Should Your Nonprofit Use Pinterest?

Should your nonprofit be using Pinterest? Surely someone in your organization has brought that question up by now, and you, like Andria below, may be wondering just how to use Pinterest effectively, if you use it all. Here’s Andria’s specific question . . .

Hi Kivi,

Thank you for all your helpful tools – webinars, blog posts, mixed links, etc. As a fairly new executive director of a non-profit, I find many of the topics very helpful.

Sweet Pea is a non-profit arts festival with 1 ½ paid staff – our Festival’s planning team is otherwise entirely a volunteer board, including our marketing division. Over the past several months we have been utilizing social media more and more and one of the media that the marketing group is encouraging is Pinterest. Do you have any opinions or done any research on how non-profits (particularly arts related non-profits) can effectively use this medium? I have read much of what Pinterest gives for instruction and “about us” but I’m having a hard time grasping how we should use Pinterest to benefit our organization.

Any insight you might be able to offer would be appreciated.

Kind regards,
Andria Huntsinger
Executive Director
Sweet Pea Festival of the Arts


I’ll admit, I still have 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. Nevertheless, there is tremendous excitement about Pinterest, and lots of people I respect believe it has enormous power – if you do it right.  The fact that it is so visually oriented has huge potential — if you have the right kind of visual content to either share yourself, or to curate from others.

To get started, I recommend you read about these ideas and examples gathered by smart people who have spent more time considering the possibilities than I have:

John Haydon: 12 Ways to Use Pinterest for Your Nonprofit

Matt Petronzio on Mashable: 10 Strategies for Non-Profits on Pinterest and 10 Non-Profits Leveraging Pinterest for Social Good

Huffington Post: Pinterest For Nonprofits: 7 Organizations To Watch

Nonprofit Tech 2.0: Nine Pinterest Best Practices for Nonprofits

Nell Edgington: Why I Love Pinterest and Nonprofits Should Too

I also recently received an email from Sarah Kingsley of Sunshine Sachs who is working with a nonprofit called Opportunity International for a Mother’s Day campaign. Opportunity International provides savings, small business loans, insurance and training to over four million people–93% of whom are women–working their way out of poverty in the developing world. Here is what Sarah shared about their new campaign and how they are leveraging the popularity of Pinterest:

The goal of this campaign is to secure involvement and donations through the Global Opportunity Quilt. You can choose from 20 specially- designed patches with different inspiring quotes, photos, and images. After you choose a tribute amount and patch for a special woman in your life, you can share that patch on Pinterest and Facebook. Because of the unique design ofPinterest, Opportunity International’s Pinterest board will continue to build throughout the campaign to ultimately create a massive global quilt in honor of Mother’s Day.

Ian Haisley, Director of Online Strategy for Opportunity International says this about the decision to use Pinterest:

For Opportunity International, storytelling through pictures is key to communicating our mission. Pinterest provides us with a uniquely visual and accessible platform to share the stories of the four million clients, primarily women, who are using our financial services to overcome extreme poverty.  Different from other platforms, the Pinterest culture is based on a willingness to “pin” quality visual content that catches your eye or better yet, inspires you — and provides value to the end user. Utilizing Pinterest in conjunction with our Global Opportunity Quilt for Mother’s Day was a natural fit for sharing the lives and stories of our inspiring clients, paired with quotes about the importance of mothers.

I hope all of these examples and tips help both Andria and you make good decisions about Pinterest!

© 2007-2017, Nonprofit Marketing Guide. All Rights Reserved.

Author: Kristina Leroux, Community Engagement Manager

I am the Community Engagement Manager at Nonprofit Marketing

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  • Don’t know if Pinterest has legs.

  • I think Pinterest is a huge opportunity for nonprofits to tell their stories. Even if Pinterest as a platform fades away, the idea behind Pinterest is here to stay. Visual images – audio, video, etc. – are a critical component of marketing your organization, and nonprofits not putting the resources in to those tools are going to find themselves behind the curve. 

  • I’ve had a couple other nonprofit pros ask me about Pinterest. My initial question is “Would someone be searching for images related to your mission even if they weren’t familiar with your org?” If the answer is “no” or even “unlikely” then I tend to think Pinterest isn’t for you. But if the answer is “absolutely!” then Pinterest might be right for you. As an example, I think animal orgs often fall into that second category because be honest, we all love looking at cute puppy or awe-inspiring shark pictures.

  • Just like most social networks, using Pinterest for your nonprofit has its pluses and minuses. Bottom line, even if there are a lot of nonprofits using this particular social media it still depends on whether your organization needs it or not.

  • I have to agree with the other comments.  If your nonprofit has images to share then Pinterest is the right place to go.  But what happens when you have no images? Then as a marketer you have to come up with other ways to market your business.  

    Check out this website:  You can share images, documents, PDF files and more.  It’s like Pinterest but with a lot more options (some can interpret that as more benefits for businesses).  It still has that visual appeal but with a lot more sharing options than those available via Pinterest.  

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