Blog       How to get started on TikTok as a nonprofit

How to get started on TikTok as a nonprofit

Think TikTok is just a Gen-Z affair? Think again. With over 1.4 billion monthly active users, the video-sharing social media platform is fast becoming a gold mine for digital marketers and nonprofits alike, as over 55.5% of brands say they prefer TikTok over other platforms for influencer marketing. 

We've teamed up with the TikTok experts at 8Cats Digital to explore some of the easiest and most effective ways that nonprofits and charities can market themselves to TikTok’s growing audience. Even if you’ve never used the platform before, you’ll be amassing followers in no time!

8Cats Digital is a digital marketing agency with a passion for building award-winning advertising campaigns for charities and nonprofits. They're experts in social media marketing, and they want to empower your nonprofit to take its online marketing strategy to new heights.

So with that in mind, we're handing over the blogging reigns to 8Cats Digital for a TikTok masterclass. Let's go!

TikTok for nonprofits

TikTok is quickly becoming one of the biggest social media channels on the web. It’s already the #1 downloaded app in the world, and while most TikTok users are young - 71% are aged 18 to 34 - the platform has a growing number of followers in the 35+ age bracket.

Perhaps what’s even more interesting is the 26% of TikTok users who use the app to learn new things, or the 46% of users who browse TikTok for entertainment. Brands that can create engaging, entertaining or informative videos will flourish in this environment.

Some nonprofits might wonder whether TikTok is the right platform for them. TikTok already has an impressive history of creating change via social media campaigns that promote sustainability, well-being, and equality.

By reaching out to the millions of younger users that browse TikTok every day, charities can engage with future donors and ensure that their cause will be a priority for a new generation. From trending hashtags to viral videos, TikTok can shine a spotlight on your cause overnight.

If you’ve ever dismissed TikTok for being too Gen-Z, now’s the time to put that right. Embracing this unique video platform could bolster your charity’s brand identity for years to come.

7 tips to get started on TikTok as a nonprofit

1. Start with the basics

If you don’t already have one, you can create a business account suitable for advertising via TikTok’s business account page. 

Make sure you choose a short, relevant username - the name of your nonprofit might work - and set an appealing profile picture. Write a short bio that clearly explains what your nonprofit is, what it does, and why its work is important.

If you already have a personal TikTok account, you can follow TikTok’s steps to switch your account over to a business account. 

Whether you’re creating an account from scratch or converting a personal one, make sure you’re setting yourself up correctly to avoid any potential issues later down the line!

At this point, it’s a good idea to explore TikTok to get your bearings. View some content to see what all the excitement is about, take a look at other content produced by charities and nonprofits, and start following other charities and accounts that operate in a similar field to yours.

2. Turn up (and keep turning up!)

Having a TikTok account isn’t enough; you’ve got to post quality content regularly if you want to gain a loyal following on any social media platform.

You don’t need to create hours of content every month to stay relevant on TikTok, just keep your content short and sweet to generate regular posts for your followers.

TikTok also holds a unique advantage in the form of repurposed content, as you can easily add some of your best-performing TikTok content to ad campaigns being run on other platforms (such as Facebook or Instagram).

Keep in mind that this works better when repurposing content from TikTok rather than to it, since more professional and polished content that strays away from a user-generated content format doesn’t perform as well on the platform.

Focus on quality as well as quantity, and make sure that every video you post is at least either engaging or informative - ideally you want both! TikTok users consume large amounts of content at a very fast pace, and if your content doesn’t grip them quickly, they won’t hesitate to move on.

Finally, don’t forget to engage with your followers just as much as you want them to engage with you. For each post you make, spend time reading and replying to comments. Users appreciate TikTok accounts that don’t seem like they’re run by robots, and they’ll feel more motivated to make comments if they might receive a personal response.

You can learn a lot from what your followers say on social media, so listen to what they’re telling you and let it inform the direction of your future social media campaigns.

3. Build your audience, widen your reach

Once you’ve got the hang of creating content for TikTok, it’s time to focus on building your audience to ensure that each post you make reaches its full potential.

TikTok allows users to run promoted ads that appear to a targeted audience for a small fee, and charities including Cancer Research UK, British Red Cross, and the WWF are already running promoted ads on TikTok.

There are a huge number of ads you can create for TikTok, including video and image ads. If you’re short on time, Spark ads can repurpose one of your regular TikTok videos and put it in front of a wider audience.

Like other social media platforms, TikTok offers a variety of different campaign objectives to help tailor your campaign to your goals. For example, the conversions objective enables you to capture donations as part of a cash appeal, and you can make use of the lead generation objective to gather leads for a ValEx campaign.

Check out TikTok’s creative centre for resources and inspiration when creating your ads. You should also check out your competition and see what other charities in your sector have been promoting on TikTok.

4. Engage younger audiences

We’ve already established that over two-thirds of TikTok users are 34 or under. If you want your cause to take off on TikTok, it’s important that you create content that resonates with younger donors.

Lean into the bells and whistles of TikTok videos - like sounds, stickers, and hashtags - and engage with TikTok trends when it’s appropriate. Share the most exciting side of your nonprofit with your followers with our tips:

  • Highlight the impact that your nonprofit has on the world
  • Share behind-the-scenes content at events and meetings
  • Use donation stickers to make donating easy and fun
  • Be yourself and forge an authentic connection with your viewers

Gen-Z and millennials are smart, savvy, and discerning online. If your TikTok content comes across as dull, condescending, or insincere, you can bet they’ll notice.

5. Learn as you go

Every step of the way, it’s important that you use TikTok analytics to understand the behaviour of your followers and track what type of content chimes with different users.

Analytics should inform your campaign at every stage - even when you think you’ve got your TikTok marketing strategy nailed down. Use your analytics to tweak and optimize your ads as you go, creating content that maximizes engagement, donations, or follows.

If you don’t use analytics, you might think that your TikTok campaign is going swimmingly because you’ve gained lots of followers, even though nobody is clicking on your content or sharing it. You won’t be able to identify which users you’re attracting - and which ones you’re alienating - if you don’t check your analytics.

Keep an eye on other nonprofits and charities and don’t be afraid to take inspiration from their content via the ads library. A simple search for the charity name or ‘charity’ or ‘donate’ will give you plenty to choose from.

And finally, don’t be afraid to fail: not all of your content will land the way you want it to and that’s okay! Trying - and failing - is the only way you’ll create exciting new content that gets people talking and sharing with their friends.

6. Get in on the hashtag game

Hashtags: there are conflicting views on what to use, how many to use, go broad or go narrow, but hashtags serve a valuable function on social media platforms like TikTok. They make it easy for people to find your content and they connect your content with the latest trends.

And it’s not just about chasing trends and viral challenges. You can use local hashtags to get your content seen by local viewers if you run a local charity (e.g. #MyTown or #MyTownAnimalRescue), or experiment with relevant tags that your target audience might search for. It’s actually #prettyeasy once you get to grips with it!

Get advice from the experts

At 8Cats Digital, we’ve been helping charities and nonprofits boost their brand online for years. Our transparent, collaborative processes are designed to empower nonprofits to take control of their own marketing strategies and reach new audiences quickly.

If you’d like to know more about how your nonprofit could use TikTok to reach a whole new audience, organize events, raise awareness of your cause and raise donations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

Related resources



Co-authored by:

Martin Watts - 8Cats Digital

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