2 min Read
March 22, 2012

Is Pinterest a good move for your organization?

Big Duck Intern

This blog post was written by our Strategy Intern, Lindsay Nason. When she is not strategizing at Big Duck she is graduate student at NYU-Wagner School of Public Service. You can follow her on Twitter @Lindsaygnason.

There’s a whole lot of talk in the nonprofit world today about whether an organization should add Pinterest to its social media tool belt.

In case you haven’t heard, Pinterest is a social media website that allows users to “pin” images and videos to a virtual cork board and share them with other users. Beth Kanter suggests that you think of Pinterest “as a social network of visuals – where you can find images from other people with the same interest or use it to curate your own ‘interest space.'”

Now that you know what Pinterest is, here are a few key things to consider before your organization pins:

Is your organization already overwhelmed by social media?
Pinning takes time. In order to take full advantage of Pinterest, you have to have the time to maintain your organization’s boards and re-pin from your followers. And, because Pinterest is so new, its impact is relatively untested, a point made by Kyra Stoddart, Online Marketing Manager for Amnesty International USA pointed out during the Chronicle of Philanthropy Live Discussion in February. More proven sites, like Facebook and Twitter, may be a better use of your organization’s time.

Why does your organization want to be on Pinterest?
Don’t add Pinterest just because “everyone else is!” Pinterest is about building relationships and being authentic, not about self-promotion. Bianca Bosker of The Huffington Post aptly writes that while “existing social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare screams, ‘Look at me,’ Pinterest posts urge, ‘Look at this.'” So it’s worth it to think about how your organization intends to use Pinterest and the kinds of things you would pin.

Are your audiences on Pinterest?
Always keep your audience in mind. AARP’s key audience is clear from its pin boards, which include everything from statistics about Social Security to Music for Grownups and 50+ Style.

As you can see in this infographic from Modea, a majority of Pinterest users are young and middle-aged women. If this is a key audience for your organization, you may want to explore Pinterest further.
What does your organization want to learn from Pinterest? What do you want followers to learn about your organization?
Set a few goals before you get started. Brainstorm some creative board ideas for your organization and think about themed boards that could be user-generated. It’s also important to think about the content you want to post and if the content will make you more authentic and engaging.

A pin of caution!
According to the Pinterest privacy policy, when a user adds a pin, he or she is responsible for any copyright violation or infringement. If you pin images that your organization owns, you are telling the company that operates Pinterest that you hold the rights to those images and that you are releasing those rights. If your organization has images that you want to keep for your own materials, you probably don’t want to pin them. For more information, check out the Pinterest Terms of Use. Your organization may also want to lay out guidelines for Pinterest image selection in your social media policy.