How to Use Pinterest to Gain More Attention for Your Non-Profit

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media networks on the Internet, and many non-profits have wondered how to best establish a presence on the site. Today, we present a guide to using Pinterest to generate more attention (and donations) for your non-profit organization.

Should Your Non-Profit Be on Pinterest?

Great question! Pinterest is one of the newest crazes in social media, but does your non-profit really need to get on Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social media platform based around “pins.” People and organizations can pin photos to their pinboard-style Pinterest page, with the photos linking to a website and containing annotations, quotes, articles and other information. You can create different “boards” to group and categorize your pins into different topics.

Anyone browsing the site can also “re-pin” your photos to their own board and add their own comments, which gives the site a virality-factor, much like Tumblr. It’s a pretty neat idea, but hard to explain with words. If you have never been on Pinterest, check it out: Pinterest

So, who uses Pinterest? A recent social media study found that 80% of the site’s users are women, and that more than 50% of the site’s users are between the ages of 25-44. Thus, if your non-profit is targeting young women for donations, volunteer opportunities, activism and other engagement, you may want to consider getting on Pinterest.

On the other hand, many non-profits have found significantly less success with driving engagement on Pinterest than elsewhere. Many non-profits and businesses have launched pages on Pinterest and gotten a decent amount of re-pins from donors, volunteers and staff, but very little in terms of clicks over to their website, which is the ultimate goal of your social media activities.

In short, while your organization’s mileage may vary, my suggestion is that unless you are a very large organization with a staff member focused solely on online and social media communications, OR you are an organization that primarily focuses on young women as donors and supporters, you probably don’t want to invest the time to engage on Pinterest, at least not at this point in the site’s development.

How to Get Started with Pinterest

Getting started on Pinterest is easy. You sign-up for the site and create a Business Page for your non-profit. It’s easy and quick. Then, you start pinning. The best way to do this is to create a couple of different boards around topics your supporters may be interested in. For example, you might want to start by creating 3 different boards:

  • One board specifically focused on your non-profit
  • Another board focused on your mission area (think “homelessness” or “education in Ohio”)
  • A third board targeting the solutions to the problem you are working on (e.g. if you are an education charity perhaps you have a board focused on the best alternative school models)

pinterest-pin-it-iconOnce you create these boards, you can use Pinterest’s tools to add a Pin It button to your web browser that allows you to pin items to these boards whenever you are browsing the web. When you click the Pin It button, the Pinterest system will allow you to choose which picture from the webpage you will show on you Pinterest board to represent that pin / link.

Be sure to pre-populate each board with at least 5-10 pins to make them interesting for those visiting your business page / profile. Also, be sure that the pins you put up include a variety of links – some from your own website, some from other websites talking about your organization, and some from third-party websites. Boards that are composed entirely of pins from one website (such as your own site) are boring and will not generate interest or engagement.

Once your boards are populated, go ahead and follow as many other people on the site as possible – including everyone you know, your donors, supporters, staff and volunteers (if they are on the site) as well as those people who have created boards in your mission area.

3 Advanced Tips for Using Pinterest for Your Non-Profit

If your non-profit is planning to become active on Pinterest, here are three tips for making the most of your time and energy on the site:

Tip #1: Add a Pin It Button to Your Website – If you want to get people who are active on Pinterest to pin pages from your site to their own boards, then ask your webmaster to add a Pin It button to your site which will make it easy for your supporters to do so.

Tip #2: Re-Pin Content – One of the best ways to get more people to follow your non-profit on Pinterest is to re-pin interesting stuff that is posted by other people. When you do this, the original poster will very often check out your boards and profile and if they like what they see, follow your non-profit on the site.

Tip #3: Consider Pinning Quotes about Your Mission – People on Pinterest like to re-pin inspirational quotes. Go to (free tool) to create nice looking quotes, and post them on Pinterest with links leading back to your site.