Omaze is a fundraising platform that gives its users a chance to win prizes in exchange for making donations.
The company, which is headquartered in Culver City, California, was founded in 2008 by Matt Pohlson and Ryan Cummins.
Participants in Omaze’s sweepstakes can win a variety of extraordinary prizes including luxury cars, cash, villas, or the ability to meet celebrities. Every $10 a person invests gives them one entry.
Omaze, in the past, has connected participants with celebrities such as George and Amal Clooney, Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Craig, Idris Elba, and many others. However, in recent times, Omaze has pivoted more towards physical prizes such as cars or houses.
The majority of that money goes to charities such as UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and many others. In fact, Omaze has worked together with over 350 different charities thus far.
Omaze itself is a for-profit organization. That means Omaze makes money from those sweepstakes by taking a cut that is normally in the range of 12 percent to 20 percent.
It justifies that fee by promoting “impact over percentages” and argues that a smaller percentage of a larger donation is more impactful than a bigger percentage of a smaller amount (which traditional fundraises that operate offline normally are able to collect).
Even a near-death experience that co-founder and CEO Matt Pohlson suffered from didn’t derail the firm’s growth. Omaze has raised over $150 million for dozens of charities thus far. Its stated goal is to eventually cross $1 billion in donations in a single year.
Investors certainly like the firm’s for-profit approach as well. They have poured $127 million into the firm, which employs close to 200 people, thus far. In August 2020, it also launched a separate site for users in the United Kingdom.
However, Omaze has also been embroiled in some legal troubles as well. In April 2021, the platform was confronted with a class-action lawsuit that accused Omaze of running an illegal lottery. Luckily, a federal court dismissed that lawsuit in favor of Omaze back in February 2022.
Additionally, some of its winners weren’t always happy with their prizes. A £2.5million house that was awarded to a family in the U.K. was put back on the market amidst claims that it was regularly flooding and thus unliveable.
The methodology with which competitors of Omaze are ranked is based on publicly available information. Data points such as the number of donations made, money raised, and the number of partners will all be taken into account.
This analysis excludes indirect competitors of Omaze. For example, sites such as GoFundMe will not be taken into account because it simply serves as a donation platform.
It has to be noted that this analysis should not be seen as an endorsement of either service. It is merely an overview of the competition that Omaze faces as of today.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 5 competitors of Omaze.
Headquarters: New York City, New York Founder(s): Brad Reisner, Coppy Holzman, Serena Chew Year Founded: 2005
Charitybuzz offers a slightly different model to Omaze in that it lets people auction off experiences and products. Otherwise, people can also directly purchase the product or service. Charitybuzz takes a 20 percent cut for facilitating between the buyer and seller.
Another thing that sets Charitybuzz apart from other donation platforms on this list is the fact that it offers a mobile app as well. Both Android and iOS users can, therefore, bid on auctions while on the go.
The company has worked with some of the world’s biggest charities including the JetBlue Foundation, ASPCA, Planned Parenthood, and many more. Over 5,550 non-profit clients have worked together with the site thus far.
Founder Coppy Holzman had previously co-founded Webvan, the first-ever grocery delivery platform, which went bankrupt after going public and amassing a valuation of $9 billion. He, therefore, took a more measured approach to grow Charitybuzz, which he worked at on a part-time basis for the first three years.
Charitybuzz’s first auction was a Caddyshack golf outing with actors Bill Murray and Chevy Chase, which amassed $250,000 in donations. The platform, which employs over 70 people, has raised $550 million to this date. It is currently owned by Charity Network after being acquired by Todd Wagner’s Chideo in 2016.
Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina Founder(s): Domenico Gravagno, Francesco Nazari Fusetti, Manuela Ravalli Year Founded: 2013
CharityStars, as the name suggests, primarily focuses on experiences with celebrities. In the past, it has worked together with stars such as Scarlett Johansson, Jürgen Klopp, and many others.
Apart from participating in sweepstakes, donors can also bid on items and experiences via auctions or purchase them directly. CharityStars’ fees are comparatively lower and normally range between 8 percent to 13 percent.
It, furthermore, offers a concierge service where it tries to facilitate meetups based on a previously set budget.
The site has worked together with over 1,000 charities including Feeding America, UNICEF, Amnesty International, the WWF, and many others. CharityStars facilitates over 30k auctions per year and has raised $35 million for charities so far.
The firm itself was acquired by Human vs. Machine, an Italian tech holding company. CharityStars previously raised close to $4 million in funding and employs over 50 people.
Headquarters: Los Angeles, California Founder(s): Andrej Pancik, Bryan Baum, Leo Seigal Year Founded: 2012
Prizeo mostly focuses on prizes involving celebrity meetups, travel (such as the ability to win reward points), and cash prizes of up to $10,000. In the past, the firm has worked together with the likes of Elton John, Coldplay, Tiger Woods, and others.
What separates Prizeo from Omaze is the fact that people can participate in its sweepstakes for free. They can do so by sharing their sweepstakes on social platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. Otherwise, a $10 donation normally provides them with one entry.
Much like Omaze, it makes money by taking a cut from the overall number of donations. Prizeo has officially raised $2.5 million in funding. However, many of its funding rounds have been undisclosed, so it can be assumed that it’s actually a larger sum.
The firm, just like Charitybuzz, is part of Charity Network, which was formed by Founder and Chairman Todd Wagner. However, Prizeo continues to operate as a separate entity. Prizeo, which employs around 15 people, does currently not disclose how much money it has raised for charity.
4. One Country
Headquarters: Springdale, Arkansas Founder(s): Neil Miller Year Founded: 2012
One Country was initially launched as a site where people could consume news about favorite country music stars. The founder eventually pivoted in 2013 to also offer sweepstakes.
Today, One Country mostly provides participants with the chance to either win cash prizes or cars. Some of its participants have even won up to $1 million in the past.
One thing that sets the site apart is its membership program, which provides participants with access to various benefits including additional entries, shopping discounts, and exclusive access to “feel-good” content.
One County has given out close to $7 million in cash and prizes thus far. Much like the other platforms on this list, it makes money by taking a cut from the sweepstakes. A total of 25 people are currently employed by the firm.
Source: One Country
Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts Founder(s): Jon Carson Year Founded: 2003
BiddingForGood is an auction-based platform where donors can bid on a variety of items and experiences. Biddable categories include dining, electronics, event tickets, travel, home decorations, and more.
The website’s Goodometer claims that BiddingForGood has managed to raise over $500 million for schools and nonprofits thus far. The platform, furthermore, has worked together with more than 10,000 charities.
BiddingForGood was acquired by charity software provider FrontStream back in 2015. It previously raised close to $17 million in venture funding to get the company off the ground.
The firm itself was founded by Jon Carson who had previously started and sold four companies, netting investors $250 million in the process. These days, he runs the College Guidance Network, a media company that provides college and career counseling.