Fallout Continues From Give Local America Glitch

Repercussions of technical difficulties that slowed Give Local America donation processing to crawl last week continue, as online firm Kimbia announced today several measures it would take in the wake of the technical problems.

According to the firm:

* Approximately $370,000 in fees will be waived. That’s about one-third of the net fees Kimbia would have received from this year’s event. Most communities will see a reduction in their invoices from 2.99 percent to 1.99 percent of funds raised.

* Kimbia will make its online fundraising technology available to each participating nonprofit at no cost for the rest of the year. This will include a customizable donation page, a donation form that can be embedded on their website, automatic donation receipts, and donor reports. The program will be made available over the next 30 to 45 days.

* Beginning at the end of June, Kimbia’s fundraising strategy team will develop and provide online fundraising workshops each month at no cost.

* Kimbia President & CEO Daniel Gillett will forfeit his salary for the next three months, with the firm instead paying the amount of his salary to organizations that participated in Give Local America. It’s unclear how much that will be.

Give Local America kicked off at midnight Eastern time on May 3 and was to run nonstop until Wednesday, May 4 at midnight Pacific (3 a.m. Eastern). The first 10 hours went off without a relative hitch but by 2:45 p.m. (Eastern) on Tuesday, Kimbia recommended extending hours of the event. By 3:20 p.m., Kimbia announced that donation forms were processing but many users were still experiencing delays.

The Austin, Texas-based company had more than 13,000 nonprofits registered for Give Local America, a 45-percent increase compared to the 2015 event. The event raised $68 million for 9,000 nonprofits last year, and $53 million for 7,000 nonprofits in 2014. More than $15 million in matching funds already had been secured ahead of this year’s May 3 event.

In an update late on May 3, Kimbia said significant donation delays were caused by what appears to be a hardware issue. At approximately 10 a.m. Eastern on May 3, Kimbia began to see latency issues. “The root cause of the issue now appears to be a hardware issue on one of our hosted database nodes which caused a cascading effect, impacting our ability to deliver forms and process donations that was further exacerbated by new functionality related to leaderboards, prizes and mobile applications.”

At that point, Kimbia removed the affected hardware from service and reduced leaderboard functionality to focus solely on the ability to serve donation forms.

Despite weeks of high-volume testing leading up to Give Local America, the issue did not arise in the event’s first 10 hours. Kimbia reiterated that there has been no security breach and all transactions have and are still being securely processed.

“We’re obviously devastated here. We were looking for a bigger-than-ever event and are incredibly disappointed for our partners,” Mary Anne Gunn, Kimbia’s vice president of marketing, said last week.

The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Day of Giving program, which raised more than $40 million in its six years of operation, suspended operation of its event. “We were on track in the first few hours to raise $1.5 million until the technical issues occurred,” foundation President and CEO Maxwell King said via a statement.

“To resume that enthusiasm, we are committing to re-schedule another Day of Giving for the region,” which includes Butler, Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, according to King. “And we will provide an additional $100,000 in incentives to the $100,000 already in place for today’s event. We also want to assure all participants who were able to make donations today that they will be honored and apply to the incentive pool that has been in place,” according to the statement.

The Seattle Foundation extended its GiveBIG a full 24 hours. With a goal of $20 million, GiveBIG reported online giving of almost $11.6 million by 8 a.m. today. Last year, the Seattle Foundation raised the most of any community, $12.8 million, followed by the Pittsburgh Foundation at $5.7 million.