I’m getting lots of questions from nonprofit execs, development officers, board members and friends about whether or not it’s a good idea for their organization to start using Pinterest. Not familiar with Pinterest? Think online bulletin board where you can post photos of things you want or like. It’s kind of like a online wish list. People are using and sharing their boards as they plan weddings, parties, and events. You can also find cool stuff to buy and lots of cupcakes. Not sure about the cupcake meme, but it’s there. Check it out at http://www.pinterest.com.
After finally getting a Pinterest account and playing with it for awhile, I’d say yes, Pinterest could be a good tool for your nonprofit: IF its part of a deliberate, well thought out plan and you’ve made a strategic decision that Pinterest is a tool you want to use. But without a road map (think: goals, message, content, and audience) you won’t get very far.
I don’t think that Pinterest will be a useful tool for every nonprofit. Just because one organization uses it to successfully engage prospects and donors, doesn’t mean yours will benefit. If you’re a smaller organization you might be better off trying to use more local (and more direct) ways to find and engage people who might share your values and mission.
In addition, despite the many creative ways nonprofits are using Pinterest (and other social media) there is no hard evidence (yet) that it actually raises money. I believe that it CAN help you engage more prospects which most of us believe is the key to finding new donors. But I still want to see some data and case studies, not just claims made by consultants claiming to be social media experts.
(I was reminded by John Haydon today: everything is a reflection of your organization’s culture, no amount of sexy social media tweets and posts will fix it if it’s broken.)
To help get your head around what planning for a social media campaign looks like, I recommend a new little book I found called “Social Media Road Map” by SMO Books. It walks you through the steps to create a road map for your social media activities (duh). The publisher’s website is: www.smobooks.com. It’s also available on Amazon. (Disclosure: I have no connection to the authors or publishers of this book. I bought my own copy several weeks ago. It’s really cute!)
Without goals, measurable objectives, and great content that are unique to your organization, how can you ever know if the tool you’ve chosen to use (whether it’s Pinterest, FB, Twitter, Viddy, LinkedIn, WordPress, press releases, or flying banners behind an airplane) is a success? I guess it’s natural to want to emulate what someone else is doing, especially if you like it, it’s shiny and new, and they say it’s working for them. But, if you don’t create a plan unique to your organization, you’re just shooting in the dark.
Are you using Pinterest? Like it? Is it useful? What’s your plan?