Tips for Nonprofits on Pinterest

Pinterest is an image sharing social network with its own unique identity. Whether it's through a nail art tutorial or a particularly moving Gandhi quote, people go to Pinterest to get inspired. How can your nonprofit inspire users on this platform? Find out below.


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Sign Up As a Nonprofit

To create a profile for your nonprofit on Pinterest, sign-up in the site's business section and choose "Institution/Nonprofit" from the drop-down menu.

Once you've signed up, you can verify the account by linking it with your organization's website. Like Twitter, Pinterest places a 'verified' checkmark next to official accounts. The checkmark shows users that you really are who you say you are - it gives your profile a bit more authority.

If you have an on-site blog, add the pin-it button to your posts so that visitors can pin your images themselves. Pinterest now comes with analytics, so you can track how well your content is performing.

Be Active

As with any new social media endeavor, it's best to go in with a plan. Before joining Pinterest, make sure you're committed to posting regularly. Abandoned social profiles are worse than nonexistent ones.

Re-Purpose with Purpose

Chances are you have more Pinterest-friendly content than you think you do. Any piece of existing content you have that contains an image, be it a newsletter, a blog post or a press release, can be promoted on Pinterest. YouTube videos and infographics can also work well, given they're not too research-heavy.

Of course, the more engaging the images are, the better. Keep Pinterest in mind when you're designing your newsletters and web pages. In all the content you create, try to include an engaging visual component that can be re-purposed on Pinterest. Choose images that tell a story and convey a message. To really make sure your message gets across, place an inspiring quote or the campaign slogan across the image.

Keep it Light

Though your organization's cause may be an important and serious issue, remember that Pinterest is a social space. Just as you (hopefully) wouldn't go to a dinner party and tell sad stories all evening, don't cloak your Pinterest profile in negativity. Know your audience and share content that will inspire them, not depress them. For example, rather than posting an infographic about childhood obesity, share images of healthy school lunch ideas. Keep it positive!

Build Relationships

As is the case with all social media, it's as much about engaging with others as it is about promoting your content. Build relationships with your followers by 'repinning', 'liking' and commenting on their pins. Gain knew followers and build partnerships by engaging with other nonprofits on Pinterest, particularly those that promote a similar message.

Examples

Here are a few nonprofits that are making the most of this visual sharing platform:

Grist

This Seattle-based nonprofit promotes environmental living by offering engaging news and commentary on the subject. Since Grist creates so much great content for its website, it has plenty of images to share with Pinterest users. Grist pins images directly from its news stories - so Pinterest users can click-through to discover the story behind each image.

Source: grist.org via Grist on Pinterest

Operation Smile

This international charity raises money so that children around the world can get reconstructive surgery for facial deformities, such as cleft lip. Operation Smile puts the old adage 'an image is worth a thousand words' into practice. It recognizes how powerful the images of these children are and lets their smiling faces do the talking. On an image-based social network like Pinterest, this approach is perfect.


SFMOMA

The San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art has quite a large Pinterest following. The organization uses the platform to share beautiful images of modern art - pinning examples from SFMOMA's own collections and those posted by other Pinterest users. When appropriate,  they also pin images of items from their gift shop - clever!


National Wildlife Foundation

The National Wildlife Foundation knows exactly how to engage the Pinterest user - pinning stunning nature images, earth-friendly craft ideas and wildlife-inspired gifts from their online shop. The image below of edible Valentine's Day tree ornaments for birds was pinned directly from their online magazine. This is a great example of how Pinterest can make your content go further - pinning the image amplified the original article and sent social signals back to the site. All for barely any additional time/effort.

Do you follow any nonprofits on Pinterest? Let me know what you think in the comments.