To pin or not to pin… that is the question!

publication date: Jun 12, 2012
author/source: Leanne Hitchcock
Pinterest is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. That means it's potentially another way to engage your supporters online, said social media trainer Margarita Ibbott as she introduced the latest up-and-coming social network to attendees at the 2012 Digital Leap Conference in Toronto.Leanne Hitchcock photo

How nonprofits use Pinterest
  • Illustrating campaigns
  • Creating awareness of campaigns/fundraising/donations
  • Sharing stories
  • Uploading videos
Why charities need to "pin"

It's important to pin, Ibbott explains, because others could be talking or pinning about you. It gives you another channel for your blogs, video and other creations, giving you more value for money you've already spent. Finally, she points out, pinning gives you another way to drive people back to your web site.

As with any other channel, there is potential for copyright infringement, Ibbott warns.  You must pin from the original source.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is an online pin board that operates by invitation only. It lets you create a permanent grouping of information or images. As individuals use it to organize and share things they find on the web, you'll want to use it to organize and share your own content about your charity with your supporters.

There's lots to love about Pinterest. Ibbot says it's already the third most popular social media channel, behind Facebook and Twitter, and its user numbers beat those of Google+, LinkedIin and YouTube combined. (There was a slight decline in April to 8.3 million monthly active visitors.)

You can share your pins through multiple platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and it's very easy for you to pin right from your browser, or for your supporters to comment, like and re-pin, thus creating the backlinks that search engines love.

About Pinterest users
  • 81% of users are between the ages of 25 and 54.
  • 72% are female.
  • On average, users spend 14.2 minutes on the site.
  • Over 25% of Facebook users are on Pinterest.
  • 71% of users earn between $25,000 and $75,000.
How to Get Started:

Pinterest is by invitation only.  You can request an invitation from Pinterest, but the process takes longer than if a current Pinterest user sends you a personal referral through the site.

When you are ready to create an account go ahead and get started, and remember to think carefully about the name before you register.

The final step is to create "boards." Remember that when you pin images, you need to refer back to the source of the image (in the case of a charity - your website).


As with many things in life, there are rules/social norms with Pinterest.  The most important one is to re-pin respectfully, linking to the source. Secondly, when you see the opportunity to do so, right a wrong.  For example, if you see that someone hasn't linked to a source, remind them to do so and correct it.

Pinterest asks its users to report objectionable content such as nudity, violent images, hateful content so that they can remove it.

And finally, remember that the culture of Pinterest is genuine, so minimal promotion should be done.  It is a medium for people to share things they are passionate about, not a sales tool.

Margarita Ibbott is a speaker, social media trainer and workshop facilitator who uses Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare & LinkedIn to reach her clients and business associates. Contact her through her company websites, Downshifting and

For more information on Digital Leap, visit; on Pinterest, visit

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