All Posts

See the latest news about our upcoming events, fundraising tips and partners.

National Kidney Foundation 30th Annual Kidney Ball in Philadelphia, Silent Auction and Mobile Bidding powered by Gesture

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 10.38.00 AM
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
To Benefit the
National Kidney Foundation

Philadelphia, PA — February 12, 2014 — On March 8th, 2014, over 400 guests are expected to attend the National Kidney Foundation (NKF)’s 30th Annual Kidney Ball at Vie in Philadelphia. The Kidney Ball is one of the organization’s largest annual fundraisers and is anticipated to raise $400,000 toward the organization’s mission of awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease.

The Kidney Ball is the NKF’s annual black-tie affair, and serves as an occasion to honor those in the renal community that have made a difference in the lives of the patients we serve and that show a dedication to the NKF’s mission.

Each year the NKF selects a volunteer and physician to honor who has championed our mission and who is dedicated to helping those with kidney disease. This year’s gala will honor Fran Lynam, our Bobby Rydell Volunteer Honoree, and nephrologist Dr. George Francos, the Beatrice F. Nicoletti Professor of Nephrology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals.

The Kidney Ball will be emcee’d by ten-time Emmy Award winner and co-anchor of Fox 29’s “Good Day Philadelphia,” Mike Jerrick. A live and silent auction will take place and guests will be entertained by the Ken Silver Orchestra and mummers from the Aqua String Band. Mobile bidding and silent auctions provided by Gesture.

The Kidney Ball is sponsored by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, TD Bank, Crozer- Keystone Health System, Equus Capital Partners, Ltd., DaVita, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Delaware Valley Nephrology and Hypertension Associates and many more. Those interested in attending or sponsoring can find more information online at

Why Participate?
◆ Access to doctors from major local hospitals, nephrology practices, transplant programs, and dialysis centers
at a prestigious venue

◆ Entertainment opportunity for local doctors and potential clients

◆ Brand alignment with the premier event for renal physicians in the Delaware Valley

◆ Marketing and advertising opportunities

◆ Community goodwill by supporting the NKF’s mission, programs and services

◆ Volunteer opportunities for staff and leadership

More information about the event:

Interested in Mobile Bidding and Silent Auction in the Philadelphia area? Contact:
Sandi Urso
Business Development Manager
Direct: 301.728.7162

About Gesture
At Gesture, we believe helping our partners build better donor relationships is the key to fundraising success. By combining fun, easy-to-use technology with a team of dedicated charity event experts, we offer a service that allows charities all across the country to engage donors in a fresh, impactful way that has been known to result in raising as much as two or three times over their goal.

View Post


Chicago Volunteer Expo 2014


There are so many ways to give back to your community in 2014. Find the one that’s right for you at the Chicago Volunteer Expo!

Visit over 100 nonprofit organizations from all over the city to learn how you can lend a hand.

Whether your passion is the environment, the arts, or social justice, there’s a volunteer opportunity waiting for you.

Why Attend?
Maybe you made a New Year’s resolution to volunteer.
Maybe you need service hours for school.
Or maybe all your friends are doing it and you want to join the fun.
Regardless of your motivation to serve, there’s an opportunity that’s perfect for you. The Chicago Volunteer Expo is your one-stop shop to find it.


FREE to attend!
February 16, 2014
10:00AM – 4:00PM

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago IL 60614
Consider taking public transportation, bus #’s 76, 156, & 151 will drop you off just steps from from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. If you drive, there is free street parking along Cannon Drive and a pay lot ($13 daily flat rate) directly across from the Nature Museum.
Registration is not required, but if you want to let us know you’re coming, do so here.

Who’s coming?
Click here to see a list of organizations that you will meet at this year’s expo.
Like us on Facebook to see the most current information regarding the many organizations that will be attending this year.


View Post


3 Tips for Planning a Successful Charity Event

Advice from Renee Jones, Expert Auctioneer and Fundraiser

Video Transcript
Some very important tips to remember to have a successful nonprofit, gala or benefit event is to understand the importance of a timeline and maintaining it. Don’t have it just as a secret between a couple of people on your team. Make sure everyone that’s involved, volunteers and staff alike, meet and actually discuss every element of the event. All vendors should be included in it, especially the hotel and event staff, including your caterer.

It is so important for your experience as a guest, and also as a staff member volunteer at an event, for there to be a good flow, whether that’s from the arrival of guests, to the check in with no waiting, utilizing technology, to the actual program itself.

Maintaining a constant inspirational and motivating environment, including a live auction and “Fund-The-Need” benefit part of the evening is so important but the main thing to remember in fundraising is it’s supposed to be fun.

View Post


Nonprofit Tools: Google, Facebook and LinkedIn

Google, Facebook and LinkedIn all have various product offerings to help nonprofits and charities with their missions. Here is a quick rundown.


Google for NonprofitsGoogle has made their premium Google Apps Suite including Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive free for nonprofit organizations. The promise of these apps is to “reduce your IT costs and help staff and volunteers work together more effectively.”

In addition to the apps, you can apply for Google Ad Grants (AdWords for Nonprofits) 10,000 per month of AdWords advertising, to promote your organization to people using Google’s search engine. It doesn’t stop there, as Google also has YouTube for Nonprofits and Google Earth Outreach. Go to Google for Nonprofits for more information.

Also, if you don’t already have a Google+ page for your organization, you should create one. You may think no one is using Google+, but in actuality its userbase is significant and growing. In fact, it is the 2nd most popular social network behind Facebook. Additionally, Google+ is great for improving your search rankings so if you have a blog, it is an important outlet to publish to.


Facebook Donate ButtonFacebook made news recently with their launch of the Facebook Donate Button. For a closer look at what this means, I recommend reading Beth Kanter’s #FacebookAdGrants: What Nonprofits Need More Than a Facebook Donate Button article.

Most charities have a Facebook page for good reason – it is an excellent way to reach and engage with a large audience.


Nonprofits on LinkedInLike Facebook, LinkedIn recently made some news with a new feature benefiting nonprofits. The
LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace seeks to “connect professionals to nonprofit volunteer opportunities.” In addition to finding volunteers, LinkedIn offers other nonprofit resources at

View Post


U.S. mobile bidding leader Gesture adds operations, marketing experts to team

Chicago, Ill. – January 24, 2014 –Mobile bidding technology leader, Gesture, today announced two appointments: Steve Greanias, formerly vice president of program development for GoHealth, as vice president of operations; and content marketing expert Monika Rydzewski as marketing communications manager.

Gesture serves more than 700 charity partners in more than 120 North American cities. We have helped these great organizations raise $60 million during the three years since launching. By adding Steve’s and Monika’s expertise to our team, we plan to continue revolutionizing the mobile bidding experience,” noted Jim Alvarez, Gesture president and co-founder.

Gesture is the first mobile bidding technology company to allow patrons to bid with their smartphones. It also is first to offer a flat-fee business model so that charity leaders could put the most of every dollar raised into operating budgets to serve community needs.

Steve Greanias, now vice president of operations for Gesture, is a customer operations executive responsible for post-sale client interactions, including implementation, support and retention. GoHealth Insurance grew from 70 employees to more than 1,000 when he worked there from 1997-2013. While on the executive team, the company experienced 400% growth and transformed itself from servicing health insurance agents and agencies’ technology and marketing needs to being a full service distribution partner to the health insurance industry. Prior to GoHealth, Greanias was with Wilson Dow Group, a corporate communication strategies & event productions company where he was director of finance and human resources. Greanias graduated from Indiana University in May 2000 with a degree in finance.

As marketing communications manager, Monika Rydz is the founder of Connect.Inspire.Grow, a networking organization of influential individuals who connect, get inspired and help one another grow. She is also the co-founder of a mobile app called “Show and Tell” that allows people to brand their photos and videos from the palm of their hand. The Chicago Tribune referred to her as an “all-around video marketing expert” and ChicagoNow featured her as one of the top 12 people to watch in the Windy City. Rydzewski’s 10-year experience includes social media growth, strategic development and delivery of video marketing campaigns and communications strategies; corporate sales and partner relationships and event planning-organizing-sponsorships for LA Tan Corporate and Trading Advantage. Rydzewski co-hosted for the FOX Chicago “Upscale TV” and hosts her online show called “Connect.Inspire.GrowTV” that features inspiring people. Her clients are regular contributors for CNBC, FOX Business News and Bloomberg Television. She attended Columbia College.

About Gesture
Based in Chicago, Gesture was founded in 2011 to help non-profits improve fundraising efforts by harnessing the power of technology. The company’s technology platform is responsible for helping to raise over $60 million at hundreds of events annually for organizations such as Ronald McDonald House, American Red Cross, Make a Wish, American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs, universities such as Notre Dame, Purdue and DePaul, and Chicago-area hospitals including Rush Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Wheaton Franciscan.

View Post

5 Ways to Have a Successful Silent Auction

abc_checkoutSilent auctions are one of the most popular ways to raise money for non-profit groups and engage prospective donors at fundraising events. This article will provide you with helpful ways to ensure that your silent auction is a success.

Choose a prominent location for your silent auction. It is very important that a silent auction is not invisible and silent. You need to choose the perfect setup in order for people to view all your items as well as place bids in a convenient and easy way. You need to have enough space in order to accommodate all people who are willing to bid for your items that you want to offer for the fundraising program.

Match the items with the attendees. Local businesses are great potential donors for auction items. In order for you to attract a lot of bids, consider a variety of factors such as who are those people that will come to your event, what are the particular services and items that they need and want and how much money they are willing to spend. For example, during Valentine’s Day, you need to put items and services that suit both men and women such as flowers, restaurants and gifts. These are items that most people are looking for. It is very significant that you match the event with the items that you want to bid in order to attain success in your silent auction activity.

Create a time limit. It is proven that in order to create a sense of urgency, run your silent auction for a limited time. We suggest opening weeks prior to the event. People can become familiar and engaged well before the event even begins. Also, because people use their own mobile decides, they don’t physically be there to participate. The potential for more time and additional bidders significantly impacts the amounts our charity partners are raising”

Know how to handle your unsold items. It takes some time to spur interest in a silent auction especially when it comes to the starting bid. It is important that you announce and project your auction items on screen. If there is no bid, you can return the auction item to your merchandiser and decide to auction it again on another event. Try to work with consignment companies that allow you to only pay for items after they’ve been successfully auctioned.

Mobile Bidding. One of the most convenient ways for guests to participate in a silent auction is to bid by phone. No more hanging out by the auction table all night, or filling out bid sheets. Not only is mobile bidding more convenient for guests, but realtime alerts help drive up the revenue generated. It can make a big difference in the amount of funds raised for your non-profit organization. Electronic bidding also streamlines the checkout process and getting fundraising reports when the event is over. Learn more about mobile bidding

Watch some of the Live Auction Ideas from our expert auctioneer Renee Jones

View Post


LA Kings Team Up with Gesture

On Saturday, February 1, the Los Angeles Kings Hockey Club will host Tip-A-King at the LA Live Event Deck, a premier event venue located in Downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles Kings players, coaches and broadcasters will be on hand to receive tips for photographs and autographs from their fans in the carnival style event. Tip-A-King has become the signature fundraising event for the Kings Care Foundation, the team’s award-winning non-profit foundation that provides educational and recreational opportunities for children throughout Greater Los Angeles.

Gesture is thrilled to be picked to provide its mobile bidding services to this great event. The LA Kings Tip-A-King 2014 Auction is live, with great items like game-worn Los Angeles Kings jerseys, signed hockey gear and collectibles (Wayne Gretzky Stick!), great sporting and entertainment tickets and VIP packages, and more! Go to to bid.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Kings Care Foundation, the team’s award-winning charity dedicated to providing educational and recreational opportunities for youth of the Greater Los Angeles area. Since its inception in 1996 the Kings Care Foundation has donated nearly $6 million in monetary and in-kind support to the local community. In August 2009, the Kings Care Foundation proudly announced a $500,000 commitment to the Blood Donor Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The largest donation ever made by the Foundation will serve to increase the much needed collection of life-saving blood for the most seriously ill and injured children at CHLA through the LA Kings Bloodmobile. Your generous support will help continue to fund this vital initiative.

View Post


Four Reasons Mobile Bidding Works

Gesture Silent Auction Specialistby Monika Rydzewski, Marketing Communications Manager at Gesture

Mobile bidding involves using a smartphone, computer, or tablet to bid in an auction, rather than bidding using hand gestures or paper bidding sheets. A lot of organizations are turning to mobile bidding because it is easier to manage, easier to track, provides more flexibility, and makes more money.

Mobile Bidding Is Easy

With mobile bidding, rather than having to make hand gestures or write on a bidding sheet to bid, attendees can simply bid with a mobile device, inputting some numbers and clicking to submit when they want to make a bid. Mobile bidding is especially easy on smartphones and tablets, where you can enter information with some taps and swipes of your finger, which at this point has become second nature to modern users of mobile devices.

Easy to Track and Less Risk of Error
With traditional bidding, everyone has to sit and pay attention to bids, especially when they want to secure the highest bid. With mobile bidding at an event, people can socialize, stand in line to get food, or enjoy drinks at the bar, and still track bids because they get automatic notifications on their device if they have been outbid. Mobile bidding reduces the margin of error, because a click to bid cannot be mistaken, unlike accidental hand gestures or incorrect bid increments on paper. Mobile bidding is calculated automatically, making tracking easier for staff and eliminating the need for calculators to add up figures on bid sheets.

More Bidding Time Before, During and After an Auction
Because mobile bidding allows registration before the event, bidders don’t have to wait in line to register, so they have more time to bid. This flexibility keeps things moving, making it a smoother process for everyone. Attendees will be more engaged in bidding because they can conveniently bid with a mobile device while doing other things at the event.

Increased Revenue
Because it’s easier to bid with mobile bidding, more bids will be made throughout the auction and more money will be made from each auction item. The money made is also more secure with mobile bidding, because attendees enter their form of payment before the auction, which means payment occurs automatically, so a bidder is less likely to change their mind on a bid and neglect to pay. Mobile bidding is the easier, more efficient and profitable way to bid today.

View Post

Gesture Featured In Chicago Tribune’s Blue Sky Innovation

Gesture Featured in Blue Sky from Chicago TribuneOur partnership with the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Fire was featured in Blue Sky, the Chicago Tribune’s new gathering place for news, analysis and events related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

“It began with frustration. Jim Alvarez — serial entrepreneur, partner in the L.A. Tan salon franchises, owner of a Valparaiso, Ind., haunted house — couldn’t fathom why staging a silent auction took so much work.”

Read the full article in Blue Sky

View Post


The May Report Spotlights Mobile Bidding Company Gesture

Startups and Entrepreneur’s section

The May Report – bringing you the latest in Technology Community News, Information, Opinions, Scoop, and Events.

“Some 12,000 charity goers will be sharing its technology platform and team of auction professionals simultaneously in states across the country on one night in March as the season for galas begins.

The mobile bidding platform sends competitive texts when fans are outbid on their favorite items that are sold to support their charity of choice – whether they can attend or not.

The Oak Brook, IL-based game changer has helped 700 charities raise $60 million since 2011. The company will host events in 120 major North American cities this year. More than revenues, the technology guarantees a convenient, simple and fun way to bring charities’ donors into the digital age using their own phones. Many say that the combination of the technology with a dedicated team sets Gesture apart.

The company revolutionized mobile bidding when it started three years ago as the first technology to allow patrons to bid with their own smartphones. It also was the first to offer a flat-fee business model so charity leaders could put the most of every dollar raised back into their operating budgets to serve community needs.

Listen to national charity leaders, including the American Heart Association, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Boys & Girls Clubs leaders, share their perspectives on doubling auction revenue or making $100,000 more in one night by using the platform and the service.

This month Gesture became the first mobile bidding company to offer in-game professional sports auctions so fans could contribute while rooting for their team. 2013 Stanley Cup winner the Chicago Blackhawks’ Foundation intends to raise up to a quarter of a million dollars annually as fans sip cold ones and donate directly from their seats. Gesture also gave U.S. sports fans the opportunity to bid on Chicago Bears’ Brandon Marshall’s green cleats in honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week last fall.

Whether silent, in-game or online, Gesture keeps all types of auctions in an “always-on” mode. As soon as a patron’s smart phone is registered to the charity’s event, the bidding begins – even if the gala is weeks away or physically the fan cannot be present.

The company has placed as high as 350 people weekly across the country on its payroll to help staff events at a time when 44% of young college graduates are under- or unemployed according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It scored $3.5M in annual revenues this year and secured more than 1,000 events on its books for 2014, a far stretch from the 100 that the team managed during its first year.

Let us show you the mobile bidding technology live at an event or feel free to take a test drive by going to”

Read full article on The May Report

View Post


U.S. Mobile Bidding Leader Expands Silent Auction Fundraising Platform with Live Auction Solutions

Gesture appoints auctioneer veteran Renee Jones who has managed auctions from real estate sales in 30+ states to the disposition of assets on behalf of the US Trustee for the Enron bankruptcy

Chicago, Ill. – January 21, 2014 –Mobile bidding technology leader, Gesture, today announced the appointment of industry veteran Renee Jones as national director of live auction services.

“Our philosophy is centered on being the best partner to the thousands of charities that we work with annually,” noted Jim Alvarez, Gesture president and co-founder. “With the appointment of Renee, we plan to offer a full-service auction solution for our charity partners to continue enhancing relationships with their donors.”

Live Auction ExpertJones has earned a reputation over twenty-five years as one of the industry’s most knowledgeable and experienced benefit auction professionals. She has worked with hundreds of non-profit organizations across the country and in the Caribbean as a professional benefit auctioneer, planner and consultant. She was the youngest competitor to win the National Auctioneers Association’s (NAA) prestigious International Auctioneers Championship. Jones has called auctions for the FDIC, US Customs Service, US Marshal Service, as well as federal and state courts, and municipalities.

A sought after speaker, Jones lectures at dozens of national, regional, and state industry related conferences annually. Jones earned a B.S. degree with honors from Texas Woman’s University and graduated from the Certified Auctioneers Institute at Indiana University. She has served two terms on the NAA board of directors and as Chairman of its Education Trustees. Jones is a designated Benefit Auction Specialist and Certified Estate Specialist.

“What differentiates Gesture is that we have now combined technologically-advanced mobile bidding for non profit events with live auction services in a manner which cannot duplicated in the industry,” Said Ms. Jones. “We provide organizations with a unified system and personnel from start to finish ensuring a streamlined and professionally executed event no matter the size or location.”
Jones will be responsible for developing the company’s live auction strategy, portfolio of live auction services, and its operational implementation.

“We are excited to add a very accomplished industry expert to our Gesture team,” said Alvarez. “Renee’s expertise is focused on education and competency. She complements our event team’s knowledge and our relationships with the best and brightest auctioneers across the country as we expand to manage over 1,000 events next year.”

Ms. Jones added, “Every organization and every event is important and unique, so to maximize the outcome requires a thoroughly customized program from beginning to end. Gesture will blend its state of the art bidding technology with providing the best in live auction event and advisory services.
About AuctionsByCelluar

Based in Chicago, Gesture was founded in 2011 to help non-profits improve fundraising efforts by harnessing the power of technology. The company’s technology platform is responsible for helping to raise over $60 million at hundreds of events annually for organizations such as Ronald McDonald House, American Red Cross, Make a Wish, American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs, universities such as Notre Dame, Purdue and DePaul, and Chicago-area hospitals including Rush Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Wheaton Franciscan. Visit /.

Join the conversation with @GestureTeam or
Monika Rydzewski, 847.409.7189 or

View Post

Gesture TV

Gesture Named A Chicago Startup Destined to Breakout in 2014

Tech Cocktail reached out to a handful of those fully entrenched in the Chicago startup scene to nominate a startup who was destined to breakout. Guy Turner, Managing Director at Hyde Park Ventures, had this to say about why Gesture was his pick:

“Jim Alvarez is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. He is in the trenches with his fast growing team and works many of the events that Gesture serves to ensure quality and to get quick feedback from his customers. The market is also ripe with attendees at charity events – regardless of age – now with a smartphone in their hand. Paper auctions are a thing of the past, and Jim and Gesture are poised to accelerate into this opportunity.”

Read the full article on Tech Cocktail.

View Post

Gesture Products

Make Hope Happen
is more than just a motto.

People want to act on what’s important to them, to contribute to the success of something that matters. But often the business of charity interferes with the experience of giving. Since 2011, we’ve partnered with organizations to capture each helping hand, each friendly smile, and each round of applause by turning inspiration into action.

Meet Our People

1,000+ Organizations have trusted Gesture nationwide

Read What Our Partners Say
Gesture partners with many different nonprofit and charity groups all across the country

Reach Out

Let’s make hope happen!