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What Pinterest Can Teach Nonprofits About What Donors Want

Posted by: Joe Waters on 4/17/2012

CAuse Marketing | Pinterest - NonProfits

Pinterest is more than just a social media superstar. It's a guiding star to people's changing appetites, preferences and expectations - and not just on the web. Pinterest is showing the way on how nonprofits should communicate and engage with supporters in three important ways.

Images rule, text drools

I personally love words and language, but younger men and women prefer pictures and videos. Services like Pinterest (and the new billion dollar king Instagram), reflect user preference for stunning, full-screen images. Nonprofits need to use visuals to share their work and impact. It baffles me when nonprofits say that their mission can't be easily or powerfully told with pictures and videos. Huh? If you can't tell your organization's story on Pinterest, you should reconsider what your mission is, or at least how you are marketing it. It's all about painting a powerful picture and visuals need to be part of the palette.

Hand over the controls

Pinterest puts the user in the driver's seat. This is one of the reasons the virtual pin board has been a lightening rod for talk of copyright violations. It may give users too much control. They can pin images, repin others, like and leave comments and share pins via email or other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. People want to tell their own story in a way that makes sense to them. Stop force feeding them your version. Give your supporters tools not testimony.

While you're at it, stop spending so much time and money on your website. These digital billboards are as static, inaccessible and easy to ignore as the ones you see on the highway.

You have to be everywhere

It's nice to think that increasing your activity on Pinterest will allow you to pull the plug on another social network, or maybe your printed newsletter. Think again. Pinterest is a social media outpost that's meant to work with other social networks. For example, Lowe's Home Improvement has shown just how powerfully Pinterest can work with Facebook.  

But that's not all. Because each Pinterest image has a link back to a real web page that's tracked by search engines, your nonprofit has a better chance of being found by online searchers with a preference for images, not text.

The future of nonprofit marketing is targeting supporters where they are and where they care.
Pinterest is proof that people are everywhere, and you need to be right there with them. Intrigued? Check out my previous post on the topic of Pinterest and cause marketing here!

About For Momentum Guest Blogger Joe Waters

Joe Waters blogs on cause marketing at
He is the co-author of Cause Marketing for Dummies.
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