Classy vs. GiveSmart vs. Handbid: Comparing 3 Top Fundraising Software

Learn the differences between Classy and GiveSmart, and key ways that Handbid differs from their solutions.
Classy vs. GiveSmart vs. Handbid
Learn the differences between Classy and GiveSmart, and key ways that Handbid differs from their solutions.

If you’re considering investing in fundraising or auction software, it’s likely that you’ll come across Classy and GiveSmart as you search for options online. 

However, when reviewing the solutions and features offered by each service, you’ll notice that both fundraising platforms (as well as our platform, Handbid) offer very similar feature sets, including:

  • Silent auctions and mobile bidding
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising
  • Virtual events and online fundraising
  • Hybrid fundraising events
  • Event management (ticketing and registration, guest list management, etc.)
  • Donor management
  • Text to give

As a result, it’s difficult to tell from the surface how these solutions differ, and which would be best for your organization. 

In this article, we’re going to discuss 3 key factors that differentiate Handbid from Classy and GiveSmart, and explain why you might benefit more from using our platform. 

Specifically, we’ll cover:

  • Difference #1: All Handbid features are centralized in one integrated platform (with every feature available even for our lowest tier pricing plan).
  • Difference #2: Handbid offers a best-in-class mobile app for driving increased donor engagement. 
  • Difference #3: Handbid offers some of the most robust branding and customization tools on the market.

Let’s talk fundraising together! Schedule a call today to speak with our team and see how we can help you maximize your fundraising efforts.

Every Handbid user — regardless of which pricing tier they choose — gets access to our entire platform, including:

Furthermore, all of our features have been natively built into our platform to provide organizations with a robust set of fundraising tools that they can access seamlessly in one place. 

There’s no need to have separate platforms for peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and silent auctions. You get one set of login credentials and access to all of the tools you need (with a modern look and feel that users love). 

In contrast, while GiveSmart also offers all of their features at their lowest pricing tier, various parts of their platform have been pieced together with software built by different companies. 

Specifically, in 2019, GiveSmart — an Atlanta-based company — merged with New York-based 501 Auctions and Chicago-based Gesture to become a large conglomerate owned by Community Brands. They later added on MobileCause to shore-up their peer-to-peer and online giving features. And as a result of these mergers, it’s possible that the user experience they offer is not as seamless as what you get with a platform like Handbid, which has been entirely developed in a single platform.

Classy, on the other hand, separates out the event management and auctions side of their platform (called Classy Live) from the peer-to-peer side of their platform. In order to access both sets of features, you need to upgrade and pay for both parts of the platform. 

For these reasons, many nonprofit organizations can benefit from going with Handbid which offers all of its natively built features, in one easy to use platform — at every pricing tier.

Like most fundraising solutions, GiveSmart is a strictly web-based platform, meaning donors can only engage with their platform through the web, and do not have the option to download an app to participate in fundraising events.

By not offering a mobile app, GiveSmart’s web-only solution comes with a few key disadvantages:

  • Lack of push notifications: GiveSmart users have to rely on communicating with fundraiser participants via email and SMS. This is particularly a drawback during auctions because donors are pulled out of the auction environment to reference emails and text messages which can disrupt engagement, distract bidders, and reduce reliability in the timeliness of when bidders receive alerts. 
  • Less ease of use: Navigating web browsers on a phone is a less seamless user experience compared to navigating a mobile app, especially for older (less tech savvy) users who rely on the accessibility settings on their phone to improve usability. With an app, increased font sizes and contrast settings are available, where they generally are not on a mobile web interface.
  • Less engagement: Static web pages are less capable of using notifications and gamification to drive increased donor participation. 

So, in comparison to Handbid and Classy which do offer donor-facing mobile apps, this is a key drawback to consider. 

With that said, Classy’s mobile app is a relatively new solution, as evidenced by the app having only 3 reviews and 3.7 stars in the app store (as of August 2023). 

Handbid, on the other hand — rated 4.8 stars with 23K reviews in the app store — has had a native mobile app for over 12 years and provides an unparalleled means of donor engagement, including:

  • Real-time push notifications: The ability to send updates to fundraiser or auction participants in real-time, without the need to send messages such as outbid notifications via text message or email (which are less reliable, require a good cellular connection, and disrupt engagement by pulling participants out of the app). 
"You're winning!" Notification in the Handbid app
  • Easier navigation and accessibility features: A more seamless browsing and bidding experience compared to navigating fundraiser or auction sites through mobile web browsers. They also have the advantage of providing accessibility features for older users that rely on increased font sizes or contrast on their mobile devices.
Travel bid examples
  • Gamification to drive more bidding and revenue: Leveraging game mechanics to foster a greater level of interactivity and donor engagement — which, when applied to mobile bidding, can generate significant increases in auction revenue compared to static web pages. For example, the Handbid app uses countdown timers, live thermometers, leader boards, and more to gamify the bidding experience. These types of features simply cannot be replicated in the same way by auction platforms that do not offer donor-facing mobile apps.

Note: Some organizations do not want their donors to have to download an app to participate in their auction or fundraiser. That’s not a problem. Handbid’s peer-to-peer and auction pages are just as easy to use when accessing directly through the web. However, the key advantage with Handbid is that you can let your users decide how they want to interface with your event. In our experience, many users prefer to download and participate through our app.

Browse Items that you can bid on

Over the years, many organizations expressed to us that they wanted the ability to customize their auction website to match the look and feel of their brand. 

As a result, we’ve built an extensive set of tools for organizations to customize their fundraising event pages with colors, fonts, and images, providing them with the tools they need to maintain brand consistency and impress their donor base. 

Theme Editor: Manage your event's digital presence

Handbid users can customize everything from logos, to header and footer images, to gradients and button colors, to menu and event page labels. In addition, these design elements can be applied to the way auction pages render in the Handbid mobile app.

A preview example of how you can customize the Handbid app for your own fundraiser

For organizations that want a completely customized auction and mobile bidding solution, Handbid’s technology can also be white labeled to create a branded and custom auction experience under your own web domain, a unique option that’s a result of our 20+ years of experience building custom software solutions. 

Browse Items for Bid
A screenshot example of white labeling our technology under a client’s web domain, allowing them to offer and run online auctions directly through their website.

While we can’t speak directly to what Classy and GiveSmart offer in terms of branding and customization functionality, we have yet to see a fundraising platform offer customization features that are as robust as what we now offer at Handbid. 

Streamline Your Fundraising Efforts with Handbid

Beyond what we’ve discussed in this post, Handbid’s fundraising and event management software includes additional functionality for live auction events, ticketing and registration, paddle raises, hybrid events (with livestream), and virtual events

Crucially, all of our platform features are available even at our base pricing plan, without any gated features or additional monthly fees to access and use them. This includes: best in class auction software, event management features, customer support (including the ability to get real humans on the phone when you need them), and fundraising expertise. 

Both our product and customer support teams deeply understand the needs of organizations hosting fundraising events because we have extensive experience running fundraising campaigns and charity auctions ourselves.

To see Handbid in action and talk with our team about what our fundraising software solution can do for you, get in touch with us for a free demo and consultation.

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