The Virgin Money Giving website was unavailable or difficult to reach for large parts of yesterday, the day of the Virgin Money London Marathon, the world’s largest single day fundraising event.
The outage caused problems for donors wishing to support a runner on the day of the event and to charities who had invested effort in maximising income from this major fundraising event.
In fact the Virgin Money Giving site was unavailable for a short period on the Friday night, the day before the Marathon.
@VirginMoney really frustrating that virginmoneygiving has been down most of the evening the night before the marathon.
— HannahB (@HannahBo2) April 22, 2017
The website at first carried a message stating “Sorry, Virgin Money Giving is currently unavailable” with a comment that work was underway to “restore normal service”.
This was changed to one which put the unavailability down to a “really busy” site, the result of “so many amazing people [who] are donating to their friends and family”.
A Virgin Money Giving statement this afternoon referred to the downtime affecting just the morning of the event.
“Virgin Money Giving was not available for part of yesterday morning as a result of high demand. Some people may have had to try more than once but our analysis shows that everyone that came back to make a donation has been able to do so.”
The downtime generated criticism from would-be donors and charities.
— Laura (@aberquine) April 23, 2017
virginmoneygiving site is down due to heavy traffic. If you're trying to sponsor one of our amazing #marathon17 ???? please pop back later.
— Demelza Hospice (@DemelzaHospice) April 23, 2017
Virginmoneygiving is so busy it's crashed. What a day to do that – it's marathon day, one of the biggest charity donation days of the year.
— Charlotte Nichol (@charlwaterhouse) April 23, 2017
Others, including runners reported access problems today:
— Samuel Luke Bond (@MagpieTravels) April 24, 2017
— Joshua Blake (@joshua_blake) April 24, 2017
Replies from the company on Twitter advised that this access could be due to browser caches needing to be cleared, with the assurance that donations were getting through.
@AnishModgil Hi Anish, Please ask your supporters to keep trying. Donations are being made but your supporters may need to refresh/try more than once ^AS
— Virgin Money Giving (@VMGiving) April 24, 2017
Others pointed to Virgin Money Giving’s positioning of itself in its marketing, contrasting its not-for-profit approach with the business model adopted by rival JustGiving:
I see Virgin money giving has gone down again… but it's ok, it has fractionally cheaper fees which is clearly more important… ????
— Luke W (@alukeonlife) April 23, 2017
— Kate Brennan (@kate_brennan) April 20, 2017
Apology and an offer
Although the unavailability of the platform made national news
— Press Association (@PA) April 23, 2017
the giving platform’s Twitter account did not provide an update on the problems until 5.48pm on Sunday afternoon.
An update from Virgin Money Giving pic.twitter.com/vvWEl0hm2h
— Virgin Money Giving (@VMGiving) April 23, 2017
The platform offered to add a donation of 10% on all donations to charity made for the remaining six hours of the Marathon day, together with the whole of the next day, today.
This 10% boost is available to all charitable donations today, not just those made to Virgin Money London Marathon runners’ pages.
Because of Virgin Money Giving’s offer, today is there an opportunity for all charities to secure a boost to donations via their site. Several charities have promoted this to their supporters.
Good message for fundraisers to pass on to anyone who might want to donate today/tomorrow, an extra 10% will be added on by Virgin https://t.co/G2p7CISzWg
— Daniel Fluskey (@danielfluskey) April 23, 2017
— GlassDoor (@GlassDoorLondon) April 24, 2017
— BrainTumourResearch (@braintumourrsch) April 24, 2017
How much is given to charity via the Virgin Money Giving site?
Runners in the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon raised a record amount of £59.4m, setting a new world record for an annual single day charity fundraising event for the tenth year running.
By this point last year the site had handled £23m in donations to London Marathon runners, an increase of 12% on the year before.
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