If you strike gold, you need the infrastructure to cash in

There was a reminder for everyone of an important lesson in charity fundraising yesterday.

When the Big Give Christmas Challenge charity match funding scheme was launched in the morning, so many people tried to access the site to make a donation that it crashed, leaving would-be-donors with a message that told them the appeal had been “temporarily halted”.

It isn’t the first time I have heard of such an incident.

When I was preparing to give a talk on the use of social media for fundraising recently, I came across many stories where charities had managed to get a mention on a Twitter feed such as Stephen Fry’s, who has almost 3.5m followers – this is probably known as ‘striking gold’ in many fundraising departments.

But they then found that the volume of traffic this generated for their site crashed it, meaning they never had the chance to ask these people for a donation.

Yesterday’s incident will hopefully remind charities, or anyone else trying to raise donations online, that the stuff that sits behind all of the publicity is just as important as the traffic-driving activity itself.

Just as much, if not more care needs to be taken over things like infrastructure and support when it comes to this kind of activity. The waste can be potentially huge if it is not.