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Skagit Valley Hospital

Pinning in a Sea of Liking, Following, and Favoriting

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Pinterest: The answer to all our social media needs, or just another  network overflowing with babies and puppies to dilute your concentrated internet outreach strategies?

You may be wondering, “What’s this Pinterest thing, anyway? Weren’t you just yammering on about the power of Google+ a few months ago, which has now become a social media graveyard for Google employees? Why should we listen to any subsequent social media reviews from you? And what’s with all these cute babies and puppies littering the Pinterest landscape?”

Fear not, dear reader: over at TCG, we too are on the fence about Pinterest (for our own needs, anyway), but have brainstormed a few ways it might work for your nonprofit.

But first, a quick Pinterest how-to :

  • Register and make yourself a few “boards,” which are basically categories in which you’ll cluster your soon-to-be “pins” (examples include “cute babies,” “cute puppies,” “cute babies with puppies,” or more nonprofit-centric boards like “our clients” or “environmental partners”).
  • Find some friends: search for their boards using the search function, or tie Pinterest directly to your Facebook account.
  • Got a board or two ready to go? Great! The entire internet is now (still) your plaything. You can browse pins by your friends or strangers (10.4 million of ‘em) on Pinterest, or hop off the site to pin stuff on websites you already visit that you want to keep track of. There’s nothing you can’t pin!

Pinterest is great for:

  • Nonprofits that offer an experience: Arts and human service organizations come to mind. Pinterest can be a great way to push supplemental information about an exhibit to your followers; for example, background information on artists and images you didn’t have space to include. For human services, you could dedicate a board to “the real faces of homelessness.” It’s a new way to round out and broaden an attendee or client’s experience at your organization.
  • Nonprofits with a strong reason to use photography: For example, organizations concerned with animal welfare are great candidates for Pinterest. Snap a photo of a cute puppy up for adoption, pin it to a board, and watch the adoring masses descend to coo. If you have a hard time representing your organization’s mission pictorially, this social media network may not be for you.
  • Nonprofits that convene the community: Media outlets and granting organizations have great opportunities on Pinterest, because it’s an efficient way to showcase what’s going on right now to a large network, and these types of organizations have a lot of fodder to push out to followers. Did one of your grantees recently complete an awesome project thanks to your allocation? Pin it!
  • Nonprofits with followers already on Pinterest: If you’re running a nonprofit called “People with Strong Interests in Babies, Puppies, and Do-It-Yourself Crafts”, we recommend you join on Pinterest immediately.

Pinterest is not-so-great for:

  • Nonprofits trying to generate conversation: For now, Pinterest is about using photos to pique your interest. If it’s conversation you want, we’d definitely recommend sticking to Twitter.
  • Nonprofits and organizations that are text-based: Again, it’s all about photos here for the moment. The word-obsessed marketing department at TCG won’t be jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon just yet, unless the internet starts clamoring for more pins featuring infographics or fundraising dashboards.

Bottom line:

If you’re interested in showing a picture-based side of your nonprofit’s impact to supporters and potential donors who already have an eye for social media, Pinterest may be for you!

Planning to conduct your next capital campaign via Pinterest? Skip it, and continue to put strategic, consistent work into your Facebook and Twitter personas instead. The dividends are much greater (for now), with a wider audience and better analytics about your impact.

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About the Author

Blair Feehan

Blair Feehan

Marketing and Project Associate

Blair translates her off-air talents as a theatrical stage manager into project management at Collins, where she helps keep her clients and co-workers focused on the finish line.

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