Supported by organisations including History, L’Oreal Men Expert and Just For Men, the aim of Decembeard was to raise £250,000 to assist with the charity’s work with individuals and families affected by the UK’s second biggest cancer. Men were challenged to grow full beards and seek sponsorship from family, colleagues and friends.
The initiative depended almost entirely on its website to facilitate registrations for the campaign and provide a gateway to the fundraising site. Resilience, reliability and availability were therefore essential.
However, during the campaign planning period several weaknesses were identified relating to the server that Beating Bowel Cancer was using to host the website. Due to the increase in traffic, the server couldn’t cope, resulting in a general slow down and timing out during peak periods.
As a result, the charity identified the need to employ a solution that not only could deal with the traffic generated by the campaign, but also new integration that the website would feature.
Consult and create
Beating Bowel Cancer began talks with Pulsant, a cloud, managed hosting and colocation expert, with experience in providing platforms to charities, optimised to work in peak periods.
Pulsant agreed to support the charity by providing its Enterprise Cloud solution to the organisation to assist in ensuring the website could properly support the initiative. Enterprise Cloud ensures that the charity’s website can easily handle thousands of connections per second without timing out and can easily be scaled up or down to cope with peak and quiet periods for cost efficiency.
“The Enterprise Cloud solution was exactly what we needed”, said Marko Batarilo, Digital Manager, Beating Bowel Cancer. “Once deployed, it increased the speed of the website and allowed users to have a seamless campaign experience”.
The Pulsant team leant expertise to Beating Bowel Cancer’s IT department during the migration from its existing server to the cloud solution.
“The support we received was excellent, as was the stability of the technology. The Pulsant team really went above and beyond their duties to help us overcome any uncertainties during migration and set up”.
Integrate and activate
David Edwards, Senior Client Manager, Pulsant explained: “We’ve completed a number of similar deployments, for both charitable and commercial organisations, so we understood exactly what was required. From the fundraising aspect, we also knew what was at stake, so ensuring the website was 100% available and functioning properly was a priority when developing the Enterprise Cloud solution”.
“We paid close attention to aspects such as load balancing for the web server to make sure that the large amount of traffic can be handled with no effects on performance or speed. In addition, Enterprise Cloud was the ideal option because it is easy to scale up resources as and when they are needed”.
Support and evolve
During the campaign, web traffic to the site increased by 302% compared to the previous year. In 2013 there were 15,000 visits to the site, while 2014 saw approximately 60,404 visitors. With over 3,000 people taking part in the 2014 campaign, the charity raised £320,000, well above its target of £250,000.