We're always excited to promote GiveBIG every year, but this year it seems that the website is having serious issues. As in, it's impossible to donate through the GiveBIG site right now. Many nonprofits are reporting not receiving donations in over an hour, and the Seattle Foundation's calls for people to "refresh" the site don't seem to be working.
In short: GiveBIG this year is pretty much a clusterfuck. There will for sure be hell to pay in the coming days — this is a big day for Seattle's nonprofit community and this will surely affect the annual income of local organizations across the board. But what should you do if you want to donate but can't?
Well, first of all, keep trying. The stretch funds provided by GiveBIG really do matter, and if you can donate through the site, your donation will go further than it would on its own. Maybe the site will be easier to use this evening, after office workers go home and stop using the internet?
Second of all: pay attention to local news. I'm not privvy to any gossip from inside the Seattle Foundation, but surely they must be discussing ways to deal with this situation, which is really a nightmare for many in the nonprofit community.
Third of all: if these issues continue through the end of the day, consider donating through the nonprofit sites directly tomorrow. They were counting on GiveBIG to help this year, and they deserve your support.
We'll update the situation here on the Seattle Review of Books if we hear anything new.
UPDATE 12:25 PM: Kimbia, the fundraising platform that is rumored to be the problem with GiveBIG this year, has published a blog post about the outage:
It is important to address the impact that today’s technical issues have had on our community partners, participating nonprofits and Kimbia customers. We have seen some progress on resolving our technical issues, but we are still experiencing some delays. As a result, we are recommending that we extend the hours of Give Local America, but are currently working through the best possible times to maximize the impact of those extended hours.
Our hope that as we continue monitoring performance we will see a significant improvement and be able to focus on getting the absolute best results possible for today.
We have been exploring our options in ensuring that our community partners achieve their goals set for today and will work through the best solution for your community.
We will continue to update this page with further resolution information and event times as soon as they are available.
UPDATE 1 PM: Geekwire's Monica Nicklesburg offers more information about the outage.
UPDATE 1:35 PM Just tried to give to four charities through GiveBIG and after a long delay I received a notification that "The communication timed out. Your transaction may have succeeded. Please wait 5 minutes, check your email, and try again if necessary." After ten minutes, no emails from GiveBIG have been forthcoming. I have talked to some people whose donations made it through the system; it seems to be very hit or miss right now.
UPDATE 1:44 PM If you'd like to donate through the Seattle Foundation's call center directly, that number is 206-622-2294.
UPDATE 1:54 PM On Kimbia's site, they say "We are working with our community partners on extended hours – stay tuned! There will be more time to donate." Meanwhile, in the comments for that post, nonprofits around the country are demanding to see some money back from Kimbia. The first commenter notes, "I hope you will discount the processing fee you charge. 2.99% is already excessive, and considering that your platform has been malfunctioning for over 3 hours now, it is certainly not earned." Elsewhere in the comments, it seems that other regions are paying much more for processing. A pair of commenters refer to a 6.2 percent processing fee. And I've heard from a Seattle nonprofit that Seattle's processing fee with Kimbia is 4.9 percent of every transaction.
UPDATE 2:24 PM The Seattle Times's Lewis Kamb has published a story on GiveBIG. For at least some users, the story currently features a GiveBIG popover ad when you click through.
UPDATE 2:28 PM According to Town Hall's Twitter feed, the Seattle Foundation is extending the GiveBIG deadline through tomorrow at midnight. I've heard from a lot of nonprofit employees who are exhausted and stressed and very much not looking forward to another day of this. Hopefully Kimbia can get their back end up and running soon, and nonprofits will hopefully dicuss the renegotiation of those processing fees once all is said and done.