Using Social Networks To Recruit, Retain, And Engage Volunteers, Part 5: Pinterest

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December 31, 1969

Welcome the final installment of series on recruiting, retaining, and engaging volunteers through social networking!

In earlier articles this month, we talked about general social networking best practices, as well as tips and tricks for using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In today’s post, we’ll go over networking through Pinterest.

Why this network is important

This network is built for quick, easy sharing of content—and it’s entirely image driven. This is hugely important for drumming up interest in your volunteer projects based on photos, infographics, and art. Rather than using catchy titles, the beauty of Pinterest lies in catchy design.Pinterest - Volunteer Global

Let’s say you have an amazing volunteer program near Victoria Falls. You could say on Twitter that you’d love people to #volunteerabroad in #Africa, or you could post a breathtaking photo of the falls on Pinterest, with a link to your project page.

This also is a fantastic resource for your volunteers and alumni—showcase their photos and stories and get the repinning started!

Best practices
Create a public board

This is one of my favorite benefits of Pinterest—adding a public board that allows your connections (volunteers and friends!) to post their own content can go a long way in keeping alumni and supporters excited about your projects and posting awesome information for future volunteers.

Follow your volunteers, friends, and networks

Invite your volunteers and alumni to connect on Pinterest—and share their amazing travel photos. This will help you stay connected with them, and to develop that much more interest in what your organization does.

Keep pinning

Pinterest is super fun when you get started—but it’s also easy to fall out of the habit once the novelty wears off. Be sure to post your blogs, projects, and more each day to keep your content relevant and popular.

Make sure you know what you’re repinning

At some point, most of us start repinning others’ content without looking at the link behind it. I’ve fallen into the trap for sure—and I’ve seen it happen to others sharing content from Volunteer Global and our friends.

For example, Brittany posted a wonderful article about animal voluntourism and its effect on biodiversity, and it was repinned later to “Baby Animals” boards across Pinterest—the photo featured in it was of a tiger cub. It’s awesome that the article was shared, but…not so awesome that the point it was trying to make was sort of missed in the cuteness of its feature photo.

While that was a more lighthearted example, it can go downhill quickly if you just pay attention to the photos and not the links behind them. You probably don’t want to post a beautiful image of Santorini with a hate-filled accompanying article on a “Lovely Places For The Bucket List” board.

Choose your best photos

And that brings me to the last bit of advice--choose a great piece of artwork for your post. I'm a huge fan of the tiger cub photo used in the Voluntourism.org article above. It's relevant to the piece, and it's certainly eye-catching. It's also unfortunate that the article wasn't pinned for its own merit, but--it was still repinned, and it's still on our board for "Blogs We Love." 

If you want someone to click through your content and connect with you on Pinterest, it'll do a world of good to find clear, relevant photos and artwork that relates to your article, page, or link, but that also catches one's eye in a sea of photos all competing for their attention. Find an amazing landscape, a happy volunteer, a group of friends working together, or an artistic shot of an amazing item you found at the local market. Using your best photos, rather than just any photo that'll do, is incredibly important not just for Pinterest, but indeed for the rest of your marketing strategy.

Now, how have you used Pinterest to engage your volunteers and friends? Post your ideas below!

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