07/30/2012 09:06 am ET | Updated Sep 29, 2012

4 Steps to Launching a Fundraiser on Pinterest

The latest promotion from beauty brand Elizabeth Arden combines cause marketing with Pinterest. I was struck by how easy it is to execute a cause marketing promotion on Pinterest -- and that Elizabeth Arden was a darn good teacher

This is how it works:

Step 1: Recruit a Company Partner

Yeah, this is the hard part for most nonprofits, but not for Look Good Feel Better, which teaches beauty techniques to cancer patients that have appearance-related side effects from their cancer treatments. They were lucky to find Elizabeth Arden -- or maybe EA found them.

Unless a company asks you first, you'll have to find a partner for your Pinterest promotion. But which company should you choose? Your best bet is to target an existing partner that knows your nonprofit and has worked with you before. Because raising money on social networks is a new idea for many businesses, you may need to do some hand-holding -- something not every business will welcome if they don't know and trust you.

Pinterest isn't a standalone site so you'll need to pick a company partner that's active on other social networking sites. Elizabeth Arden has been using Facebook (150,000 Likes) and Twitter (17,000 followers) to promote #PinItToGiveIt. You don't need the large following Elizabeth Arden has but social media activity and engagement count.

Regardless of how the partner is recruited, they'll commit cash or product to the promotion (Elizabeth Alden is donating up to 10,000 eyeliners).

The next step is to create the actual promotion on Pinterest.

Step 2: Create a Board, Pick a Hashtag

On Elizabeth Arden's Pinterest page they created a board called #PinItToGiveIt and uploaded a bunch of relevant images. Regardless of whether you use one image or ten, be sure to use the same hashtag, which will make your pins easier to find and share. For more info on hashtags on Pinterest, check out this post from my fellow For Dummies author Kelby Carr.

Give your board a title and description that gives users all the information they need. Keyword-rich descriptions will help get boards and pins discovered more easily via search. Remember, pinners prefer short descriptions.

EA Board

Step 3: Promote the Board

Let people know about the board on and off social media. This is where being active on other social networks is helpful. For all its growth and publicity, Pinterest is a satellite site not a home base. You still need a blog, Twitter, YouTube and, of course, Facebook. Make sure people understand that their repin triggers the donation.

Check out the snapshot below of how Elizabeth Arden promoted #PinItToGiveIt on its Facebook timeline cover. Another option for Facebook is to create a custom tab for Pinterest as brands such as home store chain Lowe's stores has had success driving traffic from the number one social networking site to the third largest, Pinterest.

Ea facebook

Step 4: Count Up Your Pins & Collect Your Donation

How much money did you raise, or how many Elizabeth Arden eyeliners will Look Good, Feel better receive? Just revisit your board and see how many repins you have. Add them up and you have your total!

Nonprofits often ask me: "How do I track if the repin came from my our promotion of the campaign and not some random repin? Won't the company want to know before they make a donation?" The short answer is no, they won't. The number of repins is right on the original pin for all to see. It shouldn't matter how you got them.

So count all your pins -- and not just the one from your mother that you know is because of you.

Ea pincount