Pinterest: Not Just Another Social Media Channel – Part II of III

Last week, I covered how to set up an account, create boards, add pins and interact with other pinners.

This week, let’s look at how five nonprofits are using Pinterest to engage and communicate with their audience, to grow their base and to drive traffic back to their web site.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International currently has 14 boards with 192 pins total. The board, Facts, has accumulated 3,115 followers already based on only 25 pins. These infographic-style pins tend to be very compelling to viewers because they tell a big story in digestible way. Infographics tend to be tall pins, as well, so they stand out more on the Pinterest dashboard. Creating a tall pin is a good way to grab eyes.

The Fair Trade board offers prices and direct links back to their Fair Trade shop on the AI web site. Because AI added prices to the description, each pin has a gray price banner in the top left and is automatically added to the Gifts section of Pinterest.

The description of the Fair Trade board reads, “We love #fairtrade and ethically made products. We’ll share favorites from our shop ( as well as repins or other finds.” Notice how they keenly use a hashtag for #fairtrade to help with their Pinterest search engine optimization. Additionally, they have their shop URL prominently displayed in the description. AI is forthcoming about how many pins are from their shop, but they also repin other items of interest that fit into the Fair Trade board.

NRDC Save BioGems

NRDC Save BioGems is an advocacy program of the Natural Resources Defense Council and focuses on defending wildlife and wildlands. They have taken Pinterest seriously and have 24 boards with 1,057 pins.

Their board, World Penguin Day 4/25, has only 8 pins (all penguins) but has garnered 1,742 followers. This is a great example of having fun with your boards and your brand. Even a serious topics like conservation can be presented in a friendly and engaging manner.


Unicef (the worldwide Pinterest account – there are nine country-specific Unicef accounts on Pinterest as well) has 20 boards, 679 pins and 3,424 account followers.

Unicef has created a board called Unicef Television that has almost as many followers as the full account (3,166) and 78 pins. Each pin is a video, rather than a photo. They label each video as a Video Report and pin them either directly from or, most often from their YouTube channel.

This board is essentially a Unicef OnDemand channel – users can learn so much about Unicef’s efforts around the world, share socially and like – all within Pinterest. The video descriptions also offer a bitly-style link directly to the relevant page.


I find AARP’s efforts on Pinterest very interesting. Their audience trends, by virtue of their mission, older than the average Pinterest user. Their main account has 24 board with 362 pins and 1,116 followers.

They take advantage of the casual, conversational side of Pinterest by posting pins that are of interest to their core audience. While they do have pins about social security and finances, they keep most of the boards light and entertaining.

Some examples are:

Movies for Grownups (pins of Sharon Stone, George Clooney, Debbie Reynolds, Ian McKellen and more) is described as “Actors, movies and people generally rockin’ Hollywood for people over 50!”

50+ Style (pins of celebrities and everyday older men and women) is described as “Who says only 20 year olds can be fashion icons? Check out these sartorial stand outs and share your favorites with us.”


PETA, too, uses Pinterest to show off a lighter side of their personality. While they link to their web site, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and do have some infographics that relate to animal cruelty, factory farming, etc., they do a great job of humanizing the organization.

Examples of their lighter boards are:

  • PETA Recipes
  • Cute Photos
  • Celebrities
  • Vegan Fashion
  • Vegan Recipes
  • IVegan Products
  • Cruelty-Free DIY
  • PETA Swag
  • PETA Antics
  • Around the Office
  • LOL
  • PETA Pack

Around the Office features pictures of the new PETA headquarters and employees – many of the employees bring their pets to work, and seeing photos of employees and animals reinforces their stated mission while adding levity.

The board, Vegan Products, is a collaborative board. Collaborating is currently a kludgy process whereby you must approve a pinner who must also already be following the board. By going to Edit Board, you can add approved collaborators, but only one at a time. This is an area that I hope Pinterest will work hard to improve.

Once you have set up your collaborative board, approved pinners can pin to this board just as they would pin to any of their other, personal boards.

PETA nicely uses this board to ‘thank’ and thus link to companies whose products support PETA’s mission – vegan fake meat, vegan handbags, vegan cookies, etc.

Next week, I will wrap up this three-part blog by providing examples of how different types of nonprofits can use Pinterest.