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Record-Breaking: How Comic Relief Handles Your Donations

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Meet the technology companies behind this year’s fundraising efforts

Since its inauguration in 1985, Comic Relief has grown hugely to become a key fundraising event. Blending Britain’s best comedic minds with raising money for charitable causes across the world, it has raised more than £1bn for good causes over those 30 years.

But in our modern digital world, how does Comic Relief collect and process your donations?

Red Nose Day 2015Giving generously

Most of us know you can gift money to Comic Relief via phone or text, but the event also offers a dedicated online platform through its website for people to donate.

Comic Relief’s proprietary online donations platform is built in partnership with cloud services provider Armakuni. This high-volume donations platform, which can handle in excess of 2000 donations per second when at maximum capacity, is a completely elastic solution which can be scaled from zero footprint to fully scaled and deployed in hours.

To handle and process these payments, Comic Relief teamed up with Stripe, which is live in 18 countries with clients including Rackspace, Foursquare, and ride-sharing service Lyft. Formed only six years ago by brothers Patrick and John Collison, Stripe has grown quickly during its lifetime, and was valued at $3.5bn in December following a $70m funding round.

“We chose to work with Stripe because of their reputation for technical excellence, reliability and optimised mobile user experience,” said Comic Relief CTO Zenon Hannick. “Our experience of working with them was an unmitigated success. Their system stability, expertise and openness made the process of integrating with them and using their systems during the Red Nose Day TV show seamless.”

Stripe also offers an innovative machine-learning based fraud detection system, which Hannick says was seized upon to use in this year’s event.

“Even though the internet has revolutionised the way charities operate over the past two decades, donating online is still playing catch-up to other forms of giving,” said James Allgrove, Stripe’s head of UK business development.

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Security is provided by Manchester-based NCC Group, which has worked with Comic Relief for more than 11 years, providing hands-on security consulting and penetration testing of its IT infrastructure and public-facing websites in order to ensure the systems in place are up to the task.

All of these partners have worked together to help Comic Relief raise more than £1bn for good causes, an incredible result for the event.

“This landmark total, achieved thanks to the incredible generosity of the British public and enduring support of the BBC, is made up of money raised through every Red Nose Day and Sport Relief ever, since Comic Relief began 30 years ago,” says Hannick. “The money raised since 1985 has helped over 50 million people in the UK and across the world’s poorest communities.”

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