Posted by Pamela McLeod

For a nonprofit organization, getting visitors to your website is vital to your fundraising efforts, and social media is a great way to build your following. Staying active on social networking sites increases your cause awareness and draws visitors back to your website, which means more volunteers and more donations. One site growing in popularity is Pinterest—the fun, creative online pinning board. Users find images or videos on the internet and link back to them on Pinterest by “pinning” (recently changed to “saving”) on their “boards.”   

If you’re unsure whether Pinterest is a good choice for your charitable organization, check out our article How to Leverage Pinterest to Raise Awareness. If your group has already joined Pinterest, find out how you can utilize boards and strategic pinning to drive traffic to your nonprofit’s website.

Create nonprofit boards on Pinterest.

The first step in establishing a Pinterest account for your nonprofit organization (NPO) is creating valuable boards that define your cause. Pinterest boards are categories with overarching topics for individual pins. Your Pinterest account can have as many boards as you wish with as many pins in them as you would like. Try starting out with 5–10 boards that cover general topics and have broad titles, such as “Volunteers,” “Fundraising” or “Events.”

As your Pinterest account develops, your nonprofit team can create boards that relate more specifically to your mission like “Animals for Adoption,” “Homeless Success Stories” or “Veteran Testimonials.” All of these boards will need to have one or more pins in them, so make sure that if you create a board, you have material to fill it.

Some other fun ideas for boards include:

Check out some of these board ideas from American Cancer Society.

Keep pinning personal.

Now that you’ve created boards, it’s time to start pinning! Keep in mind that Pinterest is a very personal social networking site. People share dream weddings, future houses and even workout goals. In the nonprofit realm, maintaining this kind of connectedness is key.

Envisioning your organization as a person can help accomplish this goal (Mashable). Would your NPO be a man or a woman? What ethnicity would they be? What are their interests? How do they reflect your mission? By visualizing your nonprofit as an individual, you can imagine what pins would be most effective in reaching followers. (For more tips, check out this article on how to develop a persona for your nonprofit.) A motivational quote that reflects your cause and elicits emotions will be more effective and personally uplifting than a picture of your nonprofit’s quarterly budget.

Use pins to fundraise for your nonprofit.

Pinterest also offers the ability to sell items. For your NPO, these pins can be a helpful fundraising tactic. When pinning an item for sale, include the link it came from and the image you would like represented. In the description box, type $ and the cost of the item. Once the image has been pinned, the price will appear in the top left corner and the item will be added to the Gifts tab on Pinterest’s homepage.

This is a beneficial option if your nonprofit group has fundraising items for sale. Maybe a local artist has donated a painting and wants to auction it off to raise money. You could pin an image of the painting on your Pinterest board with the starting bid and let users click the link to your website to put in their bids. This makes for an easy and effective fundraising technique!

Pin your nonprofit mission.

When it comes to pinning, stick to your nonprofit organization’s mission and how your cause impacts your community. Pin items that truly represent your mission and heart. These can include campaigns, projects, goals and pictures of staff members and volunteers. Share happenings from within your NPO. What is your staff doing and what do they care about? Give your followers a look behind the scenes and show the human faces that make up your cause and why your staff members do what they do.

You can also utilize Pinterest to showcase the effect your NPO has on others. Who does your group help? Why is your mission important? Use Pinterest to inspire your supporters with examples of hope and opportunity for the community. Get personal with emotionally responsive imagery, and your followers will appreciate your posts and increase traffic to your website.

Remember that everything you pin on Pinterest is clickable, so link back to your nonprofit’s website or registration page as often as possible. Still, be sure to mix it up by including re-pins from other charities and businesses and pins from websites related to your cause. For instance, if your nonprofit works with animals, why not share something from the Humane Society of the United States? The images you choose are important, but it’s also necessary to know where those images are coming from online.

Now that your nonprofit has Pinterest, you can really start to drive traffic to your website. The pins you choose and the boards you organize are a chance to show the personal and fun side of your NPO. By strategically choosing pins that represent your mission, your nonprofit organization will gain followers, traffic and constituents.

Happy pinning (errrr . . . saving!)

Interested in upgrading your nonprofit’s social media presence? Firespring can help! We offer immediate support whether you want to improve existing social networking pages or start all-new ones! Learn more by calling 877.447.8941 or email