3 Trends in (early) Pinterest Fundraising

17 Comments 05 October 2012


I’m always excited about how organizations meld social media engagement with fundraising, and use the campaign to build the organization. As with every new social media platform, there are the innovators who will experiment  with using it for fundraising, such as Carter Gibson on Google Plus and the YouTube-based Project for Awesome. I’ve been watching for this same trend on Pinterest, eagerly, looking for early adopters and trends in experimentation. Thus far, nonprofits are primarily using Pinterest for passive fundraising, though I did find at least one which is thinking out of the box (illustrated at top).

These are the trends I’m seeing in what is still fairly early utilization of Pinterest for raising money.

1. Corporate-sponsored pins for fundraising (cause marketing)

Joe Waters alerted me the Elizabeth Arden campaign #PinItToGiveIt. For every image repinned from the Pinterest Board of the same name, Elizabeth Arden will donate one eyeliner to the organization Look Good Feel Better, up to a maximum of 10,000 items. This is a pretty typical cause marketing campaign with a twist: it lives on Pinterest. For more information about developing a similar campaign for your nonprofit, read Joe Waters’s article on the four steps to launching a cause marketing fundraiser on Pinterest.

2. Merchandise boards

An obvious synergy between photos and fundraising is nonprofit merchandise. I found several organizations that have created specific Pinterest boards for merchandise, including the National Wildlife Federation, the Human Rights Campaign, Heifer International, and, and I’m sure there are more. A recent sample of US consumers revealed that 21% of Pinterest users have purchased an item they found on the site (article focused on consumer products, but the concept crosses over to fundraising merchandise). If your organization sells merchandise, a Pinterest Board seems an obvious fit.

3. Spotlight on fundraisers

The organization charity:water uses its Creative Fundraising Board to highlight creative campaigns its supporters have launched to raise money for the organization. Doctors Without Borders does the same with its Fundraisers and the Amazing Things They Do Pinterest Board. This is a fabulous way for any organization to thank and recognize its supporters, as well as inspire others to fundraise.

And one Pinterest fundraising campaign that is refreshingly out of the box: UNICEF UK’s Ami Musa campaign

Pinterest is a natural fit for storytelling through images, and images are powerful motivators for donors. Take a look at this campaign from UNICEF UK.


UNICEF UK created a Pinterest user account for a real girl, Ami Musa, from Sierra Leone. Ami Musa has one board, called “Really Want These.” UNICEF UK populated Ami’s board with images of basic needs and desires, each accompanied by the same language: “This is what 13-year-olds like Ami from Sierra Leone really want. Repin to remind people of what the world’s poorest children dream of.…” I found it compelling and emotionally powerful.

This is such a refreshing take on the typical fundraising appeal, as well as an interesting use of Pinterest for fundraising. To date, Ami’s board has 1,039 followers, and her images have been repinned 944 times. There is no telling how much money this campaign has raised, but I sincerely hope it is a lot. When you click through to the pin’s URL, visitors are taken to a custom landing page featuring Ami Musa:

I’m looking forward to seeing the fundraising creativity explode in the next few years. Pinterest is sticky, engaging, and a great storytelling medium; the potential for creative fundraising tremendous. If you’re using Pinterest for fundraising, let us know in the comments.



Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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