Can Pinterest help nonprofits promote their causes?

The nonprofit UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley on Pinterest
The UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley on Pinterest

In February, the Chronicle of Philanthropy hosted a live chat titled, Pinterest for Nonprofits: Promoting Your Cause on the Fast-Growing Social Network. More than 1,700 people in the nonprofit world joined the discussion.

Honestly, sometimes I can relate to a New Yorker cartoon that depicts a person in front of their computer pinning the screen in an endless rhythm. I tend to feel like my time could be better spent in the real world than in yet another virtual one.

Nevertheless, I joined Pinterest recently to experiment with this relatively new communications channel because it is now the third most-popular social network in the United States, behind Facebook and Twitter. And many nonprofits feel the need to explore these channels as possible tools for education, advocacy, marketing and better fundraising.

For the nonprofit community, Pinterest is ideal for curating pictorial stories for causes that naturally offer heaps of visual content.

Pinning for Parks

If you read this blog, then you know I am a parks and open space aficionado. I am distressed, to say the least, that our state parks here in California are under siege. In May 2011, the Parks Department announced the closure of 70 California State Parks due to a $22 budget shortfall hitting July 1, 2012. Since September 2011, I have devoted this blog to covering the parks crisis because the consequences of shuttering parks and packing up parts of our history would be devastating on many levels.

If there is a silver lining, it has been educational to witness and follow the grassroots organizing and efforts among nonprofit park advocacy groups. Many of these groups are learning to develop business plans and rigorous fundraising campaigns for the first time. The results have been impressive.

On Pinterest, I created four boards to illuminate the beleaguered parks and the people working to make a difference. The amount of visual expression by people and the natural beauty of our state parks make “pinning” easy.

Pinterest site for California State Park Closures

  • Blogs, Films and Stories: Saving California State Parks. This board celebrates the people and organizations that are producing stories to illuminate the plight of the imperiled parks.

  • Rescue Efforts Underway: California State Parks. Parks on this board have partnership agreements in progress or efforts underway to save the parks. The nonprofits behind these efforts have invested a significant amount of human energy to save these public assets.

  • Parks in Jeopardy: California State Parks. This board aims to bring attention to parks that will likely close (or remain open but abandoned by the state) on July 1, 2012 because of a lack of potential partners or community resources to save them with private funds or other public agency support.

  • Rescued Parks: California State Parks. Parks on this board are either saved or nearing a final deal with the state. The nonprofits behind these efforts have invested a significant amount of human energy to save these public assets, so please visit the parks and donate if you can to their causes.

Nonprofit Blog Carnival

The theme for the Nonprofit Blog Carnival this month is Pinterest, and Britt Bravo of Have Fun, Do Good is the host.

Britt invites you to submit your blog posts for consideration any time before Monday, June 25th. On Wednesday, June 27th she will post a round-up of some of the best posts on Have Fun, Do Good.