When researching fundraising software, nonprofit organizations and charities may look to understand the differences between Givebutter and Donorbox.
These two platforms, as well as our fundraising software, Handbid, offer a variety of tools for online fundraising including:
- Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns
- Fundraising events and ticketing
- Silent auctions (in the case of Givebutter and Handbid)
- Payment processing for online donations
- Donor management
- Integrations with other platforms (such as Salesforce CRM)
However, there are certain key contexts in which Handbid is likely to be a better solution for your nonprofit:
- If you run live or silent auctions as a part of your fundraising activities.
- If you plan to use your fundraising software to run in-person fundraising events.
- If you want robust branding and customization options for your online fundraising pages (auctions, peer to peer pages, etc.).
In this article, we’re going to explain how Handbid can better support you in each of these areas in contrast to what Givebutter and Donorbox offer.
Then, before we wrap up, we’ll discuss how each of our platforms match up on pricing, and what you should consider before choosing one of the “free” pricing plans offered by these platforms.
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.
1. Running Live and Silent Auctions as Part of Your Nonprofit Fundraising Efforts
If your organization incorporates auctions into its annual fundraising activities, it’s important to consider that a) the fundraising platform you choose has auction functionality, and b) the auction features available are designed to provide a great user experience while driving maximum auction revenue.
Now, let’s look at how each of our platforms match up when it comes to auctions.
What Donorbox Offers
Donorbox does not currently offer auction functionality. So, if you’re an organization that runs auctions or wants the option to run auctions, you’d need to find and use a separate auction platform which has a number of disadvantages, including:
- Additional costs from the need to pay for two separate platforms
- Siloed donor and revenue data that can’t be easily rolled up and accessed via one platform
- Inconvenience of adding yet another fundraising platform to your organizational workflows
For these reasons, if you want the option to run auctions, choosing a platform that offers auction functionality — in addition to the other types of fundraising features you need — would be a better choice.
What Givebutter Offers
Givebutter offers mobile bidding and auction functionality. However, in reviewing what users have to say about their auction features on G2, they’ve reported a number of issues with the user experience and how their auction platform actually works, including:
- Bidders having issues navigating to the auction after making changes in their profile.
- Very limited or non-existent features as it pertains to auctions, ticketing, registration, paddle raises, live auctions, live dashboards, and just about everything else that goes into a typical fundraising event.
- Simple or difficult to use management tools for importing or adding items, and operating the auction (e.g. bulk editing, etc.).
- Checkout can be confusing for donors.
- The prompting of bidders and donors to add a “tip” (fee) that goes directly to GiveButter and not the charity.
In addition, users have reported the software doesn’t offer certain features they wanted such as a dedicated space to list sponsors.
How Handbid Is Different
At a high level, there are four key things that separate Handbid’s silent auction and mobile bidding software:
- Handbid’s origins (over a decade ago) were as a silent auction and mobile bidding software. In contrast to Givebutter (founded in 2016) and Donorbox (originally a website plug-in for PayPal and Stripe, founded in 2014), we have been honing our auction features and functionality for over 12 years. Our roots and expertise are embedded in providing technology and support to help organizations streamline and drive more revenue from their auction and fundraising events.
- We offer a donor-facing mobile app that drives auction engagement in a way that web-only solutions can’t. Most fundraising platforms (including Givebutter) do not offer mobile apps for donors to use when participating in auctions and other fundraising initiatives. They restrict donors to participating through web browsers, which has key limitations that we’ll discuss below.
- We have a complete set of features to power in-person, hybrid, or virtual events. Our features include options for: sending mass invitations (email or text), ticketing & registration, guest list management, automated check in, paddle raises, live auction management, and automated checkout. Handbid also has a number of commercial clients and thus has built out a platform that contains features not often found in non-profit auction software such as item and category timers, extended bidding, hybrid (virtual vs. in-room bidding), live streaming, and extensive branding and customization capabilities.
- Service and onsite staff with extensive event expertise. All of Handbid’s customer service team and OnSite staff are experienced fundraising event professionals. When you call or email in for support, rest assured you will speak with someone who has been in your shoes and understands your problem. The same goes for our OnSite team. Our event leads not only know the software but they are skilled at organizing events to optimize the guest experience and maximize revenue.
Now, with these differences in mind, let’s look at a few of the unique features of our auction software.
With our best-in-class mobile bidding solution, 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 — available on iPhone as well as Android devices).
Unlike most online auction software, which force 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, share items with their friends, 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).
- 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 integrating the accessibility settings that users have setup on their devices. So for older users that rely on increased font sizes or contrast on their mobile devices, they are in luck!
- Gamification to drive more bidding and revenue: Mobile apps can leverage 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. And these are the types of features that simply cannot be replicated in the same way by auction platforms that do not offer donor-facing 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.
2. Using Your Software to Run In-Person Fundraising Events
Running in-person fundraising events is typically a key aspect of annual fundraising efforts, and it’s also one of the most challenging. If you run in-person events, it’s essential to consider how well a fundraising platform (and the people that run it) can support you in this area.
There are a few key factors you should consider:
- In-person event expertise: Do they have a background and track record in helping organizations run successful in-person events?
- Tech support: What forms of tech support do they offer, and how reliable is it?
- Coaching: Do they offer coaching for organizations that want personalized guidance on how to get the most out of their software and raise more money?
- Event staffing: Do they offer staffing to help run their software at in-person events?
Below, we’ll look at how Donorbox, Givebutter, and Handbid measure up on these factors.
What Donorbox Offers
In-Person Event Expertise
As we stated above, Donorbox was originally founded as a WordPress plug-in for PayPal and Stripe payment platforms. So, while they’ve expanded their platform to include some fundraising event features such as event ticketing, it is unclear whether or not their staff has expertise in supporting organizations to run successful in-person fundraising events.
Donorbox offers “priority tech support” for their highest tier Custom plans. However, their Standard and Pro plans do not offer priority tech support. And Givebutter has stated that these plans are limited to email support.
In our experience, not having the ability to get your software provider on the phone if you need them to troubleshoot during a live, in-person event is a huge liability and something you should not take lightly when choosing fundraising software.
Donorbox offers a fundraising coach option as a part of their highest tier plan — Donorbox Premium — which involves email access to coaches, a one-on-one strategy session, group check-ins, and live workshops. They do not list the pricing on this service.
From what we can tell, Donorbox does not offer in-person event staffing, even for their highest tier plans.
What Givebutter Offers
In-Person Event Expertise
According to Givebutter’s founding story, their background prior to developing their fundraising platform consisted of being students and looking for opportunities to do good in the world. They stumbled into the business of creating apps and fundraising tools to support charities and nonprofits, such as tools to embed donation forms and accept recurring donations, which led to the creation of Givebutter.
However, their backgrounds were not necessarily based in having deep involvement in nonprofits and running in-person fundraising events.
Givebutter offers live chat and email support for all users. However, like Donorbox, if you want to get a human on the phone (often crucial when troubleshooting during an in-person event), that’s not an option.
Coaching and Event Staffing
Rather than offering in-house fundraising and event coaches, or providing event staffing options as a part of their plans, Givebutter offers a directory of what they call “Givebutter Experts” — third party consultants and services that can provide guidance and support to organizations that need it.
So, if you want coaching or staffing support, you’ll need to do the work to connect with their network of potential service providers, as well as vet and coordinate with them to find the support you need.
How Handbid Is Different
Handbid Is Owned and Operated by People Who Started Out as Fundraisers
Prior to starting Handbid, our founders Jeff and Kari Porter ran an annual fundraising event and golf tournament for their non-profit organization, the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Colorado (PWSACO) and the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research.
During that time, they came to deeply understand the challenges of running in-person fundraisers and auction events. Specifically:
- Long lines at check in, check out, and auction tables
- High likelihood of human data entry errors
- Guests’ frustration with sluggish event administration and a long checkout process
To address these issues, they built their own mobile bidding and auction event software — Handbid — drawing from Jeff’s decades of experience as a media and technology executive and Kari’s experience as a software engineer.
Those first-hand experiences have informed the development of Handbid at every stage since being founded in 2011, resulting in a platform that has been designed by fundraisers, for fundraisers, and that’s grounded in the problems that organizations need to solve.
The experiences of our founders and staff set us apart both at the product-level, as well as the customer support level.
Live Event Telephone Support with a Direct Line to Real Humans!
Unlike many of our competitors, which direct calls to automated voicemail queues or strictly offer chat and email support, 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.
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
- And more
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.
Like the other major platforms in our space, we have onsite event staffing options available for organizations that want or need them.
For a more in-depth walkthrough of our event management features, including ticketing and registration, guest list management, check-in and check-out, and more, check out our post on fundraising event software.
3. Branding and Customizing Your Fundraising and Auction Pages
Many organizations want the ability to customize their donation pages, peer-to-peer pages, and auction pages in order to maintain brand consistency across their online presence. However, customization features vary from platform to platform.
Here’s a look at how each of our platforms match up on customization.
What Donorbox Offers
For basic Donorbox plans, they appear to offer the ability to add a background image to your donation page, as well as upload your logo and choose a primary color for your page. Their highest tier plan offers some form of white label functionality.
Overall, their Standard and Pro plan customization functions seem to be quite limited.
What Givebutter Offers
Givebutter’s customization features also appear to be relatively basic, offering the ability to upload your logo, upload a header image, and choose a button color.
How Handbid Is Different
Due to high demand from our customers, all Handbid users have access to a robust set of tools 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.
Handbid users can customize everything from logos, to header and footer images, to social media icons and donate 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.
For organizations that want a completely customizable 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.
If branding and customization functionality is important to you, you’ll be hard pressed to find a fundraising platform that offers more than what we offer at Handbid.
Now, before we wrap up, let’s briefly discuss how our platforms match up on pricing.
Factors to Consider About “Free” Pricing Plans on Givebutter and Donorbox
When reviewing Givebutter pricing, you’ll notice that Givebutter is “free thanks to donor tips,” plus the fee charged by their payment processors which is 2.9% + 30¢ except ACH, which offers a reduced rate of 1.9% + 30¢ per transaction.
While this can be an attractive model to nonprofits looking to keep costs down, some organizations have reported receiving complaints from donors about the request for tips. It isn’t the best look to ask donors to pay extra fees for your platform in addition to the donation they’re already making to your cause. Especially when GiveButter asks for as much as 15%. And it’s worth considering the potential costs of turning off your donors with these requests and the fact that you won’t have any idea how much GiveButter collects on these Tips.
Givebutter offers an alternative payment option to disable platform tips and opt for platform fees instead. Specifically:
- 1% for Donation Forms
- 3% for Fundraising Pages
- 5% for Events & Auctions
It’s important to understand that at scale, platform fees can add up. And this pricing model can make it difficult to forecast how much you’ll actually be spending on the platform.
Donorbox, on the other hand, does not use the tips model. They charge a donation platform fee of 1.5–2.95% per transaction, depending on the campaign type and features used (which, again, can add up at scale and be hard to forecast), plus a similar payment processing fee.
While they offer tiered plans starting at $0/month, even with their Pro plan ($139/mo or $1,668/year) you get limited access to features and support. Certain key features such as text to give cost additional monthly fees, and you don’t get crucial platform features such as priority tech support.
In contrast to Givebutter and Donorbox, Handbid offers transparent pricing plans that are easy to understand, starting at $1,396 per year, with a low credit card processing fee of 3.5% + 30¢ per transaction.
We don’t charge ticket transaction fees or performance fees. And you don’t need to worry about unpredictable per-transaction platform fees that keep adding up as donor participation scales.
Crucially, all of our platform features are available even at our base plan, without any gated features or additional monthly fees to access and use them. This includes all of the features we discussed above in this post: best in class auction software, event management features, tech support that includes the ability to get real humans on the phone when you need them, deep event and fundraising expertise, etc.
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.
Plus, we have integrations with popular platforms such as Salesforce and Bloomerang, offering a holistic fundraising solution for private schools, sports teams, nonprofits, and other organizations looking to hit their fundraising goals.
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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