Pinterest Ads for Nonprofits (The Basics)

Tina Jepson
Tina Jepson

Many nonprofits out there are using Pinterest to advertise their cause. If your target donor audience uses Pinterest (hint: they probably do!), you may want to consider using Pinterest ads.

What Is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a website that uses ‘pinnable’ (shareable) photos and videos that encourage users to perform an action. Popular Pinterest picture categories include food preparation, arts and crafts, home decor, and easy DIY projects.

However, Pinterest can also be used to promote social good. Nonprofits can share stories, impactful images, and emotion-evoking videos on this platform to encourage engagement, education, and donations from a broad audience.

What are Pinterest Ads?

Pinterest ads are ideal for nonprofits and small businesses alike. Those wishing to market their nonprofit can target their advertised pins to specific users. If a user clicks on a promoted pin, the organization pays (pay per click).

There are many reasons why a nonprofit may want to use Pinterest ads as opposed to simply posting to the site. Pinterest ads are actually perfect for the average nonprofit. For example, the dashboard that tracks pinners will help a nonprofit analyze and cater material to their audience while the subtle ad placement ensures unobtrusive and seemingly organic exposure.

So, how is this done?

In fact, it is a fairly easy process. Start by picking out your most popular/impactful pins. Then, decide the demographic/audience you want to get in front of. You’ll also need to set up a payment option. Last, you’ll be able to track your progress using the Pinterest business platform.

Pinterest ads

How Do Pinterest Ads Target The Right Audience?

While Pinterest isn’t quite as advanced with their post targeting as some social media platforms, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the basics to help you reach the right audience.

You can choose your audience based on 4 criteria:

  • Gender
  • Location
  • Device (computer, mobile)
  • Language

Therefore, it is important that you know the basics of the people you want to reach before you start narrowing down your audience.

The 411 On Pinterest Analytics

Once your nonprofit has signed up for a Pinterest business account, you’ll be granted access to the Pinterest Analytics site. Here, you will find all the information needed to track your audience and the popularity of your content.

Your analytics dashboard is broken down into 3 sections:

  1. Your Profile: Shows the number of daily viewers and impressions of your ads, as well as all-time most popular posts and clicks/re-clicks
  2. Your Audience: Contains detailed information on audience demographics and interests, average monthly viewers and the number of viewers that are engaged with your pins.
  3. Your Account Activity: This section details activity that originates from your website onto Pinterest including the Pin-It button (the Your Profile section is the opposite, as it tracks which Pinterest posts lead viewers to your website).

Pinterest Ads analytic dashboard

Over time, you’ll be able to track your popular posts and the demographics of the audience you are engaging. This can help you to better customize your ads going forward.

Types Of Content Your Nonprofit Should Promote

Most Pinterest users are looking to see a visual representation of whatever they are searching for. If they are looking for wall paint color ideas, then they want to see their choices in pictures.

The same goes for information about your nonprofit. If a user searches for “philanthropy” or “animal welfare”, they may be looking for pictures and videos that depict these topics.

Therefore, it is important to give them visuals that will immediately engage them. We talk a lot about storytelling, and this is a situation you’ll need to tell your story with simple image or video.

Here are some types of content that will work well if your nonprofit decides to advertise with Pinterest:

  • Colorful infographics describing the problem/need that your nonprofit addresses
  • Pictures of your clients served (if appropriate)
  • Bold statistics compiled in an infographic followed by a call to action
  • Videos describing the work being done by your organization
  • ‘Feel good’ messages and quotes about becoming involved/donating


If you have a target audience that likely uses Pinterest (fyi: this means women under 40 in the United States) as one of their preferred social media platforms, then Pinterest ads may be a great option for your nonprofit to gain more exposure.

For more information on how your nonprofit can use Pinterest to share your mission with the masses, check out: Guide to Using Pinterest for Nonprofits and Social Good.

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