Pin With A Purpose

I’ve been messing around with Pinterest for a few months now just trying to make sense of it. Some of my friends have asked me: why use it? What value does it provide? Pinterest is 100 percent visual. In some ways, its rapid growth points to the growing importance of visuals on the web in general. More than ever before, photos and videos are vital for nonprofits. On the surface, Pinterest feels dominated by magazine-slick fashion and scrumptious food photography. But I wanted Pinterest to be more than that. Thankfully, it is.

My first collaborative board

Last week, after the Ash Wednesday service at the Basilica in my neighborhood, I posted a photo to Twitter. Some of my neighbors noticed, and suggested creating a Pinterest board. I went home and created my first “collaborative” pinboard, which celebrates images from my northeast DC neighborhood. Within 24 hours we had 20 pins, and 5 collaborators. I hold firm the belief of “the more, the merrier”, so collaborative boards make Pinterest so much more fun. And, as @brooklandavenue pointed out, a neighborhood pinboard could become a “community kiosk” of sorts.

Who to look for

There are several Pinners I’m excited about because of the way they’re leveraging this highly-visual social network.

Global Giving: The online giving site has been playing around with Pinterest, and looking for feedback, too. As Kelli points out, it’s easy to get sucked in by all the fun and frilly fashions, but she also wondered if Pinterest could inspire others to be more generous, and argues that it can “help connect you, your voice, and your organization with hundreds, if not thousands, of content-hungry users.”

What’s clever: Global Giving is okay with experimenting on a newer social network. But it wasn’t a blind decision. They noted that 60 percent of their Facebook users fell into Pinterest’s key demographics (females, ages 25 – 44). Props to Global Giving for using metrics to informs decisions on social media.

AARP: I think AARP was one of the first nonprofits I discovered on Pinterest, and it has laid the groundwork for others to follow.

What’s clever: AARP is using Pinterest to share its brand with boards like “Words To Live By”.

Ann Romney: Mitt’s wife has started a Pinterest board to share images of family, patriotism, and photos chronicling the campaign.

What’s clever: Romney’s campaign recongized the niche (for now) market of Pinterest. Did you know that Pinterest is now the number one driver to women’s magazines? It’s possible that the Romney campaign is to Pinterest what Obama’s campaign was to Twitter. (Thanks to my friend Ethan Klapper at the National Journal for his early coverage of Ann Romney’s Pinterest account. See how Pinterest is being used in other political contexts).

Proceed with caution: copyright and etiquette issues

Someone asked me about Pinterest etiquette, and this was the best writeup about proper attribution on Social Media Today . John Haydon also offers up a great “how-to” on Pinterest. Some websites are concerned about copyright issues, including the folks at Flickr. It will be interesting to see how some of those issues play out.

How are you using Pinterest? What ways do you think it can be used to enhance a person, brand or organization?


About Meg Biallas

Thoughts From A DC Intern Turned DCist. A twenty-something goes beyond traditional tourism to achieve Washingtonian authenticity.
This entry was posted in Non Profit, politics, social media and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Pin With A Purpose

  1. Kudos to you for the neighborhood Pinterest board! What a good idea!


  2. Diana says:

    This is a neat post Meg. Thanks for sharing!

    My favorite thing about pinterest is that I don’t have to have a strong amount of followers for my pinterest to be successful. They are soley for me to reference and to for me to keep track of. If others find it to be helpful and useful- double bonus! It’s unlike any other social media out there in that sense 🙂


  3. Meg Biallas says:

    Today I found a great chat from The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and it’s definitely worth reading if you’re interested in seeing how nonprofits have leveraged Pinterest. The panelists are candid about when it works, and when it doesn’t. In other words, there is a time and a place.


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