21 Nov 2016

Tech talk – the magic behind the Children in Need telethon


From Children in Need’s November telethon to Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day and UNICEF’s Soccer Aid, BT is a trusted partner to almost every charity running a nationally broadcast telethon – not to mention disaster relief telethons like the 2015 Nepal earthquake appeal which helped raise £18m for those affected.

With donations coming via call, SMS or online, the complexity of the technology behind a telethon is mind-boggling. But what exactly is the behind the scenes prep that goes on to make these record-breaking fundraising events so successful?

Call centre donations

Resourcing the call centres that man the phones is the first hurdle to overcome in the race to telethon night. In partnership with other big businesses with call centre expertise, BT is responsible for recruiting all telethon call centre volunteers.

Behind the scenes of the buzzing call centres you see on the telly, BT operates the telephone network infrastructure to ensure that local call centres across the country receive the thousands of calls coming in. All costs associated with setting up and running a call centre will be borne by BT.

A specialist in-bound call services team designs a call plan to determine when and how calls get to the different call centres. This helps to balance the calls to the right volume at the right place. On top of routing calls, BT undertakes constant and thorough network monitoring to ensure nothing is blocking the flow of calls on its network – or if it is, BT can react extremely quickly.

As well as being a public fundraising platform, MyDonate is the web based interface that captures donations made by phone. Volunteers answer calls from members of the public and process their donation through MyDonate. Even if lines get busy, BT supports a back-up automation service which enables people to simply press a few numbers to donate – to capture every last pound.

Online donations

Those who chose to donate online during a telethon might not have realised that MyDonate powers the online donation page. BT works with charities like Children in Need to create a custom branded donation page that looks and feels like the charity’s existing website but donors are redirected to MyDonate – the back-end supporting system. The high capacity branded webpage is made to handle enormous volumes of traffic and transactions.

BT MyDonate processes all donations made online or over the phone via the BT Safe Pay secure payment gateway. This service has the highest security certificates and processes more than 35 million transactions each year, worth over £2.5 billion, for various charities and businesses.

BT MyDonate supports charities with their appeals; the service is robust, easy to set up and has helped thousands of charities reach their fundraising goals – with no set-up fees or commission.

If your charity has thought about running a telethon in 2017, get in touch with the MyDonate team for a confidential discussion via our online form, or click here for information about all the other services BT offers to charities.

MyDonate is not responsible for the content fundraisers post on their pages, but if you see something you feel is offensive or inappropriate, please let us know