By: Glaelis Sierra – Account Director at Williams Whittle

During the past year, most of the world has been living in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Spending more time at home has made us change our media consumption habits and look into new ways to stay entertained.  One social media platform that kept most of us distracted in 2020 was TikTok – a platform that allows users to generate 15 to 60-second videos and host live streams.

In Q1 2020, it generated the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter, reaching more than 315 million downloads, according to a report from Sensor Tower.  The app continues to gain popularity and it is expected to reach 1.2 billion monthly users before the end of 2021, although the app has already seen over 2 billion downloads – that’s more than the population of China!

Here are 8 facts from Oberlo you need to know about TikTok:

  1. TikTok has 689 million monthly active users worldwide
  2. The app has been downloaded over 2 billion times in the App Store and Google Play
  3. 62% of TikTok users in the U.S. are between 10 and 29 years old
  4. Users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app
  5. It is available in 155 countries, and in 75 languages
  6. 90% of all TikTok users access the app on a daily basis
  7. In less than 18 months, the number of U.S. adults TikTok users grew 5.5 times
  8. There was an average of more than 1 million videos viewed every day in a year

Now that you have the facts, should your nonprofit be on TikTok?

The short answer is – yes!  But this will depend on your goals and the audience you’re trying to reach – keep in mind that the majority of users on this platform are Gen Z.

Approximately, 50% of the global audience is under the age of 34, according to a report from The Marketing Helpline.  Usage drops off in older age brackets, with as little as 7% of users over the age of 50.  Globally, there are slightly more male (56%) TikTok users than female (44%), but this varies by country.  In the U.S., 59% of users are female, while in the U.K. it’s 65%.

While the app gained popularity among GenZers lip-synching to popular songs and showcasing dancing routine challenges, videos on TikTok have expanded to include tutorials and educational videos.  There are nonprofits already using TikTok to spread information, advertise, and fundraising.

TikTok’s interface is mostly useful for creating videos that tell stories in just 15 to 60 seconds. Also, the platform’s intuitive editing tools allow users to create professional-quality clips straight from their smartphones.

Because of the way their algorithm works, the number of followers you have is not too important – as users engage with your content, it continues to get pushed out to more users.  The TikTok algorithm serves users the content they like to watch, no matter who posts it.

For nonprofit organizations, adding this new social media platform to your lineup can help to increase awareness about your mission, programs, and fundraising campaigns.

How can your nonprofit organization use TikTok?

There are different ways in which your organization can reap the benefits of this social channel depending on your goals.  Here are a few ideas to help you get started…

Hashtag Challenges

The general idea of hashtag challenges is that users create videos that benefit your organization’s reputation and awareness.  They are a great way to challenge users to do a certain activity and get your cause to go viral while encouraging user participation.  This tactic is all about user-generated content.

According to Better Marketing, over 50% of creators have participated in at least one hashtag challenge, and 35% report participating regularly.

Furthermore, the platform has collaborated with several nonprofits to create hashtag challenges through the TikTok for Good initiative.  But your organization can create these challenges independently as well.

Red Nose Day launched a Joke-Ha-Thon challenge in 2020.  For each video posted between May 19 through May 21 that used #RedNoseDay in-app effect, TikTok donated $2, up to a maximum of $100K total, to help fight child poverty.  There were 22K videos created and 20M video views for this challenge.


Channeling my inner Patch Adams For the Kiddos! 👶 #rednoseday #tiktokpartner #learnontiktok

♬ I JUST FELL – Ian Bennett


Red called. She wants to let you know when you use the #RedNoseDay filter, TikTok will donate $2, up to $100K!

♬ Hot Night (Looking For Love) (Vocalese) – David Derose

Another successful cause marketing example is Oreo’s #CookieWithACause campaign.  Oreo pledged to make a donation to the Save the Children organization for the first one million videos uploaded using the hashtag.  The challenge consisted of uploading a video with a cookie in your forehead and slowly move it to your mouth without using your hands.


Gotta #StayHome but still want to stay playful? 🤩 Do the #CookieWithACause challenge with me and OREO! Bet you can’t one up my take. 💪🏽 LOL ❤️ #Ad

♬ “Stay Home, Stay Playful” – Oreo Official

You can share your hashtag challenge on other social media platforms to drive traffic to your TikTok page and continue to grow your audience.

Informational Videos

You can create short informational videos to educate users about your cause.  By sharing what your nonprofit organization does, introducing team members, and showcasing what goes on behind the scenes, your organization can connect with both new and existing audiences.

Showing your audience behind the scenes like this is a strong show of transparency and helps to build trust between your organization and your supporters.  Most importantly, if you use informational videos to showcase the impact of someone’s donation or support, you’re likely to build stronger relationships with supporters as well.

The Caenhill Countryside Centre is a U.K. charity that teaches young children about farming and caring for animals.  They used this approach to share videos of the pets in their rescue program.  These videos helped to grow their audience to over 165K followers and some of the animals are kind of celebrities.


Our @thedottyclub mascots Goslings Apple, Banana & Keith the lamb #thedottyclub #goslings #lamb #cuteanimals @StillKara1

♬ original sound – Caenhillcc

The best part is that you can share these videos across other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, giving your content more views to people following your nonprofit on these other channels.

Donation Stickers

In April 2020, TikTok announced the donation stickers feature that can be added to videos and live streams.  When a viewer clicks on a sticker, they can make an in-app donation to the cause of that video creator’s choice.

Nonprofits like No Kid Hungry, Meals on Wheels, United Way and American Red Cross are among the list of organizations using this strategy for fundraising.

While this feature is not available to all nonprofits yet, it’s another reason to establish a presence now and eventually add another revenue stream for your organization.

TikTok can be a very effective marketing tool for nonprofits that are looking to create engaging content with the potential to reach supporters in a different way.  It’s easy to use and as you can see it has been growing very quickly.

Are you on TikTok already? Drop us a line to help you design a social media strategy to effectively reach your target audience.