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Using Pinterest as a Nonprofit Fundraising Engine

Resource Center - Foundation

Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) is a content sharing service that allows members to "pin" images, videos and other objects to their pinboard for others to view. It's a kind of personal digital bulletin board. Here are 7 tips on how nonprofits can use Pinterest to aid in a holistic fundraising campaign across the web, from SocialRaise in Chicago.

By Kevin LaManna

(July 10, 2012) Chances are you’ve heard of “this Pinterest thing” that’s become the new social media cool kid on the block. It’s now the third largest social media site and the 16th most popular site on the web.

While chatting with nonprofits, we’ve been asked how they can use Pinterest to help their organizations. Here are 7 tips on how nonprofits can start using Pinterest to raise awareness, impact and fundraising.

1) Pinterest engages.
One of the most important aspects of a digital fundraising campaign is intertwining storytelling throughout the technology. Pinterest is a fantastic resource for visual storytelling, which translates perfectly into the nonprofit space. For example, if you’re running a capital campaign for a new building, “pin” different images of the project. Invite people to follow your Pinterest board, and start the engagement from the inception of the campaign.

One of the most common misperceptions in fundraising is that if the technology is there (the dreaded “Donate Now” button) then people will donate. People first need to be engaged. After that, they will contribute their time and resources. Pinterest helps engage. Engagement drives fundraising.

2) Make non-visual things… well, visual.
We’re all inundated with facts and figures. Many nonprofits have been successful in turning data into a visual that people can easily consume (e.g. infographic). Post this on Pinterest to provide a visual gallery of data that many wouldn’t take the time to digest.

Also, nonprofits can take quotes and testimonials of the difference that they’re making, and create a visual out of this. The more people are familiar with your success, the more willing they will be to visit your site, learn about your organization, and give to your cause.

3) Brainstorming fundraising ideas.
Most of us are visual creatures and seeing something is easier than reading about it. Pinterest takes advantage of the web information overload and makes it easier for us to consume information visually. If you’re looking to have a successful fundraising campaign, it’s powerful to get buy-in from your constituency at an early start. Instead of having a top-down fundraising strategy where the nonprofit is telling constituents how to fundraise, ask your base to “pin” pictures of interesting fundraising ideas.

4) Social fundraising at its best.
Pinterest gives organizations an opportunity to engage in an online visual conversation. If you’re raising funds for any cause, ask your volunteers to get a ‘photo of the day’ that represents your campaign. It goes back to engagement. The more they’re engaged, the more they’ll be willing to contribute to your fundraising campaign.

5) Highlight your volunteers.

Your volunteers are working hard for your organization. They’re in the trenches and can vouch for why their funds make their respective nonprofit tick. Take a 30 second clip of a volunteer’s testimonial in a video, post it on YouTube, then put it on Pinterest. Your video is now part of your visual storytelling.

6) Highlight your success while pinning others.
The same application as highlighting your volunteers can work for the individuals that your nonprofit is helping. Create a Pinterest board for a very specific cause “Labrador Rescue in Chicago” and then “Like” other posts that may spark interest in your post. This will notify that user and start a conversation.

7) Increase your exposure.
If you have a focused fundraising campaign, then tag your posts to be relevant to your cause. As people are looking for your organization, this will improve search engine optimization. When you’re thinking of your Pinterest board names and descriptions, this is something that should be at the forefront. The more people can find your organization; understand your cause, the better for your fundraising campaign.

In summary

Pinterest should not be the fundraising tool, but only one tool in a myriad of fundraising tools to be used in the digital space. A solid digital strategy should also include other social media outlets, mobile, web alongside a carefully planned and executed marketing strategy to get the word out about your campaign. Also, Pinterest should not be used to directly promote your organization. That will quickly turn off people. Instead, use it to extract the human stories from your organization and put that into digital form. That’s what engages. When people are engaged, they’re much more willing to take action.

SocialRaise is a Chicago-based firm that imagines and creates digital experiences for non-profits focusing on raising funds, raising awareness and raising impact.



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