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Computer glitches mar Give Day Tampa Bay, but charities still raising money

Computer glitches haunted the third year of Give Day Tampa Bay, a 24-hour fundraising event that benefits local charities, prompting organizers to create a new website for donors.

The new website for donors went live at 5 p.m. at madepossibleby.us/projects/giveday.

The Give Day effort appeared to be building strong momentum early Tuesday thanks to social media efforts. By midday, 3,600 gifts for local charities totalling more than $460,000 had streamed into Tampa Bay charities.

But at noon, the technology that served 55 Give Day events across the country came to a halt. People who logged on to giveday.org were met with the warning, "Our website provider is currently experiencing high volume nationwide. Donation pages may be slow to load, we appreciate your patience as you wait to donate."

The event is organized by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, which vetted all the nonprofits for good standing with the IRS. But the national Give Local America organization that served 55 cities across the nation on Tuesday had a computer meltdown midday, said Wilma Norton, vice president of marketing and communications for the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.

The organization considered extending Give Day into another day but they weren't confident the computer issues would be fixed, Norton said, so they went with an alternative website.

"It's still Give Day, and we are remaining optimistic," Norton said. "If nothing else, tons of nonprofits have had an opportunity to tell their stories today. We are still hopeful we will have a seven-figure day, but in the end it's not really about the final number but how individual nonprofits were able to tell their stories."

Norton suggests that if donors couldn't log on, they should give directly to the nonprofit of their choice.

Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry brought in $2,500 by 2 a.m., earning MOSI a bonus from the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation for raising the most money between midnight and 2 a.m. early Tuesday.

The science museum was among the 595 nonprofit organizations from all over Tampa Bay working their social media game at #GiveDayTampaBay (as well as #LiveHere and #GiveHere). Last year, almost $1.75 million was raised for 550 nonprofit organizations. You can see real-time results at giveday.org/leaderboard. By 10 a.m. Big Cat Rescue was drawing the most donors of the day.High Risk Hope, which provides family support for high-risk pregnancies, had raised almost $12,000 before breakfast was over.

Events and parties will continue throughout the day, including a Tampa Bay Rays watch party at MacDinton's Irish Pub in South Tampa for the Humane Society. CASA domestic violence shelter will show A League of Their Own at Gulfport's Waterfront Park with a DJ and activities starting at 6 p.m.

Charities still have a chance to win $1,000 every other hour from TECO. During today's game, the Rays will reward a Game Time Prize for the most dollars raised between 7 and 9 p.m., when the game is on. A small nonprofit and a large nonprofit organization will each win $2,500 from the team.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

At 2015's Give Day Tampa Bay, Wheels of Success, a nonprofit that provides refurbished cars to the working poor, gave away a car at Elder Ford.

At 2015's Give Day Tampa Bay, Wheels of Success, a nonprofit that provides refurbished cars to the working poor, gave away a car at Elder Ford.

Computer glitches mar Give Day Tampa Bay, but charities still raising money 05/03/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 3, 2016 11:09pm]
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