Big Give to gather feedback on Christmas Challenge website problems

Fundraising Standards Board chief executive Alistair McLean says it will be involved in the process

Alistair McLean
Alistair McLean

The Big Give has held a meeting with the Fundraising Standards Board and will be gathering feedback from charities over the coming weeks about the problems it had with its Christmas Challenge.

The FRSB contacted the Big Give at the end of last year after several charities complained about the online match-funding scheme in December that raised more than £10m for 424 charities.

Complainants were unhappy because the website crashed because of high demand on the first day of the challenge and the match funding ran out within a few minutes of the site opening for donations on some mornings.

The Big Give is not an FRSB member and is therefore not bound by its fundraising promise.

Ashley Bowe, managing director of the Big Give, said he had held a "very nice" meeting with the FRSB. He said they discussed the fact that there were significantly more donors trying to use the site during the 2011 challenge than in previous years, and this had resulted in match funding running out very quickly.

He said an independent consultancy would be running two focus groups for charities that took part in the 2011 challenge over the next couple of weeks. Bowe said the Big Give would also be running a feedback survey for participants in the most recent challenget.

"We will then come up with recommendations for how things can run more smoothly next year and the FRSB will see this," he said. "The more feedback we get from this year the better it will be."

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB, said his meeting with the Big Give was "really good". "They’ve agreed to look at their data again and review things, and we will be involved in any review process to make next year more successful," he said.

He said the FRSB would be meeting with the Big Give again to discuss all the matters further.

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