Arrk delivers for Virgin Money Giving

Virgin Money uses Arrk’s global delivery expertise to build an online charity donation and payment portal, underpinning the launch of Virgin Money Giving, a new global not-for-profit organization and associated sponsorship of the London Marathon.


Virgin Money is part of Virgin Group Limited, headed by world famous entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, it comprises around 400 companies across the globe. An extension of Virgin Money, Virgin Money Giving is a not-for-profit organisation which allows users to fundraise for charities and/or make safe and secure online charitable donations.

Part of Virgin Group Limited

Around 400 companies across the globe

Virgin Money Giving is a not-for-profit organisation

Allows users to fundraise for charities and make charitable donations


To support its sponsorship of the London Marathon 2010, Virgin Money Giving looked at providing an online method by which fundraisers and charities could raise money via the marathon and any other event. The competition in the online fundraising marketplace is made up of profitmaking companies who charge a significant percentage of the transaction value as funds are collected. Virgin Money Giving required a solution which offered better features, but provided at a lower cost to charities and would operate as a true ‘not-for-profit’ organization. The end result being a higher percentage of the funds raised would go to the charities.

The London Marathon, founded in 1981, is one of the biggest mass participant long distance races in the world. Aside from the elite runners, most participants use the event to raise vital funds for charities.

New system required the creation of multiple user journeys

Costs had to be strictly controlled to retain Not-for-profit status

Extremely tight unmovable deadlines due to high profile launch

Highly competitive fundraising marketplace

“The EmbArrk created an environment that allowed the whole VMG team to have a voice and to be involved in defining the future of our business. Colleagues from all the different areas, from Management to helpdesk, account management, marketing and IT were able to come together to work as one team to design the new customer journey. Colleagues embraced the opportunity to be creative and to make a difference, appreciating the opportunity to work with different areas of the business. The process has left a more unified team that feel empowered and more engaged”

Alex Heasley - Commercial Director


The detailed requirements analysis and design phase was composed of a joint team between Arrk Group, Virgin Money and their consultant analysts, Opsera.

Focusing on key user journeys for the charity, fundraiser and donor, along with associated back office support, the requirements included the ability to provide a secure online payments system, being able to accurately validate credit card transactions, and seamlessly integrate with third party financial accounting packages and other software. The system also need a facility to capture donor and fundraiser personal details as well as providing a simple way for registering charities.

A process of continuous integration ensured that multiple teams operating from different locations, on and offshore, collaborated efficiently and effectively.

To reduce both upfront and ongoing operational costs, the architecture was based on a stack of Open Source components, ensuring that the platform would be secure, scalable and robust as an equivalent proprietary based solution.

Open source tools used to deliver cost saving

Seamless integration with multiple systems

Secure online payments system with full audit trail

Distributed team model provided resource flexibility


Virgin Money Giving launched in time for the London Marathon 2010 and the start of Virgin’s sponsorship of the global event. The solution provided Virgin Money Giving with a cost effective, Open Source and future proofed online fundraising platform, by utilising Arrk Group’s hybrid Agile delivery model. The project also met the fundamental objective of minimising operating costs and therefore maximizing revenue for charities. In fact, for every £100m raised in charitable donations, Virgin Money Giving provides an additional £5m in donations when compared with alternative online fundraising ‘for profit’ websites.

Project was successfully delivered on time and to budget

Solution generated an extra £5m for every £100m raised compared to alternatives

The system was fully scalable, maintainable and flexible to meet future needs


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