In late 2010, BT was approached by The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry to develop and host a Charitable Gift Fund website for the marriage of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton. The project came about because the royal couple wanted to encourage people wishing to give them gifts to donate the money to carefully chosen charities instead. Thus, the idea for www.royalweddingcharityfund.org
BT Engage IT, the IT services division of BT, was chosen to lead the project because it required speed and agility in order ensure that the website be ready to launch by mid March – the project had an immovable date of March 18, 2011, by which the site had to go live.
To ensure the efficiency of the project, the BT Engage IT team liaised with Nick Booth, the Chief Executive of The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry on a weekly basis. They supplied all of the hardware and provided all of the connectivity behind the service, including bandwidth for the website itself and dedicated hosting provision from its data centres.
The website was further developed in conjunction with BT’s e-Donate online system, which was to be used to record transactions, and BT Buynet which would ensure the secure processing of credit and debit card donations received online or over the phone.
The site was finally commissioned on March 3, 2011 and the team then spent most of the following weekend fully end-to-end testing it and ensuring that the payments were processed through the web, text and IVR, and testing links to Twitter and Facebook. There was also a full stress test conducted with 20,000 concurrent users.
Following the intensive and exhaustive testing period, the site then went live on 16 March 2011, and was supported by the service desk and BT Engage IT’s 24/7 team throughout the period to May 31, 2011, when it was decommissioned.
Donations, via the website, were possible in six currencies, and could also be made by telephone, by text message or by sending a cheque. In total £1,058,367 was contributed to the Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund, which will go to benefit the 26 charities personally chosen by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The funds will be distributed amongst the charities by The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry.