Pinterest is a fabulous place to use visual storytelling to share your organization’s mission and illustrate your impact. But it's not a random, throw-spaghetti-on-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks kind of situation.

For maximum returns on Pinterest, keep a narrative approach in mind and follow these tips.

Eleven Best Practices for Using Pinterest

1. Clearly identify goals such as driving donations to the website, cultivating brand affinity, or growing your online community. Pin towards these goals.

2. Research what people are already pinning related to your causes to understand what moves Pinterest users.

3. Plan boards strategically. Launch your board internally, to staff or board members, and then externally, to donors and supporters. We also recommend collecting pins on a private board initially, and when you have downtime, so that you have a cache of pins ready to go when the pace picks up. (Note that you want to repin from the original website, not from your private board).

4. Pin riveting, visually compelling images that show how your organization makes a difference. For best results, focus on crafting and sharing inspiring or moving original content that links back to your website.

5. Try to maintain a balance of original content and content from other websites or blogs and other Pinterest users.

6. Link strategically to your YouTube channel videos make spectacular pins. And your email opt-in page.

7. Engage with your followers. Re-pin, comment and “like” their posts. You can even invite certain followers to pin to your boards when appropriate.

8. Make sure both fans and newcomers can find you easily. Treat Pinterest as the search engine it is by including keywords (words likely to be searched) in your board titles and descriptions. While creative titles are preferred over the generic suggestions from Pinterest, keywords should always be embedded. Add prominent links to Pinterest on your website and share pins on Facebook and Twitter so that people already engaged with your organization don't need to root around on Pinterest to find you.

9. Use your Pinterest analytics and notifications. Pinterest offers a free analytics tool for businesses. Check in monthly for a good birds-eye view of what is transpiring on your boards, including what sort of content is garnering the most clicks, repins and top impressions. Meanwhile you should be checking your notifications on a more regular basis for a more on-the-pavement view of what's happening (who's engaging, what topics are hottest, etc). All of this information is grist for the mill in your ongoing Pinterest strategy.

10. Use timeless titles for your pins so they don't become dated. Make sure your content has broad appeal and it will keep getting repinned.

11. And last but not least, make sure your website is optimized for pinning on mobile. This means testing that pictures (and text) pinned from your site, load and look good, and your social media buttons work on all devices including tablets and phones. Neglecting mobile-responsiveness on your site is exactly like shooting all of your online content in the proverbial foot. 

Need some pinning inspiration? See our 5 Fantastic Pin Ideas.