Pinning is Winning – How to use Pinterest to promote your nonprofit

Question: What was the fastest growing social media site of the last year? If you thought it was Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram you were mistaken. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, Pinterest experienced the greatest growth in user base among survey respondents between 2012 and 2013. Although Facebook still dominates social media platforms in terms of total users (71% of adults had a Facebook account), 21% of respondents reported using Pinterest, up 40% from the previous year. More participants reported using the site than either Twitter or Instagram.

Surprised? I certainly was. While I was peripherally aware of the growing popularity of the visual bookmarking site, I had perceived it as a forum for homemakers to share recipes and craft ideas. Certainly there is some truth to this perception – DIY crafts, women’s fashion, recipes, home décor, and weddings are still some of the top categories on the site. However, some exploration of the site shows that it has begun evolving into much more than that. Many businesses including Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines, and Sony use a strong Pinterest presence to build their brand. Furthermore, non-profits such as ASPCA, Charity:Water, and the American Red Cross use Pinterest to promote their mission, connect with supporters, and raise funds.

If you are interested in diversifying the social media presence of your non-profit, here are some reasons to consider a Pinterest account:

Pinterest Pinboard

Tell a story

Pinterest is a powerful visual medium. If your message and mission can be conveyed well through imagery, Pinterest could be a great tool for your non-profit. Well-curated photos of volunteer events, under-served populations, grateful recipients of a service, or visually stimulating info-graphics are just a few of the ways to tell your story through pins.

Diversify your online presence

Use your pins to cross link to your other web content (your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and vice versa. Doing so also increases the breadth of your reach. The aforementioned Pew report noted that 58% of respondents only use 1 or fewer social networking site, and 81% use two or fewer sites. Thus, engaging the maximum number of web users is greatly aided by having a presence on each of the major networking sites. Pinterest could be an especially important part of your strategy if women aged 18-49 are an important part of your target audience (these are the most common demographics of Pinterest users)


Pinterest can be an effective tool for promoting creative fundraisers, demonstrating needs and impact, and sharing success stories. Some non-profits have had success using Pinterest to promote merchandise for sale. Others have used boards to thank sponsors and donors.

In conclusion, Pinterest can be a powerful visual tool to raise awareness, connect with users, promote their mission, and raise funds. Don’t underestimate its potential impact for your organization.


References and additional information


Image source:



5 thoughts on “Pinning is Winning – How to use Pinterest to promote your nonprofit

  1. Hi Zach! Great title! Caught my attention immediately 🙂 Also you are correct pinterest is one of the most popular and utilized social media tools out there now and specifically amongst women. The fact that you can take an image that you like on the internet and pin it to your board or cross link it with other similar posts makes it really appealing. For non-profits it can be a very useful tool if done right.

  2. Great post! Like you, I hadn’t always made the leap from DIY home decor to public health advocacy using Pinterest. Can you post the links of organizations that are modeling this (public health or, if there aren’t many, others) kind of use? Would love to see some best practices in action.

  3. Interesting Post Zach. I used to use Pinterest ALL THE TIME for crafty things, recipes, gardening,etc. I had no idea how wide it reached. Thanks for posting this interesting blog.

  4. So Awesome! I was looking at the Jolkona pinterest and I was impressed by it! so many angles to use on boards. Finally I can move from pinning cool clothes and shoes into something way more philanthropic 😉

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