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Virgin Money Giving site crashes on day of Virgin Money London Marathon

Virgin Money Giving site crashes on day of Virgin Money London Marathon

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.

Holding pages

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”.

Virgin Money Giving site at 1.02pm on Sunday 23 April 2017

Virgin Money Giving is really busy (at 1.02pm on Sunday 23 April 2017)


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.

Others, including runners reported access problems today:


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.


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:


Apology and an offer

Although the unavailability of the platform made national news


the giving platform’s Twitter account did not provide an update on the problems until 5.48pm on Sunday afternoon.

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.


Fundraising opportunity

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.


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.







Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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