Five Pinterest Best Practices for Nonprofits

If your nonprofit has yet to start using Pinterest, then hopefully new data released for January 2012 illuminating that Pinterest now drives more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined will motivate you to start pinning – or at the very least to sign up and reserve your first choice of usernames (hint, hint!). To get started, here’s a step-by-step tutorial for nonprofits and a list of nonprofits already using Pinterest effectively.

I currently follow a little over 300 nonprofits on Pinterest ( My first impression is that 20% or so instinctively get it. Their content is good. They aren’t cluttering Pinterest with boring photos and seemingly endless marketing pitches. Pinterest definitely requires more subtly and creativity to build and maintain a following. That said, for those of you ready to take your pinning to the next level, I have listed five best practices below. This list will be updated monthly as we all learn how to better use Pinterest. If you would like to be informed of when new best practices are added, please subscribe to the Nonprofit Tech 2.0 e-Newsletter.

1. Pin your own website and blog content, but only if it pulls up a good photo!

As mentioned above, Pinterest is quickly becoming a boon for referral traffic. Tap into that power by pinning your own website and blog content, but only if it pulls up a good, visually appealing photo. Powerful visuals are what is driving the Pinterest community and referral traffic. So, for example, I am going to pin a blog post from the Nature Conservancy Blog:

Step One :: Use Good Photos on Your Website and Blog

Step Two :: Pin It!

Step Three :: Review Pin and Test Link

Note that there is a link to the blog post in the pin and that clicking the photo
also links back to original blog post:

2. Add website links to your Pin’s descriptions.

You can add a website link while pinning or you can “Edit” your description after pinning to add a link. It’s worth noting that you do not need to put “http://” in front of the website URL. Keep the URL simple and short, but don’t miss an extra opportunity to increase your referral traffic from Pinterest. Finally, please use proper punctuation and grammar in your descriptions! Most descriptions are a complete mess and as seen below descriptions get prominent placement, so make sure your descriptions give a good first impression:

3. Add your logo or avatar to your images.

In terms of branding, it’d be wise to add your logo or avatar to some of your photos. You’ll need a photo editing tool to drag and drop your logo or avatar onto your images, but the extra step is worth your time. Here’s an example from Amnesty International:

4. Embed inspirational quotes onto your images.

Pinners love inspirational quotes! Tap into that phenomenon by embedding inspirational and quirky quotes onto your images, such as:

5. Add a price banner to your pins that are goods being sold or fundraising campaigns.

Many nonprofits offer donation gift programs or sell goods. Be sure to add a price to your pin description so that a price banner appears on your pin:

Related Links:
Webinar: How Nonprofits Can Successfully Use YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest
HOW TO: Get Your Nonprofit Started on Pinterest
11 Must-Follow Nonprofits on Pinterest