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Website problems jeopardize donations on crucial day of giving

KOMO

SEATTLE -- A website that allows people to quickly and conveniently donate money to more than a thousand local non-profit organizations slowed to a frustrating crawl during a one-day fundraising event called GiveBIG.

The Seattle Foundation, which organizes the campaign, said the problem was discovered Tuesday morning when donors and staff members of some organization reported much longer than normal donation-page loading times.

Seattle Foundation representatives said the glitch was the result of too much generosity. A record number of donors and donations overwhelmed the system.

Non-profits that benefit from GiveBIG were hesitant to criticize the site, but many expressed frustration on social media along with concerns the slow loading times might turn some donors away.

"There's a real possibility we could lose donors forever because of this," said Michael Jackson, development director for Auburn Youth Resources.

His organization helps thousands of young people struggling with homelessness and addiction. It relies on donations to provide services and was hoping to raise $2,500 dollars during the one-day event.

"It was quite nerve-racking. You've got all your donors looking to do the great thing on GiveBIG Tuesday and they can't get there," said Jackson. "We're very frustrated, but there's nothing you can do. It's technology."

A Texas-based company called Kimbia operates the site and worked throughout the day to resolve the issue. By mid to late afternoon, Seattle Foundation representatives said the page was working as it should.

"This shows how great Seattle is, that everybody wants to get on that website at the same time," remarked Jackson. "That shows the passion that these folks have for the work we're doing here."

Seattle Foundation announced it will extend the GiveBIG deadline for making donations to midnight Wednesday to make up for today's website troubles.

Organizations like Auburn Youth Resources and Westside Baby in White Center tried to get the message out that donors could go directly to each non-profits website to give.

But that would mean the organizations miss out on matching funds that come only from donations made through the GiveBIG website.

Seattle Foundation said that as of about 3pm, donations had reached about 92 percent of where they were at the same time last year.

Those interested in making a donation can visit the website, GiveBIG.seattlefoundation.org.

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