Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 27 seconds

Non-profits continue to expand their social media presence and relative newcomers Pinterest and Google+ have some unique features that non-profits can use to forward their mission.

Pinterest

Its visual nature is what appeals to many non-profits. Becca Gladden, Social Media Manager for the Challenger Space Center, Arizona started using Pinterest six months ago. Explains Becca, “The previous administrator was hesitant to use social media, but the current administrator is more willing“.

In terms of Pinterest, Becca thought it was a perfect match because the Challenger Center has many fabulous images. Becca believes that “if the images are compelling people will click the link.” Right now, they have more followers on Twitter than Pinterest but are hoping to grow their followers on Pinterest.

Although, Becca doesn’t think an organization could use just Pinterest, she feels “it needs to be in conjunction with other social media like Facebook or Twitter.” While the Challenger Center pins to boards like astronomy pictures, all about robots and science experiments, Becca thinks that Pinterest’s reputation is a bit “girly“ and she hopes that will slowly change as more men discover it.

Cheryl McEvoy, Director of Communications for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has been using Pinterest for one year. She sees it as a great way to stays active with the community. In terms of outreach and connection, Pinterest is the perfect medium for the organization to share their gluten-free recipes.

Due to the visual nature of Pinterest, Cheryl is working on a plan for how the foundation will use it in 2013. She hopes to use Pinterest to share more website content and disease information, but since that is very text heavy, it will take some planning to bring that successfully to Pinterest. Plus, Cheryl notes that any pictures, whether of a recipe or an event, posted to Pinterest need to be of excellent quality.

Another thing that she’s noticed is the use of infographics on site. She is interested in adding some to the foundation’s boards, but cost is a consideration. In order to do that the foundation would need to have a graphic designer create infographics.

Which brings up a downside to both Pinterest and Google+, or any new social media site, the more social media sites there are the more resources must be allocated to them, whether it is someone to update the sites or paying for photos and infographics.

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been on Pinterest since the beginning. They started out with 200 followers and now have about 922. Currently, they do a trivia Tuesday and post pictures that relate to their blog posts.

Megan Cantrell, Senior Membership Coordinator likes the visual aspect of Pinterest, and she believes this may be driving a change in the visuals on the other sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Right now, the NPCA is also planning their Pinterest use for the upcoming year. They want to bring awareness about the issues surrounding the national parks. Megan says, “People may see images of parks, but be unaware of the deeper issues. Clicking picture and going to a blog post about issue could help get a deeper connection to information.”

Some information is hard to convey, like how budgetary cuts will affect the parks. Megan thinks infographics are perfect for that they “Easily display visual facts and figures that support the mission.”

Google +

Google+ hasn’t met with the same level of initial success as Pinterest. The Challenger Center will explore the Google Hangouts, but other than that isn’t using Google+ as frequently as Pinterest and other social media. It could be because as Cheryl from the Celiac Foundation says, “Google+ requires more strategy.”

One organization using Google+ is the NPCA; Megan says the organization was an early adopter. The feature she likes the best is the ability to use hash tags to keep their posts in the relevant streams. The NPCA used it during the presidential debates during the budget discussions to bring awareness about how budget cuts affect national parks.

No matter which social media channel and organization chooses it is important to plan how the organization will use the medium.

Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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