Pinterest is the new online craze. It began in December 2009, and last fall Time magazine declared it one of the “50 Best Websites of 2011.” By the end of December 2011, there were 11 million visits, primarily by women between the ages of 25 – 44 – a prime demographic to reach.
So what does this mean to nonprofits? If you can visualize a story or interest for your organization, if your cause is considered hip or trendy, if you’re engaged on other social media platforms or if you’re looking to reap the benefits of local Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pinterest is worth investigating. According to the website, “Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”
Pinterest is currently invitation-only and it takes between 24 hours and two weeks to receive an invite once you’ve requested one. Once you receive an invite, you can register via Facebook or Twitter. And then you’re ready to start pinning.
But don’t just pin, repin. Be useful, as users are looking for ideas and inspiration: create boards (set of pins) with specific purposes, follow users with similar interests with quality pins, follow back users who follow you and “like” pins or repin items that appeal to you. Most importantly, let your supporters pin for you by adding the “Pin It” button to your blog or website so your users can create their own pin boards highlighting your cause.
Pinterest is not a place to blatantly promote your organization but rather capture the spirit of your organization while connecting to a community of potential donors or volunteers who share your mission. So if you’re a museum, pin items for sale in your gift shop; a veterans organization, pin pictures of returning vets or military awards; or a daycare, pin projects completed or show-and-tell items.