Event Planning

Fundraising Event Software: An End-to-End Platform for Ticketing, Auctions, Peer-to-Peer, and More

Solve the challenges of fundraising and event management with Handbid’s fundraising event software.
Fundraising Event Software: An End-to-End Platform for Ticketing, Auctions, Peer-to-Peer, and More
Solve the challenges of fundraising and event management with Handbid’s fundraising event software.

If you’ve ever run an in-person fundraiser without fundraising event software, you’re likely aware of the challenges (to put it lightly) involved in that experience. 

For example, to name a few difficulties you may have dealt with (many of which our founders experienced themselves prior to creating Handbid):

  • Lackluster event promotion and ticket sales. Feeling lost on how to effectively promote your event. Not generating as many ticket sales as you’d hoped for or expected.
  • Incomplete guest lists. Not knowing the names or contact information of a significant portion of attendees prior to an event.
  • Long check-in lines. The need to capture nearly every guest’s information at the door  as the check-in line grows longer, guests get frustrated, and staff becomes stressed.
  • Manual spreadsheet data entry. The inefficient and error prone process of using spreadsheets for guest list management, event planning, tracking donor data, and other key event management functions. 
  • Relying on a disconnected mix of fundraising and event management tools. The need to use 8+ different apps (CRM, email, event registration software, Excel, payment software, etc.) that don’t integrate or work smoothly with one another.
  • Disorderly silent auctions. Dealing with all the headaches that come with using paper bid sheets for silent auctions — bidders walking away with or stealing bid sheets, intimidating other bidders, stealing pens and pencils, not following bid increments, crowding around tables, writing illegibly, continuing to try to bid after an auction has been closed — not to mention the frantic, labor-intensive check-out processes.
  • Uncollected winnings. Guests who would prefer to go home instead of waiting after the event while you tabulate winners, generate invoices, and process payments — leaving you with the unwanted situation of having to take home a lot of items, deliver them over the next several weeks, and chase down payments.

With the right online fundraising platform, companies and nonprofit organizations can solve all of these issues and more.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the core features of our fundraising and event management software, Handbid.

Specifically, we’ll discuss how Handbid helps to:

Schedule a call for a free, personalized demo of our auction software, and learn how we can support you in meeting your fundraising goals. 

Customize and Brand Event Pages to Share with Your Donor Network

Using Handbid for an in-person fundraising event, online event, or hybrid event begins with setting up an online registration page akin to the type of page you’d create with a platform like Eventbrite. 

Denver Ski Demo: Event Info page

Compared to other fundraising platforms, Handbid offers a uniquely robust set of customization tools for you to customize your event page

For example, users can customize everything from logos, to header and footer images, to gradients and button colors, to menu and event page labels (all of which can also be applied to how your fundraising page renders in our mobile app). 

Theme Editor: Manage your event's digital presence

Once your event details are entered, you end up with a web page where event attendees can learn about, register, and buy tickets or sponsorships for your virtual or in-person event. 

Garden Party 2023 Event Information example

Note: In addition to event pages, similar workflows are available for creating general online donation pages, peer-to-peer campaign pages (discussed below), and more.

Event Promotion Tools to Generate More Signups

Once your fundraiser details are set up and your event page is published, it is discoverable via the event URL and inside of the Handbid app. We also offer a number of features to help with event promotion and generating signups, such as: 

  • Text to engage: The ability for donors to send text messages to a 5-digit short code that provides them with a customizable response set by your team, such as a link to the event registration page, where guests can purchase a ticket or start participating in your fundraising activities (whether that’s a silent auction, peer-to-peer campaign, or other type of event). 
  • Event page QR codes: An event QR code is automatically generated for you — making it simple for guests to scan the code and visit your event page.
  • Text and email invite system: Pull a list of contacts from previous events run on Handbid or upload your own list. Our invitation system allows users to send out mass personalized invites using SMS or email.  
  • Social share buttons: Links for your organization and attendees to easily share the event on their social media channels.

To register, guests have the option to buy individual event tickets or a sponsorship in which they can buy a table at the event and bring a defined number of guests.

In both cases, guests are prompted to fill out a registration form including their name and contact information (as well as the names and contact information of their guests, if they’re a sponsor). 

Handle Guest List and Donor Management From One Place

Lasso Extravaganza: Guest List

With Handbid, there’s no need to export your guest list into a spreadsheet in order to manually track and manage your list. 

Once a user purchases tickets through Handbid, their guest data is automatically logged into our guest list management system where event organizers have access to a variety of different tools, providing the ability to: 

  • View their guest list (which is automatically updated in real-time as people buy tickets or update their guest list for the nonprofit event or fundraiser).
  • Filter their guest list by different criteria such as sponsors, guest status, answers to ticket questions (e.g. meal choice), etc.
  • Check-in guests with a built-in QR code reader (including scanning their tickets at the door and securely swiping credit cards).
  • Send messages to guests and sponsors.
  • Assign paddle and table numbers.
  • Track revenue from ticket sales.
  • And more.

In particular, our users find that our communication features are invaluable for building up more complete guest lists prior to an event. For example, it’s easy to message sponsors to remind them to fill out names and contact information for their guests, which significantly speeds up check-in on the day of an event. 

Compared to manually tracking and managing these actions in a spreadsheet, these features provide a far more convenient and efficient way for organizations to manage their guest lists.

Once the day of an event comes around, a lot of the leg work of check-in has already been done. For example, individual ticket holders that bought their tickets have already:

  • Given you their name and contact information.
  • Given you their credit card information.
  • Been added to your guest list.

So, instead of needing to capture all of this information manually as the line grows longer, you can simply greet these guests (hand them a cocktail, if you wish), tell them their table number, and hand or assign them a paddle (if there’s a live auction or paddle raise at your event).

For guests whose information you don’t yet have, or guests of sponsors who never gave you their information prior to the event, there’s a simple check-in workflow that event staff can follow on their laptop or iPhone/iPad app to quickly check these guests in.

As your event comes to a close, Handbid will streamline any check-out that may be necessary. For example, if you’ve run a silent auction, you can set a timer for guests to place their final bids. At that point, Handbid will calculate winners, update everyone’s mobile bidding dashboard accordingly, and send notifications to winning bidders letting them know they’ve officially won.  

Then, all donors are automatically sent to their digital invoice in the app where they can view and pay with their previously stored “card on file”. Invoices can also be sent via text or email and include a link where winners can pay. 

Item Description: Name and LIst of Included Items for Bid

Combined, these features significantly reduce stress of event staff while enhancing guest experiences and the quality of your event.

Now, with our core event management features covered, let’s look at how Handbid helps you centralize your fundraising efforts and raise more money for your cause.

One of the greatest advantages of using a holistic fundraising software such as Handbid is that it allows you to run many different types of fundraisers from a single platform. So, if you run a variety of fundraisers throughout the course of a year (e.g. annual gala with an auction component, 5K run with peer-to-peer, golf tournament with sales and games, month of giving, etc.), you can run all of these events through Handbid.

In this section, we’ll take a look at a few of our core features for facilitating fundraising.

Mobile Bidding for Silent Auctions

"My Dashboard" example in Handbid

Handbid offers a best-in-class mobile bidding solution that helps organizations modernize and drive more revenue from their silent auctions.

Bidders can access auction pages directly through the web via a URL, or via the Handbid mobile app (rated 4.8 stars with 23K reviews in the app store). And unlike most online auction software, which forces auction participants to log in any time they want to explore auction items or place a bid, Handbid automatically logs in bidders and keeps them logged in no matter what device they’re on. 

To enhance the bidding experience, auction participants can create favorites lists, set max bids, and easily see which auction items they’ve bid on.

Furthermore, our mobile app provides organizations with an unparalleled means of maximizing auction engagement. Specifically, it provides key advantages over web-based solutions, such as:

  • Real-time push notifications: The ability to send bidding updates to 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 auction engagement by pulling participants out of the auction app).
Winning Notification in Handbid app
  • Greater ease of use: Mobile apps provide a more seamless browsing and bidding experience compared to navigating online bidding 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 auction items to bid on
  • Gamification to drive more bidding and revenue: Mobile apps can leverage game mechanics to foster a greater level of interactivity and engagement with users — 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. And these are the types of features that simply cannot be replicated in the same way by auction platforms that do not offer mobile apps.

If auctions are a part of your fundraising activities throughout the year, leveraging Handbid can be absolutely transformative for both you and your donors. 

For a more in-depth walkthrough of our mobile bidding features, check out our post on mobile bidding for silent auctions.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Diana's Demo Fun Run: Top Individuals and Top Teams

With Handbid, organizations can easily manage and run peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns alongside auctions and events. This part of our platform is flexible and used for many different types of fundraising events, from 5K runs, to peer-to-peer giving days, and other forms of crowdfunding. 

From your fundraising home page, participants can sign up to become an individual fundraiser or a fundraising team, and create a customized profile page with their name, image, fundraising goal, story about why they're fundraising, and more.

Once their fundraising page is published, they can share the URL with friends and family and begin raising money.

Like all of our fundraising tools, our peer-to-peer platform leverages features such as progress bars and leaderboards to promote friendly competition and drive maximum donation revenue. And organizations can track all of their peer-to-peer campaign activity from their dashboards in the back end of Handbid.

Furthermore, all users can access their peer to peer pages directly through our mobile app, as shown here:

Leaderboard: Top Individuals and Teams


With most fundraising software solutions, Text2Give is used exclusively to collect donations via text. But with Handbid, organizations can send donors or event guests to any URL they want to specify, including donation pages and other types of calls to action.

Broadcast a message to select recipients

So, rather than being confined to donation requests, you can use it to engage donors in other ways too, such as sending out links for event registration, selling merchandise, or boosting auction participation, all of which help you to raise more money.

In addition, Handbid uses a simple 5 digit shortcode that’s easier for donors to remember than the typical 7 or 10 digit phone numbers — a feature our clients love.

More on Why Organizations Choose Handbid

Our Organization Is Run by Fundraisers, for Fundraisers

Prior to starting Handbid, our founders Jeff and Kari Porter ran an annual fundraising event and golf tournament for their nonprofit organization, and came to deeply understand the challenges involved in running in-person fundraising and auction events. 

To solve those challenges, they drew from Jeff’s decades of experience as a media and technology executive and Kari’s experience as a software engineer to build Handbid. 

Those first-hand fundraising experiences have informed the development of Handbid’s software at every stage, resulting in a platform that has been designed by fundraisers, for fundraisers — a fact that is also evident in Handbid’s customer success and coaching services. Moreover, they still manage and operate in-person fundraisers for their charity today.

One-on-One Coaching Services

In addition to our extensive knowledge base that provides in-depth tutorials on how to use each of our platform features, we offer pricing plans that include one-on-one coaching to help our clients get the absolute most out of using Handbid.

Our expert coaches help our clients navigate the common challenges of event management including:

  • How to set up different types of events in Handbid and utilize it for a variety of fundraising initiatives.
  • How to promote your events and sell more tickets.
  • How to make the check-in process as seamless as possible.
  • How to reduce lines and stress during live events.

While our platform is highly intuitive, many of our clients find that they end up driving more net revenue when investing in our “Done With You” plans, which include this coaching.

Live Event Telephone Support with a Direct Line to Real Humans!

Unlike many of our competitors, which direct calls to automated queues, Handbid offers a tech support hotline — included in all of our plans — connecting you directly to our team during your live events. Our customers find this to be invaluable for navigating issues they sometimes encounter in the midst of an event. 

With other platforms, it can take longer to get someone on the phone, which adds stress and makes for a lackluster customer experience.

Try Handbid at Your Next Event

Beyond what we’ve discussed in this post, Handbid’s user-friendly auction platform includes additional tools for live auction events, paddle raises, hybrid events with livestreaming, virtual events, and more. 

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

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

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