By Julia Campbell, a social media and storytelling consultant for nonprofits and author of Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits. She regularly provides useful tips and resources to the nonprofit sector through her blog, #501SocialBlog.


The first question that probably comes to your mind when reading this headline is – “Pinterest? That’s just for pinning clothing and home improvement ideas, right?”

While lifestyle and fashion pins are certainly popular on the site, there are a wide variety of reasons why people across all age groups love Pinterest. In actuality, Pinterest is a fast-growing discovery platform that can amplify your nonprofit message and get more visibility for your cause and for your work.  

Pinterest often gets lost in the all the breathless media coverage of Instagram and Facebook, but it’s still a marketing powerhouse to be reckoned with.

If your nonprofits isn’t already using Pinterest to grow your online community and boost engagement, there are 3 reasons why you should give it another look.

1. Pinterest is growing fast, and women love it.  

Pinterest remains one of the fastest growing social media platforms, reportedly closing in on 250 million users, the majority of whom are women.  

As a general trend, women make up more of the population on social networking sites than men do – but on Pinterest, they make up a whopping 81% of active users.

And, according to numerous studies, we now that women at virtually every income level are more likely to give to charity (in some cases, nearly twice as much). In addition, when women give, they are more likely to give more and to be more loyal donors.

If your audience and supporters include women (especially those in their mid-thirties to mid-forties) you definitely want to explore a presence on Pinterest.

Tip: Nonprofits may consider specifically tailoring their Pinterest content to the female segment of their donors and supporters. For example, Grist.org is a news website that focuses on the environment. They created a pin board with expert advice on how to “Green Your Home” that is filled with beautiful visuals and helpful content.

2) Pinterest is about discovery.

Pinterest is a discovery platform. The unique nature of Pinterest is that people use it discover new things and search for inspiration.

This means your nonprofit has a higher chance of being found by brand new people on Pinterest than on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where we tend to follow and like organizations we already know or are familiar with.  

Tip: Make sure that the names of your images, the captions of your pins and the descriptions of your pin boards are using the right keywords and search terms so that they can easily be discovered by potential supporters. For example, The Ad Council and the Forest Service partnered together on a campaign called “Discover the Forest”, with the goal of inspiring tweens (aged 8-12) and their parents to re-connect with nature, experiencing it first-hand. Their Pinterest boards provide ideas of fun activities that families can do together in local forests and other natural places.

3) Pinterest is aspirational.

Pinterest has a completely different culture than the other major social networking sites.

Pinterest is aspirational. Users pin images, videos, and articles that reflect who they want to be, places they want to travel, things they want to try. It’s not about what you are eating in the moment or your current vacation photos.

What you pin reflects who you want to be. 80% of pins on Pinterest are re-pinned. People save pins as they would on a real bulletin board – to refer to later for inspiration. Also, pins have a much longer shelf-life than tweets and Facebook posts. Pinterest pins have an average “shelf life” of over one week! (Compare that to 5 minutes for a tweet and 80 minutes for a Facebook post.)

People go to Pinterest often intending to spend money and make a purchase, either in the moment or in the future.   

Tip: Share stories about your impact and the different ways to get involved with your cause. You can directly pin your videos from YouTube and your photos from Flickr. YouTube videos will play inside the platform.

For example, the “No Child Too Far” board by UNICEF Canada pins graphics that showcase their mission and their impact.


Guest Blogger Bio: Julia Campbell has run her digital marketing consulting business for almost a decade, focused exclusively on mission-driven organizations. A mom of 2 and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, she is the author of Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits, a call-to-action for nonprofits to use stories to accomplish their missions. Her passion is to get nonprofits of all sizes to stop spinning their wheels on social media and to start getting real results using digital tools. You can check out her website at: jcsocialmarketing.com/blog.

3 Reasons Why Pinterest Is Still Relevant for Nonprofits