An innovative platform that provides users with the tools they need to take fundraising to the next level, Gesture is a SaaS solution for nonprofits that stands to bring a lot to the table.
We reviewed this platform in comparison to some of the other tools that exist in this donor management software space. But, this one differs from the pack.
For one, its main functionality is helping organizations coordinate their silent auction events—and the tool is offered not on a subscription basis, rather, you’ll use it as needed for a flat fee.
So, as you might imagine, Gesture isn’t going to work on the same level as something like a Neon CRM or a GivingFuel. Rather, this platform is more of an add-on that nonprofits, businesses, schools, and other organizations can use as needed.
The platform is all about silent auctions–so there’s a real singular focus here. That said, the product has received some positive reviews for its ease of use, customization, and support team.
Based on our look through the software, we found that the Gesture team offers event support in addition to the actual tool. So, they’ll help you plan and implement your next big fundraiser–whether it’s a luncheon, gala, golf tournament, or silent auction.
What is Gesture?
Gesture is a nonprofit management software built for charities and organizations of every size. The platform is mobile responsive and focuses more on mobile fundraising versus web-based activity.
As a donor management tool, Gesture isn’t exactly the full package, but they do bring a lot to the table. You can manage donations, registrations, and collect bids. The platform also comes equipped with some reporting features that will help you understand your performance.
That said, Gesture is best suited for the organization that needs a tool for bidding and event planning. As a CRM, there’s a lot to be desired.
Still, it’s not exactly fair to judge Gesture based on donor management software criteria.
Easy Solution for Charity Auctions
Gesture is primarily designed to be a mobile bidding tool—allowing organizations the ability to capture donations on site in a way that’s convenient for donors and nonprofit staff alike.
On top of providing a platform that makes auctions a whole lot easier, Gesture’s team of fundraising pros can connect you to recommended auctioneers and help you implement the technology ahead of the big day.
Gesture’s Advanced ticketing and registration platform allows users a number of convenient features.
For example, you can register guests on site or have them register through the homepage. The idea is, you’ll have a seamless checkout experience with minimal snags come event day.
Additionally, Gesture allows you to create as many custom codes for different ticket levels, discounts, or special rates. So, you can set different price points for event sponsors, early bird registrants, and charge different prices for multi-session events—half-days, full access, and so on.
While the tool; allows you to collect registrations on-location, it’s smart to encourage attendees to register beforehand. Some users mentioned that the process isn’t super fast—and can create a bottleneck.
In other cases, users reported occasional connectivity issues—which can also slow down any registrations or transaction processing.
Gesture’s main selling point is the mobile bidding feature. Mobile bidding makes it easy for charities to raise more money during silent auctions than traditional paper bidding. The process is easier and more convenient, allowing guests to pay through their phones and pick up their winnings on the way out—no need to write a check or remember to bring cash.
Donors can bid from their device, no need to download an app—instead, they’ll be able to bid via SMS, receiving notifications and status updates directly to their phone.
Monitor Event Performance
Gesture comes with a real-time dashboard that records your register users, revenue totals, and bidding activity. You’ll quickly be able to learn which items are generating the most bids and can identify top bidders—and make a note of who to invite to the next event.
Follow Up After the Event
After the event, you’ll have access to post-auction reports, complete with contact information, and any pending payments. The site doesn’t mention how long this is available, but Gesture comes with a messaging feature. This way you can follow up directly, without adding any additional tools into the mix.
Dashboard for Mobile Reporting
Access event performance as bids start rolling in. The Gesture app allows users to view activity and track earnings, even while an event is still in progress.
Gesture also handles ticket sales, so you can incorporate the platform into events other than silent auctions. Here, you can handle registrations and remove the friction that happens during checkout.
When guests purchase a ticket through the Gesture portal, they’ll receive a welcome message, encouraging them to donate, bid, or buy a product.
Users can create and customize tickets, setting the price, name, and capping the number of attendees, if they’d like. Use this feature to sell event tickets—as well as sell tables, sponsorships, and packages. You can even go deeper by adding meal choices, seating options, and space for questions.
Check-in and Out
Gesture comes with the ability to check guests in and out through the mobile app, allowing people to check in quickly and start bidding. Preregistration allows attendees to pay for everything up front, and show proof of purchase when they arrive on the scene.
Guests don’t have to bid on anything to support the cause. Donations can be made via text message or directly from the auction site. If you’d like to motivate donors with a visualization of their efforts, you also have the option of displaying activity on a big screen.
Customize the display with a thermometer, donation amounts, and donor names—bringing a little social pressure to the table.
This feature can be added to events like black-tie galas, school fundraisers, silent auctions, and more. Gesture, according to their website, says that their goal is to make it easy for donors to help you reach your goal.
Pricing varies based on need. According to the website, Gesture charges a flat rate, charging 50% upfront and the remainder after the event.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many details regarding pricing. Interested organizations are encouraged to reach out for more specifics.
The other thing we found slightly confusing was the payment schedule. It sounds like you’ll pay per event, rather than on an ongoing basis.
This makes sense, especially if you’re running one or two auctions per year. However, it’s worth pointing out that adopting this platform means you’re only taking care of one component in your broader donor management strategy.
Chances are, you’ll need a donor management CRM, too, where you can record your performance from silent auctions, as well as your other fundraising efforts performed throughout the year.
Again, Gesture isn’t your average SaaS program. Users will be able to access their account through the web and can download a mobile app for on-site access to reports, bids, and donations.
Bids and donations, as mentioned above are captured by SMS. Meaning, donors don’t need to download a mobile app or go through a log-in process to participate. This is actually really great as Gesture has removed some of the friction donors might face during an event.
The platform also provides access to donor information after the event, so you can follow up. Though Gesture didn’t post any images, the communications take place in one of those secure messaging hubs.
You’ll later have access to reports you can download and record in your usual donor management program.
Who is this For?
Since we don’t know the pricing breakdown, it’s hard to get a sense of what organizations could likely afford the product. That said, anyone can use it and Gesture’s team will help you find a custom solution.
This product is best for organizations that host major events–galas, auctions, and so on. The silent auction feature is emphasized most on the site, so it’s safe to say that’s the most relevant use of the tool.
Still, if you’re hosting an event in which you’re managing registrations and on-site donations, Gesture could certainly come in handy.
The Gesture software is PCI compliant and they do not store credit card information on their server. Login information is also secured using strong password enforcement and salted password hashing.
Gesture provides contact information in the form of an email address, phone number, web form, and a chatbot that pops up on every page— a little annoying, but they’re here to help!
Anyway, the support situation looks pretty good. And that’s partially due to the fact that you need to work with the team in order to use the platform. Users must consult with the company to get started, as you’ll need to communicate your need, event details, and more.
They also offer some hands on-services that can help you carry out a successful event. And, of course, there’s the usual on-site content.
Here is a look through some of the support offerings you’ll find on the site.
The blog offers tips for fundraising, hosting a silent auction, mobile bidding, and more. Content appears to be relevant and engaging—and gives users some actionable information for hosting a fundraiser.
One of the benefits of working with Gesture is, they’ll assign you a dedicated account manager upon signup. This person is there to help you plan and organize campaigns and help put together your event. Your account manager is there to advise you on campaign strategies, connect you with event professionals, like seasoned auctioneers and can answer questions as needed.
The Gesture site does mention that you can use their solution for more than just events. You can use it to create text-to-give campaigns, run annual fundraisers, and more. Reach your donors where they’re most accessible and make it possible for them to support you from anywhere, anytime.
As we mentioned above, you can use the technology to sell tickets and check in attendees. What’s more, Gesture’s event stand can help you with this process.
It’s not clear whether the event staff attends the event or helps from a digital standpoint. Still, we’re impressed with the level of service provided here.
What’s the Verdict on Gesture?
Again, Gesture isn’t really a donor management software solution. Instead, it’s more of a donation and event management tool. Rather than being something you pay for every month and use in your daily operations, Gesture is a tool used as needed.
You’ll need to contact the team to learn more about timelines and pricing specifics, but the idea is, you’ll sign up ahead of a gala, auction, or another charity event. They’ll get you set up so you can incorporate the product into your registration process, at the event, and after when it’s time to follow up.
We liked what we saw, but it’s important to note that you may need to add all of the data gathered into your usual donor management software for long-term reporting.
As a donor management platform, this doesn’t quite fit the bill. Users seeking a long-term solution should look elsewhere. Many donor management tools come with event planning features, too. Although most aren’t as robust as what you’ll find here.
But, if you’re running a major event and need a solid piece of equipment and a strong support team–we recommend checking Gesture out.
We can’t tell you how much it costs–or what all comes in a standard package. That said, you can get started by filling out the form on their official website.