Pinterest Marketing For Fundraisers

pencils of promise

Pinterest is a web and mobile website that offers visual discovery, collection, sharing, and storage of digital imagery. Users create and share the collections of visual bookmarks (boards). Boards are created when a user selects an item, page, website, etc. Pinning posts an item page or website it to an existing or newly created board. While Pinterest is relatively new having been launched in March, 2010 it still boasts over 70 million users and 500,000 business accounts. According to Social Media Today, “5 Pinterest Stats to Consider” from 2012 to 2013, it grew 66.52% in website traffic referrals. Conversion rates for Pinterest traffic are 50% higher than those from other traffic sites. In other words, Pinterest is a powerful referring site that can help you gain brand recognition.

This social network encourages users to post, or “pin”, photos and short videos to their own collections of pins (known as “pinboards” or “boards”). 80% of total Pinterest pins are “repins”, which means your visual content has a very high chance of being shared and that can drive traffic to your website and fundraisers. Posts can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and email to increase your reach across other social channels.

Pinterest Social Media Marketing

Fundraisers and charities can leverage Pinterest to drive traffic to their websites, blogs,online auctions, donation pages and events. On top of uploading and pinning images directly onto a Pinterest account, any organization can make their visual content pinnable by creating a Pinterest business account and adding a Pin It Button to its website pages. This enables website visitors to pin your visual content on Pinterest and help expand your reach.

Pinterest launched these business accounts in November 2012, making it even easier for organizations to connect their profiles to Twitter and Facebook accounts, monitor all account activity with free analytics, and add Pinterest buttons and widgets to their websites or blogs. These buttons and widgets allow you to make your website images “pinnable”, creating a closed-loop process where website visitors can help you distribute your visual content more easily on the social network, expose your brand to new audiences, and drive traffic back to your site.

Pinterest will generate the “embed codes” for the pinnable buttons for you, so make sure to include them on your website pages.

To increase the value of your Pinterest account and grow your Pinterest following be sure to:

  • Add The Pin It Button. This button allows people to pin an item from your website to Pinterest, and every pin will include a link back to the original source (your website). Although these are no-follow links (links that likely do not boost your page’s ranking with search engines) and does not directly impact your SEO strategy, they still allow new potential followers to find your content and land on your website in just one click.
  • Add the Follow Button. Embed this button to allow site visitors to follow your Pinterest account. This will keep followers updated on changes to your board.
  • Add the Profile Widget. This widget displays up to 30 of your latest pins anywhere on your website. Now your website users can see what content is being pinned and used the most. This can also encourage Pinterest followers to share more of your content.
  • Add the Board Widget. You can show up to 30 of your favorite board’s latest pins. Using this widget on particular pages or sections of your website can help you target content from specific pinboards and engage followers with similar interest.

Primary Uses of Pinterest

The stated vision of Pinterest is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”

You can increase brand awareness on the network by showcasing the lifestyle and results that your organization encourages. Create great pinboards that relate to the everyday needs and concerns of your target audience to build trust with your prospective donors and show that you hold similar values.

Focused Visual Story Telling Boards

Pinterest allows users two different “follow” options when they experience content they enjoy: 1) they can either follow the specific board of a Pinterest user, or 2) a user’s account. This means that one of your specific boards can have more followers than your overall account. Therefore, making boards on specific topics such as past results or events is absolutely critical for getting found amongst all the content on Pinterest. This will attract followers who are passionate about a particular subject. Make sure to use focused keywords for the board names to help show up in Search Engines as well.

Write Professional and Concise Descriptions

The 500-character description for each pin is the largest text-based section on Pinterest, so make sure to include any focused search engine relevant keywords or contextual info for your pins. HubSpot Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella researched 11,000 pins and found the content with the most engagement (re-pins and comments) had descriptions ranging from 200-310 words.

Add Links To Your Pin Descriptions

Always add a link back to your website, blog, auction, event or donation page in the descriptions of your pins. Not only will this highlight the image’s association with your organization, but it can lead interested followers back to your website to join and support your organization.

Be Authentic & Honest

Instead of designing your boards as direct call-to-action zones, the boards should be designed around prospective donors’ desires, needs, interest and lifestyle. Use terminology in your “About” section and board names that your target audience is actually using in their everyday lives.

For instance, Pencils of Promise, an organization creating schools, programs, and global communities that encourages quality education for all children, has boards titled “Pencil Art” and “Books that Inspire Us”. These kinds of boards relate directly to the organization’s educational mission while still including everyday words relevant to donors’ lifestyles.


The Use Of Tall Images

Images on Pinterest have no height restriction, however their width is limited to 554 pixels. From HubSpot’s, “20 Data-Backed Ways to Upgrade Your Social Media Marketing” study we find that the greater the image height, the more often it was repined. Focus on posting taller images and infographics that are easily repined.

Use Your Blog Content

Pinterest has enlarged its set of “rich pins” (certain types of pins that can include more text details) to include pinned articles. Previously, stories or articles pinned on Pinterest only contained photos from the article with a link at the bottom. Now, the pin will also include additional information like the author’s name, the article title, a brief description and a larger link.

Currently, this update applies only to a few select publications, but Pinterest plans to make the feature available to all article pins. Until then, continue to pin your articles and newsletters to expand your reach and direct traffic back to your blog.

Who Is Pinning You

KISSmetrics points out that you can find any pinned content from your website by going to the URL:, replacing “” with your name. Regularly checking this will show you the most popular images on your website, and it will also inform you who to contact to help strengthen supporter relationships.

Other Pinboard Uses

In addition to boards specific to the nature of your organization, here are several ideas for other pinboard uses:dayofthegirl

  • Document specific events. Unicef has a board dedicated to their “#dayofthegirl” campaign, which features photos inscribed with inspirational quotes to raise awareness. You can also create boards of photos or videos of any fundraising event.
  • Feature supporters, followers, and donors. You can create a board featuring supporters for a specific events highlighting the people that make a difference. A good example would be Charity:water that dedicates a board to fundraisers titled “Birthdays for Clean Water”.
  • Allow a user-generated board. Enlist supporters and followers in your marketing by enabling them to contribute to your pinboards. Create a board dedicated to pins from your involved donors and supporters. This can both strengthen your relationships with your followers and enhance your pin collection.
  • Expand your brand. According to Saurage Marketing Research, Pinterest users spend more money, more often, and on more items than any of the other top five social media sites. If your group has merchandise like shirts or stickers you can create a board that displays your branded materials. This can also highlight where the donations will go in the board description. Charity: water’s “charity: water Gear” board displays different gift options that go towards bringing clean water to vulnerable communities.
  • Host a pinning contest. Launch a contest asking users to create a pinboard on their own accounts to display what they love most about your organization and services. Ask them to send you a link to their pinboards so you can evaluate entries and designate a winner. Heal the Bay hosted one such contest that sent the winner to a special benefit party for the organization.

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