TikTok for Nonprofits: Should Your Organization Use It?
Updated April 28, 2023
This article was written by marketing specialist Maria Sadusky of Community Boost. Maria has broad experience running social media and email marketing campaigns.
TikTok is one of the most used social media platforms among nonprofits, for-profits, and individuals seeking ways to stay connected. The platform allows users to generate up to 10-minute videos and host live streams, just like Meta and LinkedIn.
After launching in the United States in 2016, the number of active TikTok users climbed to more than 1 billion worldwide.1 At first, the social media platform centered around teen influencers creating and sharing short videos in an attempt to “go viral.” Companies quickly recognized the platform’s prominence and wanted in on the action.
Now, nonprofits utilize TikTok regularly to connect with younger audiences in a more personal and immediate way. If you’re considering introducing TikTok into your nonprofit’s social media strategy—which we highly suggest—it’s crucial to understand the unique ways the app functions and the best way to leverage it for your mission.
Below, we’ll give you a look at what this platform is and how it can be beneficial to your nonprofit marketing strategy.
How Do I Create a TikTok Account?
All right, let’s get started on TikTok!
The first thing you have to do is create an account.
Step 1: Download the TikTok App for Free
You might not need explaining on this part, but if you do, we have you covered.
Download TikTok for free from the Apple Store (for iOS users) and Google Play Store (for Android users). All you have to do is search for TikTok, then select the Download or Install button to begin downloading.
Step 2: Sign Up for an Account
To move to this step, you need your email, phone number, or log-in information for your social media accounts. If you use your email, make sure it’s the one linked to your nonprofit’s account.
Step 3: Set Up Your Profile
Once you create an account, you can set up your profile. Here’s where you add a profile picture and a brief description of your nonprofit organization.
If you already have an account with 1,000 followers, you can add your donation site hyperlink to your bio. Also, be sure to link your Instagram and YouTube accounts to TikTok.
How Can Nonprofits Use TikTok?
It’s vital to keep up with the latest trends and create TikTok content that connects with your audience. Here are a few ways to use TikTok for good to promote your nonprofit:
Stay Up to Date With the TikTok Trends for Nonprofits
Authenticity Is Valuable
Creating authentic TikTok content is a key factor in building a strong online presence and standing out in a crowded digital space. It makes your nonprofit brand more relatable to viewers and helps establish trust with your audience who will be more likely to support your brand over time.
By opting for organic content over edited and produced content, you can show your audience that you value nonprofit transparency. This, in turn, can lead to better results and a more committed following.
For example, here are two performance analytics reports from posts on Community Boost’s TikTok. The first was a produced and edited video created by a videographer, and the second was a 15-minute, in-app creation on the TikTok platform.
As you can see, the more organic content featured in the second video received longer total play times—and average watch time per user. It had a higher retention rate and gained eight new followers.
Educational Content Is Key
Another popular way to use TikTok is to post educational content and informational videos. The Sacramento Museum TikTok account, for example, talks about particular moments in history and uses trending sounds to bring in tourism.
Nonprofits can create educational video content on TikTok by sharing interesting, mission-related facts, statistics, or insights. You can also create how-to tutorial videos demonstrating your work, such as how to plant a tree or care for animals.
Sharing behind-the-scenes footage of your nonprofit’s operations is another strategic way to attract Generation Z donors and other new audiences, giving viewers a glimpse into your daily activities and their impact.
Get in on Campaigns or Launch One
TikTok campaigns provide a chance for nonprofits to build brand awareness and raise funds for a good cause. The “#PetBFF” campaign, for instance, encourages users to post videos with their pets and donate to a nonprofit organization that works with animals.
Individuals can participate in these campaigns by posting a photo and adding the appropriate hashtag associated with the hashtag challenge or launching a campaign by creating a hashtag and encouraging users to participate.
Create Content That Corresponds With the Algorithm
There are certain things you can do when creating content to cater to the TikTok algorithm. Our top tips are:
Find Trending Sounds to Implement Into Your TikTok Content Strategy
You can do this by going to the search bar in the top right of your screen and typing in “viral sounds.” Then, head to the sounds tab and look for sounds used over 10,000 times.
Post at Least Every Weekday
This might sound excessive, but considering your content should only be about 11 seconds, it’s possible to produce daily videos if you have the right strategy. This could be repurposed content you already used on Instagram or Facebook or quick clips of daily life at your nonprofit.
Use Trending Hashtags in Your Captions
It’s critical to use trending hashtags that correspond with the content you post and are specific to your niche. For example, say your nonprofit creates a caption for a post about rescuing dogs. The hashtags #animalrescue, #dogmemes, and #cutedogs are trending with millions to billions of views, so these would be great to use.
When you type the “#” symbol into the caption, trending TikTok hashtags will show. You can use the provided suggestions to inspire your hashtag choices, like #viraltiktok, #viralvideo, or others specific to your video and niche.
How Do Nonprofits Raise Money on TikTok?
Nonprofits can raise money on TikTok by using donation stickers, which allow users to donate directly from the app. Verified nonprofit accounts can add these stickers to videos to encourage donations.
Additionally, TikTok has added a feature that allows users to display a nonprofit on their profile, making it easier for viewers to support that organization. Nonprofits can also participate in existing campaigns or launch new ones to spread awareness and raise funds. And don’t forget to experiment with TikTok ads to target the right users at the right time.
Display a Fundraiser on Your Profile
The newest feature TikTok has added to encourage donations on the platform is the ability for users to display a nonprofit on their profile.
Underneath the follow button and bio on the profile page, users can add a link to an organization they’d like to support. This feature is available to every user on the platform, including official nonprofit brand accounts.
Examples of Nonprofits Using TikTok For Good
1. Aquarium of the Pacific (2.8M followers)
This Long Beach, California-based nonprofit uses the cuteness of its animals to the full effect in its TikTok videos. The nonprofit implements a good mixture of trending hashtags and niche hashtags, which has helped elevate its video content to larger audiences. Today, most of its hashtags have over 1 million views.
The social team does a great job of posting various content. On its profile, you’ll find content such as fun facts about aquatic animals, a day in the life of the staff members, and tours of different aquarium exhibits.
KeyTakeaway: Show the true nature behind the work that you do. Also, use trending hashtags.
2. V Foundation: (49 followers)
Although the V Foundation doesn’t have as many followers as some larger accounts, it shows that even as a nonprofit with a smaller audience, you can still deliver great content.
The nonprofit recently joined TikTok and has utilized it to inform and educate its supporter base. It appears the V Foundation has a small social team yet continues to post by repurposing content from events and using trending sounds and voice-overs.
KeyTakeaway: It’s never too late to join Tiktok. Stay consistent and you’ll see the rewards.
3. St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital (633.2K followers)
With seemingly endless content on St. Jude’s TikTok, the nonprofit leverages its channel for mostly storytelling.
The social team brings in childhood cancer survivors, showcases the daily behind-the-scenes of what happens at St. Jude, and offers comedic TikTok videos purely for entertainment.
The videos are in the right format, offer strong hooks to pull the audience in, and have relatable content. The social team often uses captions as well for accessibility.
KeyTakeaway: Mix up your content and make it relatable. It doesn’t all have to be educational. Find a common point to connect with your audience and help them connect to your cause with storytelling. For example, there are many people with children in the world. Finding the most relatable aspect of your mission and putting that on TikTok will help gain traction and support.
How Does TikTok Support Donor Communication?
There are two primary groups of donors: traditional donors, which include Gen X and Baby Boomers, and next-gen donors, which include Gen Z and Millennials.
Traditional donors, being more established in their careers, tend to give more significant amounts to nonprofits. However, their giving is less frequent and is overall starting to plateau.
On the other hand, next-gen donors give less per gift but tend to give much more frequently. They are also 2.7X as likely to host an individual fundraising page on behalf of an organization they support, according to Classy’s report Why America Gives.
In 2022 alone, next-gen donors gave $27 billion on TikTok.2 These giving behaviors make them an increasingly important group for nonprofits.
Relationship Building and Donor Stewardship
The first step in building lasting donor connections is establishing strong communication with your donors and showing them how their donations make an impact. This is key to demonstrating effective donor management for your organization.
You can share impact videos, personally thank donors through hand-written thank you letters, provide updates in your nonprofit annual report, or even invite them to a VIP event experience. These are all key parts of donor stewardship that help build trusting, authentic relationships.
How Will Your Nonprofit Use TikTok?
Hopefully, by now, you’re convinced TikTok can complement your digital marketing strategy in new, exciting ways. With next-gen donors quickly becoming a primary target audience, it couldn’t be a better time to experiment with this fast-growing platform. Are you prepared to meet them at every touchpoint?
- “Thanks a Billion,” Community, TikTok, last modified September 27, 2021,https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/1-billion-people-on-tiktok.
- “TikTok Statistics – Updated Mar 2023,” Wallaroo, last modified March 21, 2023,https://wallaroomedia.com/blog/social-media/tiktok-statistics/.
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