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The Tokelor, a TikTok fundraising event featuring eight content creators, raised $165,000 for The Trevor Project, on June 29, 2021 in a flash one-hour event.

The first fundraising event of its kind, The Tokelor unlocked the power of the wildly popular short-form video content platform, its innovative creators, and the TikTok Creator Marketplace to spark collaborative partnerships among content creators who want to give back to their communities.

Eight creators with 500,000 to 7.5 million TikTok followers participated in the live, one-hour competition-style event to raise money for The Trevor Project, a U.S. nonprofit focused on suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth.

Content creators included blogger and media personality Perez Hilton (@perezhilton), pop star “eyeamki" (@eyeamki), lesbian couple Hailee and Kendra (@haileeandkendra) and comedian Scott Frenzel (@scott.frenzel). Additional participants included Tori Phantom (@toriphantom), Tate Hoskins (@tatehoskins), Kyra (@sheiskyra) and Sam Dezz (@samdezz).

Zo Asmail, founder and managing director of Minionz, a technology and creator consulting company based in Austin, Texas, organized and launched the fundraiser in two months to develop a surefire process for content creators to work together and raise thousands of dollars for causes that matter to them. Asmail and his team also worked with brands to sponsor the event, including MVMT, Lyft, Urban Stems, Snif and Olipop.

Now, Asmail is helping more content creators and brands tap the power of TikTok and other social media platforms to unlock the power of their audiences beyond the reach of a single platform.

Zo Asmail
Bringing Content Creators Together to Raise Thousands of Dollars on TikTok

TikTok launched in the U.S. in 2016 and gained popularity among a diverse range of users during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the platform increased its U.S. user base by 85.3% compared to the previous year, providing content creators and brands more opportunities to collaborate and raise money together.

“A creator's ability to motivate their audience to follow them on multiple social media platforms, in addition to TikTok, can boost their value and ability to make an impact," Asmail said. “Ultimately, a well-organized program, engaging participants and a clear, authentic mission are key to launching a successful fundraising campaign on TikTok."

The Tokelor's premise was simple: Seven content creators went through several rounds of virtual competitions to impress “The Tokelor" (think of “The Bachelor") and win the game. To make a donation, social media audiences visited The Tokelor's fundraising webpage where they could donate on behalf of their favorite creator.

In addition to raising money and awareness for The Trevor Project, the show aimed to inspire LGBTQ+ youth to be their authentic selves and seek help whenever they need it.

Most of the content creators identify as LGBTQ+ and discussed their coming out experiences, shared letters they would have written to their 12-year-old selves and gave anti-bullying advice. One creator also shared a personal experience of his and what motivated him to call The Trevor Project for help during the middle of a crisis.

Some of the people I love most in this world would not be here without The Trevor Project's life-saving resources. The content creators who participated in the event also recognized the power of The Trevor Project's mission and services, making the fundraiser feel even more special.
Zo Asmail

Leading up to the show, the creators broadcasted live events on their personal TikTok and Instagram profiles to start raising money and drum up excitement for the fundraiser. Q&A-style broadcasts created safe places for audiences to discuss LGBTQ-specific experiences, like how to come out to friends and family members.

“If you want to launch a successful event on TikTok, you have to think creatively," Asmail said. “The fundraiser itself can't be front and center, as blatant advertising doesn't resonate well with TikTok's younger audience base. Find a creative way to get people together and subtly weave in the messaging to achieve your fundraising goals and make an impact at the same time."

Identifying and Securing Content Creators

Asmail and his team turned to the TikTok Creator Marketplace to research and connect with a diverse group of influencers who believed in empowering marginalized communities and aligned with The Trevor Project's mission.

“At first, it was incredibly challenging to identify content creators for this initiative due to the large volume of creators in the marketplace," Asmail said. “Typically, when a brand approaches a creator, they dictate a price to the creator. I took a different approach, letting the creator set their own price for the partnership, and we required that a portion of their fee went to The Trevor Project. This helped us find creators who really cared about the mission, ultimately making the event more successful."

“We had a long roster of creators to choose from," Asmail continued. “The creators that really cared about the nonprofit's mission provided the most reasonable rates, and they went above and beyond the required posting schedule to make the fundraiser a success."

Asmail hopes that The Tokelor's success motivates other content creators and brands to use TikTok's platform for good.

About Zo Asmail and Minionz

Zo Asmail is the founder and managing director of Minionz, a technology and creator consulting company based in Austin, Texas. He leads business-driven data science, creative software architecture and sustainable direct-to-consumer initiatives to help entrepreneurs and brands support their audiences in a strategic, personalized manner. You can learn more about Asmail and Minionz at minionz.com.

About The Tokelor

The Tokelor is the first fundraiser of its kind and raised $165,000 for The Trevor Project. Organized by Zo Asmail and Minionz, the live, competition-style event brought eight content creators together on June 29, 2021, to inspire diverse audiences and raise money to save young LGBTQ+ lives. You can learn more about The Tokelor at tokelor.com.

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