5 Ways to Make Pinterest Work for Your Nonprofit

Making Pinterest work for your organizationPinterest is mostly known as a place full of cupcake recipes and wedding ideas, but it is so much more than that. Pinterest is a site for discovering and sharing inspiration–which makes it a great place for nonprofits. Here are some useful tips:

Showcase the impact of your work.

Your Pinterest page should showcase the positive impact that your work does for the community. Sharing your impact on Pinterest is a great way to increase your nonprofit’s visibility while attracting new volunteers and gaining donors.

For example, Operation Smile has touching before and after portraits of children who have gained new smiles through life-changing surgeries. Given the fact that Pinterest is a highly visual site, consider pinning photos that visually tell a powerful story about the work your nonprofit does.

Share your ideas with other nonprofits.

Pinterest can be used to engage with other nonprofits. One way to connect with other nonprofits is by sharing creative ways to fundraise. For example, look at the inspiring ideas charity: water pinned onto their fundraising board.

Create a business account.

You can convert your existing account into a business one. Upgrading your account gives you access to exclusive goodies such as a board widget, follow button and pin it button – all of which can be used on your blog and website.

Add a Pin It Button to your website.

Add a Pin It button to your nonprofit blog so readers can easily pin their favorite posts onto their own Pinterest page. Be sure to place the button near your other social media sharing buttons to make it easier for your readers to find it.

Use Pinterest to fundraise.

Pinterest can be another platform for fundraising online. The easiest way to fundraise is by turning your pin into a gift. Simply type in the price in the pin’s description. As soon as your pin has a price tag, it’s automatically added to the gifts category. Just make sure your pin links back to your nonprofit’s donation page.

If you want to take your fundraising to the next level, think about creative ways to reach donors. Take a look at the powerful Pinterest campaign that UNICEF launched for some inspiration.

Check out the VolunteerMatch Pinterest page here.

How does your nonprofit use Pinterest?

Keeping Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream Alive Through Social Media

This post is apart of the Nonprofit Blog Carnival, a monthly selection of posts that are of interest to the nonprofit community.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nonprofits spend every day living out Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s mission of dedicating their time to helping others. Social media has enabled nonprofits to take this one step forward by being able to give a voice to those who are marginalized. As users of social media, I believe that we should strive to live up to Dr. King’s goal of using our voices to speak out about the causes that our nonprofits focus on.

If Martin Luther King, Jr. was still alive, he’d without a doubt be the king of social media. In a time when Facebook and Twitter were nonexistent, Dr. King managed to move millions of people to demand social change solely through his powerful speeches and inspiring words.

If Dr. King, was still here with us today, I could easily imagine his infamous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech being shared on Facebook, retweeted on Twitter, blogged about on Tumblr and viewed by millions on YouTube. Fast forward to 2013 and it becomes incredibly clear that what Dr. King accomplished without social media was truly extraordinary.

Today, social media has completely transformed the way nonprofits connect people with their causes. Nonprofits can now increase their visibility online, while more actively engaging with their donors and supporters. Social media is a powerful tool, yet many nonprofits seem to avoid using it. In fact, according to a study done by Ventureneer in 2010, 40% of nonprofits avoid social media because they don’t see the value of it or because they don’t believe you can measure outcomes.

My dream for the nonprofit community this year is for nonprofits to execute more daring and audacious social media marketing campaigns. For example, I was particularly struck by a campaign done by UNICEF where they created a fictional Pinterest board for a girl named Ami. Instead of pinning expensive clothes or luxury homes, Ami pinned basic life necessities such as clean water, soap and shoes. This deeply moving campaign challenged our consumer driven culture, while raising awareness of poverty in third-world countries.

I strongly believe that Martin Luther King, Jr. would want nonprofits to use social media as a tool for leveraging our social networks to make a difference. This year, I’d like to encourage your nonprofit to think outside the box and create a social media marketing campaign that is powerful, creative and most importantly, a call to action for people to support your cause.

Whether you’re a hunger relief organization or an animal shelter, it’s important to remember that social media has the strongest impact when it is combined with action. If Martin Luther King, Jr. had not used his social connections to gain support for his cause, his movement would have never been as powerful. Ultimately, I hope nonprofits will continue to keep Dr. King’s dream alive by creating strong, thought provoking social media marketing campaigns in 2013.

How do you think Martin Luther King, Jr. would use social media today? How has your nonprofit been inspired by Dr. King? Feel feel to share your thoughts.

Fighting Senior Hunger In Delaware: An Interview With Meals On Wheels DE

Our Fight Hunger Photo Contest asked nonprofits to submit a photo that visually narrated how they contribute to hunger relief in their community, accompanied by a short description. We’d like to thank every nonprofit that took the time to share their story with us. Every single entry was inspiring, touching and most importantly, a call to action for people everywhere to make a difference.

We are excited to announce that Meals On Wheels DE is the lucky winner of our contest! Meals on Wheels DE is specifically focused on fighting senior hunger in Delaware. Senior hunger is a growing problem in America. In fact, according a study conducted by Oregon State University, seniors with limited physical mobility were five times more likely to suffer from food insufficiency than their abled peers.

Cassandra Boyce, Marketing and PR Director at Meals On Wheels DE, spoke with us about recruiting volunteers, fighting hunger and recognizing outstanding volunteers.

Q: What does hunger look in Delaware?

A: Hunger has many faces in a small state like Delaware and financial restrictions aren’t the only limitations to receiving nutrients. Many of the seniors we serve have physical or age-related conditions that restrict their ability to shop or cook for themselves—Meals On Wheels is their only option.

Meals On Wheels Delaware (MOWD) is a nonprofit organization working with five meal-providing agencies and thousands of volunteers to feed hungry, homebound seniors throughout the State of Delaware. Through various fundraising events and direct mail campaigns during the year, MOWD is able to raise private funds to disperse to the participating agencies. Our organization is truly volunteer drive—without the help of hundreds of volunteers we would not be able to reach the thousands of seniors we deliver to on a daily basis.

Q: How does Meals On Wheels DE fight hunger?

A: MOWD ensures no senior is placed on a waiting list to receive a hot, nutritious meal daily—this is something few states can say they’ve accomplished. As federal funding often runs out half way through the year and organizations are often unable to meet the need, MOWD steps in to provide hot meals to the elderly community. MOWD serves nearly 4,000 homebound seniors throughout the State of Delaware. In fact, last year our dedicated volunteers delivered over 600,000 meals.

Q: What makes Meals on Wheels different from other hunger relief organizations? A: Alternatives for our seniors are few; due to ill health, lack of resources, or age-related conditions they are unable to shop or prepare food for themselves. Consistent meal deliveries provide more than basic comfort – nutritious meals sustain their physical strength, while our dedicated volunteers bring hope for their hearts. More often than not MOWD volunteers are the only interaction our seniors have all day; these small interactions at times can mean more than the nutritional sustenance the volunteer delivers.

Q:What would you say is the key to recruiting and maintaining dedicated volunteers?

A: Finding the right fit for each volunteer is important. Giving them an opportunity to enjoy using their talents and skills to make a difference in our community is the best way to keep people coming back. Some of our most dedicated volunteers are those who have a personal connection with the cause. Perhaps a friend or family member received services from Meals On Wheels in the past and were inspired to do the same for others in their community. We also have wonderful volunteers from Delaware’s strong community of businesses and organizations that support our fundraising events as well as volunteers to deliver meals each week. And many of our volunteers see the importance and value in the way we treat seniors in their most sincere time of need.

Q: How are volunteers recognized for their work?

A: We make sure all our event volunteers receive a personal thank you for the time and effort they put into making our fundraising events such a success. In addition, each year around the holidays we send a small token of our appreciation to the volunteer drivers throughout the state a gas card, as most volunteers pay for their own gas throughout the year. We also keep key volunteers up to date with news from Meals On Wheels and involve them in the planning early on—keeping their involvement high allows volunteers to be the driving force behind our mission.

Learn more about Meals on Wheels DE here.

Check out our Fight Hunger Photo Contest album on Facebook.

How is your nonprofit fighting hunger?

Inspiring and Influential Blogs About Hunger

Does your reading help fight hunger?

This month VolunteerMatch is focused on all the ways we can fight hunger. The blogs below are some of the great ones we found to keep updated about what nonprofits are doing to support hunger relief efforts all around the world.

No Kid Hungry Blog

No Kid Hungry is specifically dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger in America. They achieve this goal by connecting children to federal meal programs that directly benefit low-income families. Their blog contains informational videos, personal stories and articles about what advocates are doing in their area to fight hunger.

Be sure to click on their “Youth Advocates” tag to read essays written by young children who are creating innovative hunger relief programs in their communities. These essays can be a great starting point for learning how to encourage your volunteers to contribute to hunger relief efforts.

Notable Post: The Intersection of Childhood Hunger and Childhood Obesity

World Food Programme Tumblr

The World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger, has a Tumblr blog. This blog is filled with high quality photos and touching narratives that showcase the great work they are doing around the world in countries such as Brazil, Mali, Pakistan and Syria. This is a great place to find inspirational stories to share with your volunteers that are filled with hope.

Notable Post: WFP In Mali

World Food Programme On The Road-Video Blog

On The Road is a video blog that documents hunger relief efforts in different countries. Get a rare look into North Korea’s severe conditions, which have left 1 in 3 women and children at risk for severe hunger.

Be sure to check out their “Dollar a Day” Series where WFP staffers learn how much they can buy with limited funds at food markets in countries where people live on less than a dollar a day. Share these insightful videos with your volunteers to change the way they think about hunger and poverty.

Notable Post: On The Road: A Dollar A Day In Nepal

First Person-Oxfam America

Oxfam America, one of the largest development and relief organizations, has a blog that focuses on sharing videos, stories and voices from Oxfam experts. Their blog features book reviews, photo essays, news, social commentary and celebrity partnerships.

Check out their weekly “Buzz List” series which gives in depth reviews of the newest blogs, videos and music that have Oxfam staffers talking. This blog is a great place to find content directed toward young volunteers.

Notable Post: Instagramming Haiti

Do you follow a great hunger-related blog? Tell us about it in the comments.

Share Your Story By Entering The Fight Hunger Photo Contest

Nonprofits know that visual storytelling has the power to prompt social change on a level that no other medium can. Photography can instantly provoke an emotional response which can lead to a call to action.

To share the story of the inspiring work that hunger related organizations are doing, and all the individual volunteers fighting hunger this season, we’re launching a Fight Hunger Photo Contest.

Here’s your chance to be recognized for the amazing work you’re doing in your community. Today VolunteerMatch is launching the Fight Hunger Photo Contest. The goal is simple: to raise awareness of the work being done by nonprofits and their volunteers. We want to encourage as many nonprofits as possible to tell their story, so this contest is meant to be easy, fun and simple.

Here’s How to Enter:

1) Simply upload a picture of you, your organization and/or your volunteers doing hunger related volunteer work to the VolunteerMatch Facebook Page with a caption about fighting hunger.

2) Be sure to also share your photo on Twitter with the hashtag #FightHunger.

3) That’s it. The photo with the most likes, comments and shares wins. Contest ends 12/28/2012. Update: Contest extended until 01/04/2013.

Prize: The winning photo will be featured on the Engaging Volunteers blog along with an interview. We encourage you to take this opportunity to show off the incredible work that you’re doing in your community.

Most importantly, we’d like to encourage you to reach out to your volunteers and ask them submit their photos to the Fight Hunger Photo Contest. We’ll be sharing the visual stories we receive throughout the contest as they come in so be sure to send your entry as soon as possible.

Good luck!

(Photo Credit to FoodBankCENC.org via Flickr)