JustGiving CEO pledges refund over upgrade cockup
Fundraisers slam dot com era 'amateurism'
JustGiving.com’s CEO has apologised to users of the company’s online charity donation service, following a clumsy upgrade that has plagued the system since going live over a week ago.
The firm is offering cheesed-off users, who struggled to access fundraising pages and logon to the system after the relaunch of the JustGiving website, a refund of the five per cent transaction fee for any donations made since 20 June for seven days.
“We did carry out extensive testing before we launched it last weekend. However, what we now know is that we didn’t test it extensively enough, or try hard enough to break it,” admitted JustGiving’s boss Zarine Kharas in a miserable blog post late last week.
In the meantime the company is continuing to grapple with the upgrade cockup.
“We take full responsibility for our mistakes and our tech team is working 24 hours a day to fix everything, and the rest of the team are staffing the phones and email enquiries to try and help out as quickly as possible,” said Kharas.
“The bottom line is this: we know that the performance of the new site over the past week has been totally unacceptable. We take full responsibility for that and are committed not only to fixing it, but also to showing that we’re sorry.”
JustGiving’s CEO is hoping that refunding the transaction fee to those affected by the upgrade will help draw a line under the matter.
However, many are complaining it doesn’t go far enough to compensate those people who have faced major strife collecting and making donations via the site.
“To me, it just seems a bit dotcomish, a bit amateurish, which is fine if you’re launching a free service from your garage, not so fine if you’ve been going for 10 years and have turned over £20+ million,” commented angry JustGiving user SteveK on the firm’s blog.
On Saturday the firm posted an update to its blog, confirming it was still having problems but added most issues had now been fixed.
Unfortunately some users are still struggling to view fundraising pages, while others are unable to create new pages since the website relaunched.
Users continue to complain about the upgrade snafu.
"My event completed yesterday, everybody raising money for the charity I am supporting has had issues in the build-up to this event," wrote CharlieW in a comment below the company's latest blog post.
"How many donations are being lost because donators are put off by amateur implementation of new website?", asked "less than impressed" user Dave.
Last week the website’s CTO Dominic Lacey confessed to El Reg that deployment of the upgrade had been less than smooth.
"Load testing didn't accurately reflect the way it's being used in the live environment," explained Lacey last Tuesday, a message that was echoed yesterday by the company’s boss.
We’ve asked JustGiving to provide more details on when users can expect to see the website return to life fully in order that they can, you know, help to improve lives and that via their much-needed fundraising efforts. At time of writing the firm hadn’t got back to us with comment. ®
with all due respect to el reg
This has actually been pretty disastrous - the system has been effectively down for about 10 days now - with people simply unable to make donations. As any fule kno - if people don't donate when the whim strikes them, they are unlikely to go back and do it at a later date - charities have lost huge amounts of money and goodwill from this - seemingly simply because justgiving was too proud to roll back to the previous version while they sorted out the problems with the upgrade.
Notwithstanding the fact that the "upgrade" is several steps back in many ways - most egregiously, it is no longer possible to see all donations on one page - you only see ten at a time, and scroll through them clicking next (don't we all love clicking "next"???) - as most users don't bother to click next, they only see the ten most recent donors - now where I work, people tend to give based on what they consider their peers to have given...however the ten most recent donors have been giving less than other people...which means that effectively the donating level has been lowered due to the "click next" feature.
so...yes surely, people who provide a service to charities deserve to make a profit if it's a good service...but this has been handled terribly, with very little openness, and cost a number of charities a good deal of dosh...
Anonymous posting as am currently raising money and work closely with a charity which gets (or got...) a lot of funds through justgiving.
I have it on good authority that it was asp to asp.NET
at least they are copping up that they plain old buggered up and didnt try and blame it on somebody else
nice to see some hohnesty tbh
What technology did they migrate from and to?
Bet it was from dodgy old CGI that worked to fancy new J2EE that doesn't...
@Sean & El Reg
Massive epic FAIL to both of you.
Let's just get one thing straight here, Sean. Students, or in fact any volunteer fund raiser collecting change in buckets are not paid for what they do, the law states pretty clearly in the Police, Factories (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 that charity collectors must be volunteers. Some charities, in accordance with the law, do refund travel expenses but this is capped and regulated by the law as well. The provisions of the law also ensure that charity collectors use a sealed vessel which is only opened in the presence of two or more people. All collections must be signed off by an accountant and details of all monies received are given to the council which issued the permit within 28 days.
And why should justgiving take 1/20th? It's pretty simple actually, they have costs that they need to cover and they have to pay a fee for card processing. Unless you have the resources and the generosity to offer the service for free I suggest you get back in your troll box and stop embarrassing yourself.
I suspect El Reg is having a little tantrum because nobody at Justgiving gave them any attention, that's the only reason I can think of for the tone of this article. Justgiving had a bad upgrade and they have taken responsibility, offered to refund charges as a gesture of goodwill to the charities that rely on them and have set about sorting out their systems, what more do you want?
I have used Justgiving for quite a while now (if you fancy sponsoring me for my latest adventure go to http://www.justgiving.com/jailbreak4kidscan ) and have several friends who work for charities around the country. The upgrade has been a pain in the ass but the response from Justgiving and their determination to fix the problems and make good on their responsibilities to fund raisers has been nothing short of outstanding so why don't we all quit our bitching and get back to raising money for good causes.