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Should Your Nonprofit Have a Pinterest Presence?

guest post by Marissa Wasseluk, originally posted here.

While covering the “Top 5 Social Media Platforms” during a recent social media training, one participant asked me, “Do our organizations really need to be on Pinterest?”

To which I answered yes, and no.

We’ve seen some nonprofits use the platform effectively because they know how to speak to their audience and can pull from a plethora visual content. Some nonprofits create boards centered around a specific fundraising and/or awareness campaign.

Since most website referrals today come from Pinterest, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to be on the platform. But before you add another online to-do to your communications plan, ask yourself a few questions first.

Question #1 –  Is your audience on Pinterest?

The general pinning audience** is:

  • Females between the ages of 25 – 54
  • Have an income between $25,000 – $75,000
  • Are visually stimulated & like “collecting”

Stats collected from ComScore – except for that last one, that last stat was all me and my keen powers of observation.

**It should be noted that these stats reflect American trends. In the UK your average pinner is male.

Question #2 – Is your site or your content ‘pin-able’?

Do you post pictures worth a thousand words on your site? Can you get your point across with a picture? Do you make your content easy to share?

Question #3 – Will you change your current communications plan to accommodate the Pinterest platform? 

The rise of Pinterest definitely changes the digital communication game. Its rapid growth is proof of how visually-driven digital consumers are. Does this mean digital producers should create more visually stimulating content?

*cough*yes*cough* A smart digital marketer or blogger would change the format of their posts to accommodate this pin-nomenon (hehehe). They would make their content graphic-rich and add the Pinterest button to their posts.

So if you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, you may want to add Pinterest to your organization’s social media plan!

Need Pinspiration? Take a look at the Workshop’s Pinterest presence! Or, Take a Look at Nonprofit Pinterest Strategies!

Five steps to understanding Twitter and six tips for social media work

A screen shot of part of the Workshop's Hootsuite dashboard. Hootsuite is a great tool to use to manage social media in your office.

After conducting some communications trainings in Minnesota and Indiana for LISC’s Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, I was interviewed by one of their writers about social media. One article addresses a question I hear all the time from people we work with, “Why Tweet?” I offer my thoughts on why it’s useful and how to get started.

The second article is six basic tips for using social media in your work. There’s also a list of useful social media resources at the bottom that you may want to check out.

If you’re still looking for more advice on getting started or improving your social media strategy, attend one of our upcoming trainings. I’ll be leading a Social Media Basics webinar on Nov. 1, and the Workshop is offering an intermediate social media training on Nov. 10 with popular trainer Adam Thurman of Mission Paradox.

If you’d like a custom social media training for your organization, just email me at

Happy tweeting!

Why nonprofits need video

Guest post by Marissa Wasseluk

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – if that’s the case, imagine the worth of a video (which has about 30 pictures per second)!

Statistics show that less than 10% of visitors to your website read everything you have to say. However, 65% of website visitors will watch a video to completion. That being said I’m going to shut up now and let you press play on the video below for further information:

Maybe I’m a little biased because I’ve been producing videos for over a decade now, but I feel like video is one of the best mediums for advocacy. In my experience, visually telling a story – showing your audience your mission, rather than just telling them  – helps create a connection that could be easily lost with a long, strongly worded paragraph.

Also, general audiences these days have short attention spans (kudos to you if you read this far, btw). The average time spent on a site with text is 60 seconds. A visitor to a site with a video will spend an average of six minutes on that site.

You may think creating a video is costly and time-consuming. I’m not going to lie to you – sometimes it is. As with most well-constructed, creative work, good videos take time – and time is money. But, there are simple and quick ways to use video effectively. If you have the right tools and the right strategy in place, you can create videos to let general audiences know who you are, show supporters how you’re doing and how their donations are used, and remain on the minds of audiences everywhere – for little money and time.

FYI – The video above took me about three hours to make, and that was because I didn’t write down what I wanted to say and kept messing up.

Video creation and video strategy are two topics covered at the Making Media Connections conference. Here you can discuss your options for successful, simple, inexpensive video creation!

New news, nonprofits, and social media

Survey Npcommunicators

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while. At the end of the summer, one of the more intriguing responses to our annual survey of nonprofit communicators was to the question, “How has the economic crisis affected the way your organization communicates?”

It was a bit of a good news/bad news response:

Playing learning games to spread nonprofit social media

Even at 4 p.m. on a gray day with drinks just 30 minutes away, philanthropic communicators enjoyed the social media game! (photo by Thom Clark)

Even at 4 p.m. on a gray day with drinks just 30 minutes away, philanthropic communicators enjoyed the social media game (photo by Thom Clark)

At noon Friday with the annual conference over and done till next fall’s event (slated for Los Angeles, BTW), someone from the Boston-based Barr Foundation who participated in the Communications Network social media game tracked me down–to return the cards his group used during the game. “No, you keep them–if you want, take them back to your organization and try this at your office,” I said.

He was one of eight folks who left with sets of the game cards. (the presentation and handouts can be downloaded here and more on the game as originally conceived and developed by Beth is here).

One of my main reflections on presenting the social media game at the conference is about diffusion of ideas across the nonprofit sector: given especially that we are somewhat limited in the channels available to communicate new ideas and practices across nonprofits and philanthropy, the generosity of Beth and David Wilcox in sharing this method and the key role of Creative Commons in providing a way to structure that kind of sharing is truly helping to build the sector.

We played with 6 groups of about 7 people each. Each group chose s scenario from a range of options. We started at 4 p.m., I made my way through about 25 minutes of introductory “teach” (ie, “talk” with some q and a) and then, right around the time that thoughts are usually turning to the bar… the crowd really got into it! All about the genius of the game and the value of learning from, or maybe that should be with, each other (see Beth’s nice post on social learning from last week).

A couple thoughts on how the game works, what appeared to be key learning moments for the group at the CommNetwork conference, and, per Christine Mulvin, 1 thing you’ve got to have to play it well:
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‘More of a crapshoot than it used to be’

Professional Media Relations participants absorbed strategy basics this morning... and heard a mouthful on social media from Carolyn Grisko.

Diana Pando caught PMR 2009 participants listening to Carolyn Grisko.

No doubt about it, folks, we’re in a new era: less means less when it comes to the news.

“As a former journalist you have a pretty good sense of what makes news,” Chicago PR firm president and former Chicago Public Radio reporter Carolyn Grisko told the Professional Media Relations workshop trainees this morning. “But this past year my news sense has been just whacked.”

Pitching is just more of a crapshoot than it used to be, she said… and encouraged our group to think about how they can integrate social media into their larger work.

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Using new media, real life example: Women Employed

Women Employed 35th Anniversary Video from Women Employed on Vimeo.

Lauri Apple and Rebecca Wellisch from Women Employed took time out of their work to answer a few questions about how the organization is using social media to advance its mission:

Q. You mentioned you’ve been using social networks that you already know about from your personal life to spread the good word about Women Employed. Why is WE doing this now?
Using social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook enables us to reach new audiences and keep our supporters apprised of our initiatives. They help us reach out to people in their teens, 20s, and 30s, with whom these sites are especially popular, and help engage the next generation of advocates for workplace equity. And they offer tremendous flexibility — we can post links to articles, inform people about events, and recruit new supporters, with a level of ease that a regular paper newsletter or even an e-newsletter (which takes time to create) can’t offer.

Q. Why should nonprofits consider making promotional videos like Women Employed’s 35th anniversary video? What are the benefits?

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  • Telling people’s stories, an ethnic media success September 2, 2015
        By Stephen Franklin Community Media Workshop   A 3-year-old child died on a plane from Chicago to Poland. This, Magdalena Pantelis instantly knew, was a story her readers would care about. But she needed more detail to write about it for the Polish Daily News, the nation’s oldest daily newspaper in Polish, founded Jan. […]