Pinterest for Nonprofits

A How-to Pin for Nonprofits

A How-to Pin for Nonprofits

As part of FLC’s Social Media Month, FLC has put together tips and strategies for using social media platforms as a nonprofit organization. If you’ve missed the first two webinars, check out the Twitter webinar on Thursday, November 21 at 12 p.m. This week we provided a webinar on the 3rd most popular social media site in America: Pinterest!

Pinterest is an image-based social media site that was created in 2010 where users can share photos with their followers and create collections of photos based on a theme. Each individual image is called a “pin” and the collection on which the pin is posted is called a “pin board.”  A user that follows another can decide to share a specific pin with their followers and “re-pin” it to one of their boards. Finally, there are “likes” and “comments” that function the same way as they do on Facebook. Pinterest users are more often than not women. They make up 80% of the 700 million users on the site.

Pinterest is beneficial for nonprofits for several reasons. Pinterest is known for having outstanding SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This allows for an accounts pin board to be found from an ordinary Google search even when the person who searched it doesn’t use Pinterest. The site also directs back pins to where they first were originated, so it’s a good idea to pin content that originated on your website or blog—this will take a user who clicks the pin to be brought to your organization’s site.

Driving traffic back to your website so that people can read about your mission and what your organization does is one of the biggest reasons why businesses use Pinterest. In fact, Forbes has found that Pinterest pins can significantly drive sales. Why not drive donations too?

There are some things to keep in mind when you’re beginning to choose content for your Pinterest. Above all, remember that Pinterest is a photo-sharing site. Articles and blog posts aren’t going to be as popular here, so if you want to post a blog on Pinterest, make sure to have some sort of image that people would want to re-blog. Photos of a tutor or student who has completed their GED are also good ways to supplement a blog post.

Other useful content to post are Infographics and Inspiring Quotes. Infographics are basically a graphical representation of statistics about a certain theme. You can find inspiring quotes with a simple Google search, and then use to make them look more appealing. Infographics can be found at or The latter allows you to create a basic account and try your hand at making literacy infographics. Useful Pinterest accounts to follow include Larry Ferlazzo, GCFLEarnFree, and ABC Life Literacy.

Here are some good strategies to use when you first start pinning:

  • Research Keywords
  • Follow Other Literacy/ Education Organizations
  • Plan:
    • Peak times- 2pm to 4pm or 8pm to 1am
    • Don’t forget the weekend
    • Diversify target audience with several Pin boards
    • Promote and Integrate with Social Media
    • Get followers to your Pinterest
    • Link Facebook/Twitter Accounts

Family literacy in the summertime

Summer reading loss is a real thing for many Florida students. If students do not read during the summer, they can lose the literacy skills developed over the previous school year. Even though family literacy classes might be done, take this opportunity to go to a state park with your family or set aside a D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) time every day to maintain consistency.

Here is a summer reading list developed by Just Read! Florida based on grade level.

Sign the Summer Literacy Adventure pledge!

Jaclyn Boland: How to Build a Sustainable Lending Library for your Literacy Program

Jaclyn Boland

One of my first projects as a VISTA was to establish a sustainable lending library. Our lending library has become a valuable resource to the families we serve and continues to grow with donated items from community partners. Establishing a lending library for your literacy program can become a sustainable resource not only for the families that you serve but the community as well.

With no library in walking distance, our families had no access to books. When a community partner asked if we wanted a cart they were no longer using, we jumped at the opportunity. We wanted to create a lending library to provide easy access to a collection of books, puzzles, learning games and resources. The families would be able to check out items, take them home, and return them the following class.

Our family literacy program utilizes the first twenty minutes to engage parents and children in reading together. As parents became comfortable reading to their children and children began to enjoy being read to, the lending library g the families the materials necessary to implement reading at home.

Getting Started

Family at United Methodist Cooperative Ministries

The first step (and potentially most challenging part) will be to find space for the library. It can be a bookshelf, closet, or a rolling cart. The rolling cart provides space, storage and added mobility, which has proven useful (especially if you have limited/shared space).

Materials come next. I created 4 sections of the library. Within each section, I made a list of materials I wanted to include. This helped me to determine what materials needed.

    • Parent Resources (parent magazines, pamphlets, books)
    • English Books (board books, chapter books, picture books, dictionaries, etc)
    • Bi-lingual Books (Spanish, Arabic, etc.)
    • Take-Home activities (puzzles, flash cards, file folder games, etc.)

The lending library includes much more than books.  Puzzles, learning games, flashcards, etc. are included too. Don’t feel that you have to limit yourself. Creating your own lending library is unique in that it can be customized to fit the needs of your students and your program!

Once you know what types of materials you need, start looking! Most of the materials in our lending library were donated. The benefit of using donated materials is that we aren’t as concerned with unreturned items. Talk to your community partners and volunteers about your project! Let them know what types of materials you are looking for (children’s books) and how it will benefit the students/community. Be on the lookout for garage sales and local library book sales. Donations and children’s books are easy to come by. Also, be creative with what you already have!

Once you have the materials, organization is key. Within the English and Bi-Lingual Book Sections, I divided the books by reading level (Young Adult, Adult, etc.) and designated each level with a colored sticker on the spine of the book (see picture) and placed like colors together on the cart. This is very helpful for students and it also helps the student put the book back in the correct section of the library. I also added a “Property Of” sticker on the back of each item.

I then created rules for the lending library, which were placed in a binder with the sign in/out sheets containing the parents name, date, type of material (book, puzzle) and title. A volunteer oversees the library. Also, keep an Excel spreadsheet of the library inventory.

The Result
Families have reported that with the help of the lending library they have developed a reading routine at home, they are reading more often at home and their children now request bedtime stories.

I hope that you see the benefit of a lending library and begin to implement one into your literacy program!

Jaclyn Boland is an AmeriCorps* VISTA with United Methodist Cooperative Ministries. 

Top Stories in Literacy: April 16

Top Stories in LiteracyTeach Your Children Well-April is Financial Literacy Month
M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group, is using Financial Literacy Month to provide consumers a fiscal education lesson each week. This week’s tip is how your children can learn while they earn.

Young man with autism appeals to Obama for college opportunity
Billy Perogi is 20, autistic, and about to graduate from high school in Naples, Fla. He wants to go to college more than anything. Every school he and his mother have contacted has told them there is no program available for his specialized needs.

Indian River Adult education offering home health aide program
Indian River State College is offering career workshops on becoming a home health aide, security officer, phlebotomist, a new practical nursing program and excel classes for adult education students.

Job-seeking Collier County adults are back in class to catch up to computer skills
Fort Myers residents are among a growing number of both employed and unemployed adults seeking to better their lives and improve their current and future job marketability by going back to school for refresher courses on fundamental computer skills most of today’s teenagers take for granted.

Adult Learning Not Increasing With Internet Availability
Adults who are out of school are not necessarily active learners, for a number of reasons. With the growth of the Internet though, many hope that adults may use the technology available to them for some informal learning.

Top Stories in Literacy: March 26

Top Stories in LiteracyMiami- Dade targets industries for future employment growth
Local economic leaders say the “Education Assets Inventory” report will help better match local degree and certificate programs with the job sectors that are poised for future growth. The Beacon Council has outlined seven target industries for Miami-Dade to focus on going forward — including aviation, hospitality and tourism, and international banking and finance.

YouTube Offers Live Streaming Video to Nonprofits
Free live video streaming online isn’t a new technology—one of the best-known providers, ustream, started offering the service in 2007—but YouTube’s new service gives nonprofits the chance to stream video through their existing YouTube channels, with all of the features the site provides for other videos.

Online “GED Certificates” Not Worth the Paper They’re Printed on
Consumers are being deceived by fraudulent online “schools” offering high school credentials that have little or no value. GED Testing Service has filed a lawsuit to stop this abuse and protect those seeking to further their education.

Kids Want More Guidance on Money Matters, Yet Parents Lacking as Financial Role
The 2012 Parents, Kids & Money Survey from T. Rowe Price, which surveyed parents, and for the first time, their kids, reveals that kids ages 8 to 14 want to know more about money matters, particularly about saving and how to make money.

Top Stories in Literacy: March 12

Top Stories in Literacy

Adult Education Programs at Daytona State College Hit Hard by Fees
The 50.5 percent drop in enrollment occurred this spring semester at campuses in Volusia and Flagler counties compared to spring 2011. The drop is slightly higher than the 48.3 percent the college saw in the fall compared to fall of 2010.

Public Pressure Works as State Funds Return to Flagler’s Disabled Adults Services
It was a close call, but as of today (March 2), the Flagler County school district will not lose some $600,000 in state funds to run several programs for the disabled in its Adult Education division. In essence, most–but not all–of the 18 jobs in the division will be saved.

Parent Trigger Debate: Florida’s Controversial Parent Trigger Bill for Failing Schools
The “parent trigger” bill has prompted an outcry from critics, who view it as a way to snatch power from local school boards and convince parents to turn public campuses over to private companies.

Program Helps Unemployed Land Jobs
A Miami-Dade College program that once helped displaced homemakers is seeing more laid-off workers and retirees trying to get back into the job market. Computer classes most popular.

Top Stories in Literacy :January 9

2012 Resolutions for the Nonprofit World
The Chronicle of Philanthropy invited leaders of the nonprofit world to share their resolutions ans an opportunity to set new goals. While not all these are focused on literacy, there are ideas that all of us can use.

Why Awareness Beats Anxiety
Carl Richards of the New York Times gives advice on finding the medium between regrets from the past and worrying about the future. This advice can be given to anyone teaching financial literacy

Best-selling authors to join Gov. Jeb Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush for Celebration of Reading in Bonita Springs
The 12th annual family literacy fundraiser, Celebration of Reading, will take place on February 17, 2012 in Bonita Springs. This event will feature the former first lady, several other representatives and three New York Times best-selling authors.

Changes in the GED test will make it harder to pass
The new GED expected to launch in 2014, will include higher math skills, computer schkills, and more writing, focusing on development of skills related to career and postsecondary success.  The current model has not been updated since 1999.

A Literate Nation for 2012
This Huffington Post editorial examines the pitfalls with America’s illiteracy problem.

Top stories in Literacy Nov 14

Hello! We’re starting a new thing where every Monday (and sometimes every other Monday), we’ll provide top stories in literacy news. These stories will include non-profit updates, adult basic education, ESL/ELL/ESOL, family literacy, health literacy, financial literacy, career pathways, digital literacy, and important updates for Florida literacy organizations. Here are this week’s top articles:

Nonprofits and charities can now have a page on Google plus

The Nation’s Report Card: Better reading scores start at home

Education Secretary Appeals for Financial Literacy, Planning Instruction in Schools

National  Digital Literacy Corps

Jump on the Financial Literacy Bandwagon

Financial literacy has become one of the most important focuses of literacy organizations over the past 12 months.  The federal government has made financial literacy a key component to its educational pathways to success and many AmeriCorps Vistas are working across the state of Florida to increase financial literacy rates.  Many organizations are beginning to offer financial literacy courses in their programs and experts are applauding this trend.

David Hiller has written about the long-term benefits of financial literacy courses.  Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke is also jumping on the financial literacy bandwagon with her decision to speak about the importance of helping individuals make better financial decisions.  There are also many organizations that are attempting to help the millions of people fighting foreclosure.

Many organizations would love to implement financial literacy courses into their programs, but they don’t have training curricula and other resources.  The Florida Literacy Coalition created a page on its website to help with this problem.  Visit this site to gain access to dozens of free resources that you can immediately use in your program!

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

Tomorrow, March 2, is Dr. Seuss’s birthday! The National Education Association promotes Dr. Seuss’s birthday as Read Across America day. Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat is widely recognized as a breakthrough in the fight against illiteracy. Dr. Suess was challenged to write a book using only words from a list of 343 words and to keep the book under 225 new words. He wrote The Cat in the Hat using only 223 words that young children should know, and the rest is history!

Pick up a book and enjoy the day! Thank you to all of the literacy volunteers, tutors, teachers and organizations across Florida that work so hard to spread the joy of reading.