If your organization has a Pinterest account that’s full of content from around the web, you might not be using the platform to its full potential. Creating pins that link back to your own website is key. Get a refresh on Pinterest best practices to make sure they match up with your marketing strategy, and check out 80 nonprofit Pinterest ideas to start building boards that line up with your mission and what your target audience is looking for.

To start, what is Pinterest’s real purpose? Pinterest is often thought of as a social media platform, but it’s really more of a search engine if you think about it.

When someone logs in to Pinterest, they’re not looking for photos of what you did last weekend or posting personal updates. They’re typically looking for inspiration whether it be recipes for dinner, planning an event, or funny quotes that make them smile. By shifting your frame of mind when it comes to Pinterest (and the 200 million+ people using it), you can leverage the platform in a more strategic way.

Is Pinterest Right for Your Organization?

Pinterest is primarily image-based, which differentiates it a bit from some other social media platforms out there. Before you spend a bunch of time meticulously naming boards and searching for pins to add to your Pinterest account, it’s important to take a step back and gauge whether or not it’s right for your organization. We always suggest choosing a couple of social media platforms you’ll be great at updating rather than having a hand in every social platform and barely keeping it together.

Pinterest could be beneficial for your nonprofit if your organization:

  1. has a lot of original photos
  2. creates infographics and other visual resources on a regular basis
  3. has a variety of content on its website that you can link to, including blog posts
  4. isn’t tied to a small local area. The point of Pinterest is to get as many people to your site as possible, so if your nonprofit works in one small area, it might not be the best use of your time to get a bunch of people 500 miles away onto your site.

Tips for Posting on Pinterest

A pin is made up of a few different building blocks: an image, a link, and a description. While it’s great to pin inspiration and resources from third party sources, Pinterest creates an amazing opportunity to drive traffic to your own site by creating original pins with your unique content. To get started (or rethink your current account), here are a few best practices to keep in mind.

Use images that are more vertical than horizontal.

Pinterest displays graphics in vertical columns down the page. In order to gain the most Pinterest real estate, pinning vertical images is the way to go.

Add a link to your pin.

Make your pin work for you! Including a link to your content in every pin you post will help get your organization in front of people.

Use keywords in your pin descriptions.

Don’t leave your pin description blank. Instead, describe what the image you’ve pinned is all about. Try to use keywords you think others would use when looking for your pin. If you’ve pinned a photo of educational class decorations for a particular grade level, explain that in the description.

Use Canva to create graphics.

If you don’t have access to a designer or fancy software, Canva has a ton of templates to help create well-designed social media graphics and more. They also offer their premium service to nonprofits for free. See our tutorial.

Add your logo to the pins you create.

As long as the pin is unique to your organization, adding your logo can help your brand recognition. If you’re using a photo, be sure that it was either taken by your nonprofit or that you have the proper release to use it (for instance, purchasing a stock photo).

Nonprofit Pinterest Ideas & Inspiration

To get your creative juices flowing, we’ve made a list of Pinterest marketing ideas for different categories of nonprofit work.

Animal Rescue Organizations

  1. Photos of adoptable/adopted pets at your shelter with name and age
  2. Photos of families with their newly adopted pets
  3. A series of spay/neuter statistic graphics
  4. Resource(s) to help families choose the right pet for their home
  5. Posters or artwork created by your org and/or your supporters
  6. Stories with photos about service animals
  7. Create and promote infographics and statistics about service animals
  8. Dog training resources
  9. Accessories for your pet
  10. Pet DIY projects (either projects intended for your pet or pet-related crafts)

Wildlife Conservation Organizations

  1. Local wildlife photos with viewing tips
  2. Statistics about wildlife populations
  3. Photos of local wildlife in danger
  4. Repurpose graphs and charts from progress reports
  5. Vegetarian/vegan meal inspiration
  6. Recommended reading and nature guides
  7. Maps of animal habitats and migration routes
  8. Quotes from your favorite conservationists
  9. Infographics about different ecosystem and habitat types
  10. Share stories from staff or volunteers as field notes

Arts & Culture Organizations

  1. Showcase local artists
  2. New and old exhibits or performances you’ve hosted
  3. Art project ideas for kids
  4. Art project ideas for adults
  5. Quotes from well known and/or local artists
  6. Photos of art projects created by your organization’s participants
  7. Turn artists’ artwork into smartphone wallpaper (with their permission, of course!)
  8. Photos of local public and/or street art
  9. Quotes from performances your organization has put on
  10. Performer biographies

Education Organizations

  1. Create and promote lesson plan examples
  2. Create and promote printable worksheets
  3. Custom graphics to promote an educational video
  4. Photos of your students or teachers in action (with permission, of course)
  5. Quotes from famous educators
  6. Scholarship opportunities
  7. Classroom decorating ideas
  8. Facts about how your grade level(s) learn best
  9. Places to find discounts and deals for educators
  10. Tips and ideas for student recognition

Humanitarian Organizations

  1. Positive quotes of encouragement
  2. Self-care ideas for the population you serve
  3. Educational resources in your humanitarian field
  4. Statistics about the people you serve
  5. Portraits with quotes of the people you serve (with permission)
  6. Photos of supporters at rallies and marches
  7. Posters in support of your cause that you and/or your supporters have designed
  8. Photos of your advocacy efforts
  9. Create and promote a resource that shows people how to get involved
  10. Create a holiday gift guide with fair trade or awareness gift ideas

Environmental Organizations

  1. Profiles of natural areas or trails in the area you serve
  2. Statistics about wildlife and/or habitats in the area you serve
  3. Photos of common plants and animals in your area
  4. Photos of projects you’re working on or have completed
  5. Photos of your volunteers doing service projects
  6. Inspiration on how to reduce/reuse/recycle certain waste
  7. Artwork made from recycled “trash”
  8. Illustrations and/or graphics for Earth Day
  9. Create a holiday gift guide with environmentally friendly gift ideas
  10. Ideas for nature-based crafts and activities for kids

Health Organizations

  1. Photos of the people you help (with permission, of course)
  2. Quote graphics from the people you serve
  3. Statistics about the research/treatment/disorder your organization works with
  4. Recipes for people with a certain health condition you work with
  5. Facts or support resources for families affected by a certain health condition
  6. What to wear to make a certain condition more comfortable
  7. Graphics on how to minimize certain symptoms
  8. Ideas for how to make the most of your awareness month
  9. Survivor stories for people who’ve been newly diagnosed
  10. Graphics to promote list blog posts you’ve written
    • 12 things to do when you’re in pain from XYZ
    • 7 things to eat when your blood sugar drops
    • 10 things to do laying down to get your mind off of XYZ
    • 20 reasons to get screened for XYZ before the age of 35
    • 5 of the best lotions to use on dry skin

Any Organization

  1. Promote items you sell to support your cause (t-shirts, bracelets, patches).
  2. If you encourage supporters to raise money on your behalf, pin inspiration for their fundraising campaigns.
  3. If you accept in-kind donations, pin the goods that are most helpful for you.
  4. Photos from events you’ve held (fundraisers, galas, advocacy events)
  5. Program updates that show progress
  6. Examples of effective advocacy efforts
  7. Photos and profiles showcasing your home base or region(s) you serve
  8. Books and videos about your nonprofit’s area of expertise
  9. Create graphics promoting your cause that supporters can share in other places.
  10. Volunteer or service project ideas for different types of groups, like churches, Rotary or Boy Scouts

Real Nonprofits on Pinterest

Abstract ideas are great, but sometimes it’s helpful to see nonprofits in action. Check out how these organizations are using the Pinterest platform.

Habitat ReStore

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement outlets open to the public. They sell donated, gently used and new furniture, cabinetry, lighting, and other home goods to help fund Habitat for Humanity programs. The East Bay/Silicon Valley ReStore uses their Pinterest account to showcase items they have in store and to inspire ReStore shoppers with home update ideas.

Habitat ReStore Pinterest

National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias

NFED’s mission is to empower and connect people touched by ectodermal dysplasias through education, support and research. One of our favorite things about NFED’s Pinterest account is that they highlight stories from real people and families affected by these conditions, driving users back to their own site to learn more about the organization. NFED encourages their supporters to organize a fundraising bake sale called Cookies for a Cure as a fun way to raise money for this amazing organization. Their Pinterest account is chock full of inspiration to help people begin their bake sale.

NFED Pinterest Example

Core Knowledge Foundation

Core Knowledge is a nonprofit working for educational excellence and equity built on strong foundations of shared knowledge. They use Pinterest as a platform to share their free curriculum, related resources from other organizations, and materials shared by teachers using Core Knowledge curriculum.

Core Knowledge Pinterest Example

Livestrong Foundation

The Livestrong Foundation fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer, now. When you first land on the Livestrong Foundation’s Pinterest board page, you’re flooded with yellow. It’s bold. It’s cheerful. And it’s doing a great job reinforcing their brand. We particularly love their Get The Facts board with a variety of original graphics showcasing who they are as an organization and what they stand for.

Livestrong Pinterest Example

Put your Pinterest account to work for your cause. By strategically creating pins that drive traffic to your nonprofit’s website, you open the door to potential supporters and ambassadors for your mission. If Pinterest is right for your organization, I hope you feel inspired by our suggestions and examples.

What questions do you have about using Pinterest? Any additional nonprofit Pinterest ideas you’d like to share? See you in the comments!