Omaze.com is the online home of Omaze, a company that says their goal is to make giving money to charities both fun and easy, no matter how much money you have to give.
How Does It Work?
According to their website, the creators of Omaze.com got the idea for their business when they attended a charity auction and saw their dream item up for a bid – attending a basketball game and dinner with Magic Johnson. Unfortunately the bidding quickly went so high that the majority of the people at the event were priced out of bidding, but it ultimately ended at $15,000.
This experience left the creators of Omaze confused. They didn’t understand this fundraising model, which was limited to a small number of wealthy people but which only ended up collecting $15,000 for a prize that they felt was worth much more. They decided to come up with a new model for charitable fundraising.
The Omaze.com model “democratizes” traditional charity auctions by giving as many people access to their opportunities as possible, and they do this by pricing their donations to win once in a lifetime experiences for as little as $10.
Their website says that because of this new and different crowdsourcing approach, people from more than 170 different countries have donated to more than 150 different charities, which they say drives up awareness for the charities and ultimately raises more money.
As mentioned above, this website organizes charitable opportunities which people can win for a donation of as little as $10, but of course the actual amount of money which is required for each donation will depend on the individual fundraising opportunity.
In addition, their website says that their company only takes 20% of the net funds that their website collects for their operational costs, and the other 80% of their funds go to the charities for which they are raising the money.
Because this company is collecting donations for charitable causes, it doesn’t appear that they offer their customers a standard Refund Policy at this time. If you do believe that you have encountered circumstances which justify your refund request, you should contact their Customer Service team as soon as possible so they can assist you.
Customer Service Contact Info
Customers who would like to speak to their Customer Service team about their questions, concerns, or complaints can do so by submitting them directly to their website through their Support Center and Submit a Request link.
This company does appear to have some vocal customers who have complained online about their website, and most of the complaints appear to be centered on a specific issue: the inability of this company to follow through on their promises to send customers donation awards.
For example, people were told they would receive t-shirts when they donated certain causes, but the company never actually sent them their t-shirts, even after multiple emails were Customer Service promised they would. Prospective customers may see this as a small problem, or they may feel as though this an indicator of larger problems with this company.
Competitors and Alternatives?
There are actually a variety of services that use the crowdsourcing model to raise money for different charitable causes, as well as some options which auction off different celebrity experiences, so customers looking for alternatives to Omaze.com will have other options.
If you have experience with this company or their products, please leave your Omaze.com reviews below.
11 ‘Omaze.com’ Reviews
I donated to several charities. when I inquired: how exactly the lottery system works? Is it transparent? they said once they get winner they take 2 weeks in silent research to see if the person should receive the winnings, background check etc.that was already really strange. you could be a winner but may be you don't qualify alto you sent your money to them??.. hmmm. They stopped responding.I learned that here is no way to know how much they collect and what percentage goes to charity, NO way to know how they do the lottery....
I donated for the raffle to Omaze and within a couple of hours my bank alerted me to a charge for $162 to chipotle which was not my charge. This was the only charge I made on my account before the chipotle charge. I believe someone got my # from this transaction. Then when you try to contact them there is no phone number. what the heck?!?
Responding to a note about getting the auction prizes. I have been delivered t shirts orders and other merchandise for donating. They screwed up once and ultimately made it right. It was a little sloppy on the service side but we were made whole.
Transparency standards of Omaze are unacceptably low for company working with charity organizations.
Transparency standards of Omaze are unacceptably low for company working with charity organizations. I was not able to find any financial reports or details about past sweepstakes.
I would like to know how much they had raised and transferred to each charity after each contest. What is their profit in comparison to money transferred to actual charity? The only number we have is: “… Omaze has given over $100 million to charity!” Since the company is running for more than 6 years, it was 16.7 million per year in average. I am wondering where exactly all this money goes. And I am even more concerned since I have found “Over $100 million raised to support charity” on the other page. “Why is that so important and what is the difference between “raised” and “given”?” - you would probably ask. Let us read their official statement:
“When you contribute $10 for the chance to win a celebrity experience (set visit, dinner date, tickets to a premiere, etc.), $6 is donated to charity, $2.50 on average goes towards marketing expenses and credit card fees, and Omaze nets the remaining $1.50. A $10 contribution for the chance to win a prize-based experience (like a car, vacation or tuition) breaks down as follows: $1.50 is donated to charity; $7 typically goes to sourcing and shipping the prize, covering the winner’s taxes, marketing the experience, and processing credit card fees; and $1.50 goes to Omaze. These experiences require substantially more resources to secure the prize and help spread the word.”
So, only 15% - 60% goes to actual charity. When you are in a not-for-profit sector nobody expects you to make money. Generally, we want charity to take money we made and deliver promise with as little overheads as possible. Unfortunately, this is not a strategy to get the best impact for your money. Omaze is bragging that their for-profit model enables them to expand marketing services “far beyond what’s usually done in the nonprofit space”, and therefore increase the total dollars raised for partners. Unfortunately, I have no data to prove whether it is true or not. As a financial professional I would agree with some of Dan Pallottas’s ideas. Yes, it is important to invest in your growth, but such growth should be measurable. I can not disagree that 90% of $100 000 is less than 60% of $500 000 ($90 000 vs $300 000), but 90% of $100 000 is more than 15% of $500 000 ($90 000 vs $75 000). At the same time overheads for non-profits becomes revenues if you are private for-profit organization. When you are getting fixed portion of the pie (15%) the bigger the pie - the better for you, but when you really trying to maximize benefits for charity partners it is not that easy. Due to decreasing nature of return, at some point, company would have to cut marketing spendings since they are not bringing positive return any more. It is clear conflict of interests for Omaze, and I would like to know how they are handling it.
And there is a final question for the company - what sort of business is that?
We can assume that this is some sort of marketing platform for charities, then why does it charge 60% of marketing budget ($1.50/$2.50) – that is insane. So, I would believe that Omaze is in lottery style business and using legal loopholes to run it. It looks like they need charities to make it more legit.
Last year they “raised” $100,000,000 for charity.
According to their website that equates to:
$466,000,000 spent on ads/prizes
$100,000,000 given to charity
$100,000,000 pocketed. I mean spent on running the lottery—I mean charity.
Lord know how much more since then.
Keep doing what you do, I am a donator myself and although I have never won, I am ok knowing my donations are going toward a great cause. I will keep entering and keep crossing my fingers, (especially with the upcoming Lambo give-away) that I will win. Regardless, I will keep donating, because it is the right thing to do.
I sincerely question the legitimacy of this website. I understand the intent; and that's great; however, do the "winners" ever get their "prize with the celebrity" and does the money collected actually reach the charity? Keeping 20% of the top seems rather steep for a charitable website - despite the best intentions behind it. I think I'll keep my money and hope to one day run into my celebrity; and if not, I'll admire them on the big screen, in the tabloids and on social media. I'll donate directly to their charities, or the ones they endorse with the sincere hope it is truly going to good use!