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TikTok Vs. Instagram: Which Platform is Right for Your Nonprofit?

Exploring TikTok and Instagram for the nonprofit sector

Having a social media presence can support your nonprofit’s visibility, boost fundraising efforts, and enhance connections. Around 72% of Americans use social media, and with 2.8 billion monthly users, Facebook is the most popular channel. However, other platforms, like Instagram and TikTok are becoming increasingly popular — especially among younger users. What exactly does nonprofit TikTok and Instagram use look like? We’ll take a look at both social media platforms, providing insight and tips to help you choose the platform(s) that can best support the needs of your nonprofit.


Quick Stats: Instagram Vs. TikTok



User Demographics: At least one billion active users, more than half are 34 years and younger.

Daily Usage: On average, users spend 29 minutes a day on the platform.

Purpose: Photo and video sharing (expect more of the latter in the future)

Connections to Other Platforms: Feed posts and stories can automatically be shared to Facebook (who owns the platform).

Pros: Most users follow at least one brand (90%), use the platform to research products and services (81%), and will act on an ad at least once in their life (75%). No massive marketing budget required! In fact, mobile-shot photos perform better than those shot in a studio.

Cons: Consistent posting is recommended to stay relevant. Brands post an average of 27.9x per month.



User Demographics: More than one billion active users, with roughly half under 30 years old. Teens account for 25% of active user accounts.

Daily Usage: On average, 52 minutes a day are spent on the platform.

Purpose: Short-form (15-180 seconds) video sharing

Connections to Other Platforms: Instagram and YouTube accounts can be added to a profile, but they are not directly connected, and content cannot be shared across platforms.

Pros: TikTok is becoming more popular, with more older users (30+) signing up. With its unique algorithm, any content or video can go viral, regardless of the number of followers.

Cons: TikTok is banned in India and Pakistan, and there have been attempted bans in the United States, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. There have been some security concerns associated with the platform. Ads are more expensive than those on Instagram/Facebook.


A Deeper Look at Instagram

Instagram is a top pick for many nonprofits and their demographics. The traditionally photo-centric platform also makes use of Stories, IGTV, and Reels (15-seconds multi-clip videos), providing multiple ways to tell a nonprofit’s story. Hashtags, tags (other organizations), and linked locations enable further reach and can help establish your nonprofit’s credibility.

One of the standout features of Instagram for nonprofits is the option for hosting live events. Eligible nonprofits can use events to get donations in real-time, or feature a donate button on their profile or in their story. With roughly a third of users (31%) earning more than $75,000 a year, that donation button can go a long way.


TikTok isn’t Just for Teens

A TikTok search might have you thinking that the platform is just for dancing teens — but in reality, there are a few reasons why nonprofits are signing up, too. The platform is an excellent tool for garnering an emotional connection, raising funds, spreading information, and building an audience. The videos are supported by the platform’s intuitive editing tools, which means that you can create professional-quality clips with no extra equipment or video editing training required.

Like Instagram, TikTok has made fundraising easy for nonprofits. They also utilize donation stickers and have partnered with Tiltify to process donation transactions securely in the app. With annual trends like #GivingSzn (“Giving Season”), it’s easy for organizations to make use of the platform, providing a fun way to fundraise.

Engagement is one of TikTok’s main goals, and both paid and organic content achieve high engagement rates. Micro-influencers (those with less than 15k followers) can expect an engagement rate of around 17.96%. An account with the same number of followers on Instagram might hover around a 3.86% engagement rate.

Ultimately, in less time and with less effort, nearly anyone can create an educational or how-to video on TikTok. Building an audience might be as simple as having a nonprofit’s founder doing the #voguechallenge — or whatever’s currently trending on the TikTok Make Your Day page.


Quick Tips for Executing an Effective Nonprofit Social Media Strategy

1. Know your analytics. Social media analytics might be just as important as donor analytics and target analytics. Offered by both platforms, analytics can help you make your social media efforts more effective.

2. Take advantage of available tools. Lack of resources and hiring freezes are current pain points in the sector. Fortunately, there are many free and easy-to-use tools to make up for minimal resources. Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and Later can help you schedule content, while keeping track of your content calendar. Canva will turn you into a graphic designer in no time, and BuzzSumo can help you identify influencers and see what type of content works best.

3. Avoid common mistakes. Know the common nonprofit social media mistakes so that you can avoid them.

4. Be real. When it comes to Instagram and TikTok, don’t be afraid to share your vulnerabilities. TikTok especially has flourished as a safe space to be authentic, open, and “unfiltered” — providing an excellent medium to share the real side and stories of your nonprofit.


Whether you’re wondering how to use Instagram for fundraising, TikTok for your nonprofit’s growth, or anything in between, there are several ways to make these platforms work for you — even with limited resources. Happy posting!