OneCause vs. GiveSmart vs. Handbid: Comparing 3 Top Fundraising Platforms

Learn the differences between OneCause and GiveSmart, and key ways that Handbid differs from their solutions.
OneCause vs. GiveSmart vs. Handbid: Comparing 3 Top Fundraising Platforms
Learn the differences between OneCause 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 OneCause 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 nearly identical 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, onsite staffing options)
  • Donor management
  • “Text to give” or “text to donate” 

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

That’s what we’ll try to help make clear in this article.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the similarities and differences that you should know if you’re considering OneCause or GiveSmart. Then, we’ll introduce our auction and mobile bidding software, Handbid, as an alternative fundraising solution to consider and share 3 key ways in which our product differs from their services.

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. 

Comparing OneCause and GiveSmart: High-Level Factors to Consider

1. OneCause Emphasizes Having More Robust Social Fundraising Compared to GiveSmart

In reviewing what OneCause says about how they differ from GiveSmart, they emphasize that their peer-to-peer solution is more robust than GiveSmart’s. 

Specifically, they say that “Nonprofits benefit from features such as customizable participant pages, social integration, texting capabilities, matching gifts, and other features that drive participation and competition, making fundraising more social, mobile, and fun.”

So, if peer-to-peer fundraising is of primary importance to you, it’s possible that OneCause may be a better solution for you compared to GiveSmart.

Note: When comparing peer-to-peer solutions, it’s useful to keep in mind that some platforms’ peer-to-peer features are separated from their mobile bidding. This is not the case with our peer-to-peer functionality, which is integrated with our mobile bidding features and the other parts of our platform. If you decide to reach out to OneCause or GiveSmart, be sure to ask them to clarify if their peer-to-peer features are integrated in one place with their other solutions. If they’re not, that would be a key limitation to consider when deciding which solution would be best for you.

2. GiveSmart Emphasizes Having No Hidden Fees

In reviewing GiveSmart’s explanation of why organizations should choose them over OneCause, they mention that “OneCause charges fees or requires additional payment for text-to-donate, auctions, tickets, peer-to-peer fundraisers, and more.” Whereas, GiveSmart offers these features with their base subscription.

Understandably, nonprofit organizations can be price-sensitive when making decisions about which fundraising platform to invest in. However, it’s important to keep in mind that in many cases, even if a platform charges more up front, if the customer support and products they provide are more effective at helping you drive donation revenue, this can more than make up for the additional costs.

But don’t get us wrong — we value transparent pricing, which is why we also have zero hidden fees at Handbid. We’re not certain this is the case with GiveSmart, despite their highlighting this as a strength.

Regardless of which fundraising platform you choose, be sure to ask them about their fee structures so you have a complete picture of any potential unanticipated costs.

3. GiveSmart Is a Large Conglomerate of 3 Companies; OneCause Has Been Owned and Operated by a Single Company Since Their Founding

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, another private-equity backed corporation, to shore-up their peer-to-peer and online giving product offerings.

While we can only speculate, it’s likely that GiveSmart’s rapid growth, change, and merging of different technology platforms and customer bases could be a disadvantage for users when compared to OneCause, which (like Handbid) has been owned and operated by a single company since the beginning.  The only relevant difference is that Handbid’s founders remain active in operating the business.

4. OneCause and GiveSmart Are Strictly Web-Based Fundraising Solutions

Both OneCause and GiveSmart are designed specifically as web-based platforms that are only accessible through desktop or mobile web browsers. They do not offer mobile apps for organizations and their donors to use when participating in fundraisers. 

As we’ve written about previously in our post on running online charity auctions, this has significant implications on fundraiser participation (and ultimately donation revenue). 

Specifically, websites are generally more difficult to navigate from mobile devices. They’re also far less engaging when compared to mobile apps, which can be a detriment when your goal is to have maximum participation and engagement in your auction or fundraiser. 

This is why the platforms we use every day (from social media, to eCommerce, to banking) all offer mobile apps. They’re simply more user-friendly and engaging, and this could not be more important when it comes to mobile fundraising.

Having a mobile app is one of the key things that separates our platform, Handbid, from most other fundraising platforms. We’ll discuss this in more detail below. 

Now, with these similarities and differences in mind, in the next section we’ll share the ways in which our platform differs from OneCause and GiveSmart.

3 Key Things That Differentiate Handbid From OneCause and GiveSmart

Like OneCause and GiveSmart, the Handbid platform offers fundraising tools including mobile bidding, ticketing and registration, auction management (check-in, check-out, and credit card payments), peer to peer, text2give, hybrid events, real-time live stream functionality, and more. 

However, there are key aspects of our company and platform that differentiate us from OneCause and GiveSmart, including:

  1. We’re owned and operated by people who started out as fundraisers and technologists.
  2. We offer a mobile app that drives auction engagement in a way that web-only solutions can’t.
  3. We offer unparalleled branding, customization, and white label functionality.

Let’s look at each. 

1. Handbid Is Owned and Operated by People Who Started Out as Fundraisers and Technologists

Jeff and Kari Porter, founders of Handbid.
Jeff and Kari Porter, founders of Handbid.

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 auction events. Specifically:

  • Long lines at check in, check out, and auction tables
  • High likelihood of human data entry errors
  • Guests’ frustration with sluggish auction administration

To address these issues, they built their own mobile bidding application — 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’s software at every stage since our founding 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 same is not true of OneCause, which was founded by fundraiser attendees, and GiveSmart, which is now a giant conglomerate made up of different technologies that were designed by different people.

The experiences of our founders and staff set us apart both at the product-level, as well as the customer support level, discussed next.

2. We Offer a Mobile Bidding App That Drives Auction Engagement In a Way That Web-Only Solutions Can’t

My Dashboard: ABC Company 1st Annual Charity Auction example

By not offering a mobile app, OneCause and GiveSmart’s web-only solutions come with a few key disadvantages:

  • Lack of push notifications: By not having an app, OneCause and GiveSmart have to rely on communicating with auction participants via email and SMS. This means that bidders 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: As we mentioned above, 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 are not on a mobile web interface.
  • Less engagement: Static web pages are less capable of using notifications and gamification to drive increased auction participation. 

In contrast, the Handbid mobile app provides organizations with an unparalleled means of maximizing auction engagement. 

Specifically, it provides the ability to leverage push notifications (which users can receive instantly, regardless of cell signal) and gamification that keep donors coming back throughout the course of an auction, ultimately driving more engagement and revenue. 

For example, we understand that the purpose of an outbid notification is not just to tell the user they’ve been outbid — it’s to invoke an emotional response in the bidder that compels them to feel challenged and respond. The Handbid app does this through vibrating the phone, changing the screen color, and playing a sound, providing an experience that is both fun and motivating to keep “playing” and bidding.

Notification example that you have been outbid

We also offer features such as: 

  • A countdown timer to generate a sense of urgency in bidders.
  • A live thermometer to invoke the desire to be seen as generous.
  • Leaderboards that tap into bidders’ competitive nature.
  • Personalized alerts to end users that can be sent enmasse from auction managers.
  • Integrated live chat that managers can enable to allow guests to communicate with each other.

These are the types of features that simply cannot be replicated in the same way by platforms that do not offer mobile apps.

Note: Some organizations do not want their donors to have to download an app to participate in their auction. That’s not a problem. Handbid’s 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 auction. In our experience, many users prefer to download and participate through our app (which is why we have 4.8 stars and 23K reviews).

3. We Offer Unparalleled Branding, Customization, and White Label Functionality

Browse Auction Items example

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 a robust 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. 

Digital Seen Manager: 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 screenshot example of how design customizations translate into the app for a client’s sport team auction.

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. 

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.
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.

See if Handbid Is the Right Solution for Your Next Fundraising Event

OneCause and GiveSmart are two of the top fundraising platforms on the market. However, for reasons we’ve discussed throughout this post, many organizations can benefit from using Handbid instead.

Particularly if you’re running in-person events with auctions and want to work with a company that has deep expertise in this area, we encourage you to reach out to us. 

Simply schedule a call to chat with our team. We'll discuss your event strategy, any issues you may be having, and share how we can help.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Testing image caption text
  1. Numbered list
  2. Numbered list 2
  3. Numbered list 3

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.