Image of female with phone viewing a tiktok video of herself

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re most likely aware of the phenomenon that is TikTok. But is it just a platform for trendy dances and viral challenges, or can it be a powerful tool for nonprofits seeking to boost awareness and fundraising efforts? Let’s explore the benefits, challenges, and how nonprofits can effectively leverage this technology.

When I first starting writing this post, I was doing a deep dive analysis comparing TikTok’s algorithm to the daily marketing efforts of nonprofits. I originally had a long-winded story describing my frustrations with TikTok creators who take forever to get to the point for the sake of longer video views. Then it hit me… I’m doing the same thing they are! Get to the point, Paul! So what follows are points. Bullet points. You’re welcome.

Benefits of Embracing TikTok

  • Massive, Diverse Audience: TikTok boasts a rapidly growing user base, offering nonprofits access to a wide and diverse audience. It’s a melting pot of ages, interests, and backgrounds – a perfect recipe for broadening your reach.
  • High Engagement Rates: TikTok’s algorithm is designed to captivate users, often resulting in higher engagement rates compared to other platforms. Engaging content can quickly gain traction, making it ideal for spreading your message far and wide.
  • Creative Freedom: The platform encourages creativity and authenticity, allowing nonprofits to showcase their work and mission in a fun, relatable way.

Challenges to Consider

  • Content Creation Demands: TikTok’s content style is unique – it requires creativity, time, and resources to stand out. Nonprofits need to invest in crafting engaging, short-form content that resonates with the TikTok audience.
  • Navigating Algorithm Nuances: Understanding how the TikTok algorithm works can be a bit of a puzzle. It’s driven by user interactions, video information, and device/account settings, requiring a strategic approach to content creation.
  • Measuring Impact: Tracking conversions from TikTok to actual donations or volunteer sign-ups can be challenging, especially for organizations new to the platform.

Stepping into TikTok: Advice for Nonprofits

  • Understand Your Audience: Know who you want to reach. Are they active on TikTok? What content do they enjoy? Tailor your content to resonate with your target audience.
  • Embrace Authenticity: TikTok thrives on authenticity. Don’t be afraid to show the real, unpolished side of your nonprofit’s work.
  • Collaborate and Participate: Engage with other TikTokers, especially influencers who align with your mission. Participate in trends and challenges to increase visibility.
  • Measure Success Beyond Virality: Focus on engagement and community building, not just views or likes. Are you sparking conversations? Are people sharing your content?

Taking the First Steps

  • Set Clear Goals: Define what you want to achieve – is it awareness, fundraising, or volunteer recruitment?
  • Create a Content Plan: Plan your content around your goals, audience, and what works on TikTok. Mix in educational content, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and storytelling.
  • Dedicate Resources: Assign team members to manage the account, create content, and engage with the community.

Recommendations for Gaining Views

  • Use Relevant Hashtags: Tap into trending and relevant hashtags to increase your content’s discoverability.
  • Post Regularly: Consistency is key. Regular posting keeps your audience engaged and helps you understand what works.
  • Engage with Followers: Respond to comments, participate in challenges, and create duets. Engagement drives further engagement.
  • Monitor Trends and Adapt: Stay on top of trending topics and adapt them to fit your nonprofit’s message.

Leveraging TikTok’s Algorithm

TikTok’s algorithm is like a hyper-attentive matchmaker, quickly learning user preferences and serving content that keeps them hooked. For nonprofits, this means if you hit the right notes with your content, you can reach a vast audience without the hefty advertising budgets that are often required on other platforms.

  • First Impressions Matter: The first few seconds of your video are crucial. Make them engaging to hook viewers immediately.
  • Optimize for Watch Time: Longer watch times signal the algorithm that your content is engaging, increasing its likelihood of being promoted.
  • Encourage Interaction: Prompt users to comment, share, or follow. User interactions significantly influence the algorithm.

Is TikTok Worth the Time for Nonprofits?

While TikTok demands creativity and consistency, its high engagement rates and vast audience make it an exciting platform for nonprofits. By understanding the platform’s dynamics and crafting a thoughtful strategy, nonprofits can effectively use TikTok to amplify their message, engage with supporters, and even drive fundraising efforts. But it takes time! More than you think. But, if your audience is there, and you’re ready to embrace the TikTok challenge, it might just be the game-changer you’re looking for!

Mission Forward

Mission Forward is a weekly LinkedIn Newsletter written by Paul Durban with tools, tips and tricks to help nonprofits reach their goals. Subscribe to the newsletter on LinkedIn.