Winning the Internet

Why I care about Pinterest

After a great run, the Winning the Internet blog has been retired. However, you can still keep in touch with New Media Mentors here.

Recently a fellow ‘Winning the Internet’ blogger lamented on why she didn’t “care about Pinterest” and I promised her that I write a post to counter her position

New social networks tend to freak out professionals like myself; but only because our colleagues think that we must sign up for an account – sight unseen.

But Pinterest is different and it’s recent growth is unparalleled beacause of two key reasons – visual storytelling and women. Still don’t believe it? Just take a look at some of these impressive stats:

How did Pinterest manage to do what no other social network could?

We now live in a world where information is potentially unlimited. Information is cheap, but meaning is expensive. Where is the meaning? Only human beings can tell you where it is. We’re extracting meaning from our minds and our own lives. – inventor and futurist George Dyson

Pinterest is successful, particularly among women, because the images it chronicles tell a story and history tells us that women are natural storytellers [see Scheherazade]. Also of note, a recent study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the University of Indiana concludes that women are 40% more likely to donate (to a charitable cause) than men.

So how can nonprofits leverage Pinterest and it’s captive audience? Two words: meaningful metrics.

If your organization’s metrics include meaningful outcome measurements,  visual storytelling can become an effective way of reaching a key constituency – women.

Let’s take the American Red Cross for example — known for their social media prowess. They’ve managed to take their Pinterest page and turn into a visual story supporting their goals of emergency preparedness and blood donation with ‘pinnable’ infographics .

Amnesty International uses their board to highlight their littlest activists and inspiring people. And there are many more nonprofits using meaningful metrics to make a difference on Pinterest.

True, every nonprofit isn’t cut out to take Pinterest by storm, but those who have a solid communications plans can use Pinterest as a visual storytelling tool dedicated to a key audience.

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today. – Robert McAfee Brown

 crossposted @

About Jenifer Daniels

an award-winning educator and communicator, jenifer daniels 'friendraises' for candidates and causes; helping them obtain new friends, educate them about their mission, mobilize them to act as advocates, and acknowledge their efforts in doing so.



  1. Melissa Foley says:

    Thanks for responding to my post! 🙂

    I think both of us are right. As you've described, Pinterest clearly has potential as a storytelling tool. My main point is that organizations that have limited resources need to consider ROI (and develop a strategy) before investing in any new tool.

    I'd love to see some case studies that focus on how much time and money orgs are spending on Pinterest, and what they're actually getting out of it—number of new supporters, donations, etc. (If any readers have info they'd like to share, we'd love to post it on this blog!)

    I suspect that most organizations with limited budgets/online staffs would actually get more out of their time by focusing it on developing a photo/image strategy for Facebook, where they already have a following.