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Pinterest - What's It Good For?

Lori Halley 07 May 2012 2 comments

I’m sure you’ve heard about Pinterest – a social network that offers a virtual online pinboard for curating and sharing photos and videos.  

Has all of the publicity about Pinterest left you wondering what all of the hype is about? While many of us remain unsure about its benefits for non-profits and membership organizations, there’s no denying that its popularity has skyrocketed, with a reported  “user base of 3.3 million.” 

Should Your Nonprofit Use Pinterest?

Just as I was preparing to write this blog, Kivi Leroux Miller published an informative post asking the exact question that was on my mind: Should Your Nonprofit Use Pinterest? In the post, Kivi notes that she has “mixed feelings about Pinterest, mostly because it’s still so new, and if you are going to invest time into social media, I think Facebook and Twitter are better options.” However, Kivi offers some recommended reading that includes examples of how organizations are effectively applying Pinterest.  

Interesting Applications

For my part, while I’ve been quite sceptical about its relevance for non-profits, I have found some great posts that outline a few interesting applications: 

  • Using “pinned” images to help supporters visualize issues:

    In her post - Nonprofit Data Visualization: A Gallery - Nicole Wallace (Chronicle of Philanthropy) suggests that “[a] growing number of charities are turning to infographics and interactive data visualizations to explain complex issues succinctly, spur advocacy, support their fund raising, and show donors where their money is going.”

  • Hosting a contest:

    This idea was mentioned in both a HubSpot post – The Ultimate Guide to Mastering Pinterest for Marketing, as well as AdAgeGlobal (U.K. Pinterest Contest Highlights Dangers of Driving in Heels). They suggest you ask users to create pinboards or to pin images to a board you create as part of a contest.
  • Raising awareness and funds:

    As Kivi also mentioned in her post, Opportunity International has created a “Global Opportunity Quilt campaign through which supporters can “Honor a Mom” with a tribute for Mother’s Day. You simply “pick your patch” from among the “pinned” patches, then “choose your tribute amount” and write a tribute to”honor a mom.”

  • Planning an event:

    A post on the SocialMediaGuide explains How to Plan an Event Using Pinterest.  In this post, Matthew Tommasi suggests that if you have a number of folks involved in brainstorming for or planning an event, you can create Pinterest Boards to organize and share ideas about the food, music, entertainment, etc. and invite collaborators to join in. 

Why should you care? 

In her post – Pinning down the Basics of Pinterest – Lauren Bubser (socialnicole) offers four reasons why you might want to give Pinterest a try. And in a follow-up post – The Do's and Don'ts of Pinterest – she offers some “how-to” tips and Pinterest etiquette advice. 

What do you think it's good for?

So – have you tried Pinterest yet?  Has your organization found a unique way of using this social network to promote your mission?  Let us know in the comments below.

Image source:  Daily Infographic

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 07 May 2012 at 8:45 AM


  • Deanna Tharpe said:

    Monday, 07 May 2012 at 5:54 PM
    I have only one concern with Pinterest. I've been trying to "subscribe" or "get invited" for over 3 months. I get an email telling me that I am on the waiting list but I never get any other contact. I'm not going to spend valuable time worrying about it if that is the case for many. Facebook has been the biggest social media tool we have used so far...Twitter is fine and we will continue using it but I notice that most links are clicked through Facebook.
  • Lori said:

    Tuesday, 08 May 2012 at 12:24 PM
    I’m certainly no Pinterest expert, but I believe you need to be invited by a current Pinterest account holder. Once you receive the invite to join you can log in through Facebook – then you'll get a message noting that “to use this app, you will be upgraded to Facebook Timeline.” Hope that helps.

    If you or your organization, like Opportunity International noted above, finds that “storytelling through pictures is key to communicating [y]our mission” then Pinterest might be useful.

    However, I agree with you (and Kivi Leroux Miller) that when time and resources are limited, it might be best to focus on the social media tools or networks that are offering measured results.
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