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals on using Pinterest as a social tool for building awareness and fundraising. The room of nonprofits ranged from awareness organizations and charter schools to arts programs and religious communities. My goal was to educate everyone on what Pinterest is and if they should consider it as a strategy for their nonprofit.

Pinterest can be a great tool for many nonprofits, but before you decide to get started take the time to understand if Pinterest is right for you.

Currently Pinterest attracts over 48 million users, 80% of which are women and 50% of those women have children. Pinterest is the third largest social network behind Facebook and Twitter. This can be a powerful tool to help nonprofits connect and fundraise.

To ensure that Pinterest is cohesive with your strategy, go through the three step process below before you make the leap and begin creating your profile.

  • Step 1: Understand & Review

    Before you do anything, it is a great idea for you to take some time and review how people use Pinterest and what gets them excited. You should also review what other nonprofits are doing on the platform. Take note of the number of followers the organizations have and the activity of their profile.

  • Step 2: Brainstorm Board Ideas

    If you’re considering this tool, try to brainstorm some board topics before you even set up your page. What can you create that will connect with your audience? During my talk, one of the schools said they had a gardening program – that makes for a great board, or even two! Boards should be named to connect with your current members and intrigue new members. A board on gardening and a separate board on recipes from the garden would be sure to get people interested. Think of four to six board ideas to get you started.

  • Step 3: Ask Your Community

    Whether you are involved in a large organization or a small one, start by using the tools you have in place and ask your volunteers and members if they are using this social network. Survey your group about how they use Pinterest now and if they would like to see your organization on this platform. Share with them the ideas you developed during your brainstorming step and ask them to give you feedback. Inquire if users would like to contribute to certain boards if your organization moves forward.

Once you have walked through these 3 steps and determined that not only is Pinterest right for your organization, but you are prepared to get started, here is what you should do next:

  • Sign-up as a Business:

    Pinterest has a business account just like Facebook has business pages. Be sure to set up your Pinterest as a business instead of as a personal account. This will give you the ability to register and login with an email address. Business accounts give you more information on your account than a typical user account can provide and also allows you to view page analytics once users begin to engage with your account.

  • Create a Pin Calendar:

    Pinterest is not like Twitter; you don’t need to be pinning multiple times a day. After you have decided on your boards, create a daily pin strategy. This will help you stay focused on what photos you’ll need to get stockpiled and who you may need to recruit to help with your new strategy.

  • Integrate with Current Tools:

    Use Pinterest with your other initiatives. For example, if you send a monthly email newsletter, add your favorite pin of the month. Ask people to engage with you on this platform. Drive traffic back and forth between your various social networks and your website. Be sure to add your social icons to your website to encourage users to connect with you and if your website is photo heavy add in the pin sharing option to promote pinning of your photos directly from your website.

Pinterest is not right for every organization, but if it is right for yours be sure that you start with a purpose and a plan.

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