Big Give Christmas Challenge raises more than £10m

The online match-funding scheme, which was marred by technical problems in 2011, ran smoothly this year

The Big Give
The Big Give

This year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge has raised more than £10m for 356 charities.

Organisers said the online match-funding scheme ran "smoothly and quickly" after last year’s event was marred by technical problems that saw the website temporarily suspended after it was unable to cope with demand.

The scheme began at 10am last Thursday, with funds released at the same time on Friday and Saturday.

Donations are matched on a first-come, first-served basis and, in total, more than 11,000 online gifts were doubled this year and £4m was raised in the first hour alone.

The donations are matched pound for pound with 75 per cent of the match funding coming initially from the 'pledge fund', which is made up in advance by major donors and trustees of the charities taking part. Twenty-five per cent of the match funding comes from the Charity Champion Fund, which is money contributed by individuals, foundations, corporations and families, including Ethiopiaid, the Waterloo Foundation and the Candis Club.

Once charities' pledge fund has been used up, online donations will be matched pound for pound by the Charity Champion Fund until this runs out. 

Last year, the scheme raised £10m for 424 charities, but charities complained to the Fundraising Standards Board about the website crashing and donations running out within a few minute of it opening.

Helen Cable, managing director of the Big Give, said: "The technical problems from last year's challenge were completely overcome and the site ran smoothly and quickly – even at the peak of more than 10 donations per second."

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB, said it had received no complaints about this year’s challenge so far. "There was a problem last year and we contacted the Big Give on behalf of our members. We worked with the Big Give to try to improve the scheme. It had a lot of tests and they put a lot of effort in to make it work. It appears that it has been a success, which is great news."

The Christmas Challenge has helped to raise more than £40m for charities since its launch five years ago.

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