About the Client
ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty. The inspiring team who work for ActionAid on a local level are dedicated to changing the world for women and girls across 40 different countries to fight for social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication.
ActionAid, which is not government funded, relies solely on the donations given to it by the public. Consequently, fundraising events and website donations, are a critical part of the donations strategy.
About The Project
The ActionAid websites have multiple purposes. It’s where they set out their vision and mission, showcase the work they carry out around the world and demonstrate to visitors how their support improves the lives of women and girls living in poverty. It’s a hub for information, for policy, for campaigns and events; a space where women and girls in some of the poorest communities can tell their stories, through words, images and rich media.
The site also provides a channel for financial support. They have seen a significant increase in their supporters choosing to give online – either cash donations, regular gifts or child sponsorship. Their current website set up utilised three different platforms for processing these donations:
- Drupal (main website)
- Magento (Donation checkout site)
- A custom application built with Zend PHP framework (Gifts in Action site)
Each site had a different purpose and each CMS was once chosen for its individual benefits. These sites all have different functions:
- The main website, where you can find out about their work and read about how your donations make a difference in all four corners of the world.
- The donation site, to safely and securely donate..
- The gifts in action page, choose a ‘gift’ such as school uniforms, health supplies or even a goat!
Over time and as ActionAid has gone from strength to strength, it’s become more challenging to manage multiple platforms. As a charity, resources are limited as they want their funds to go towards their cause.
As with all charities currently, their resources are being stretched often too thinly. For ActionAid, their internal support and maintenance team consisted of just one developer. With three websites to maintain, support, repair, and keep up to date, a simpler solution was needed.
The world works in mysterious ways, and with the pandemic that forced the world into lockdown in 2020, donations began to sink and ActionAid, along with so many others, had a challenge on it’s hands.
Nonetheless, the plans they had to change their website and streamline their processes still needed to go ahead but with a guarantee of being completed within budget and time constraints.
We’ve worked with ActionAid for a number of years and over time, we’ve built up a relationship with them as a client. Knowing their websites and priorities, the glove fit perfectly for us to be commissioned to work across the three sites.
We were brought in to complete a three-stage project under tight budgets and timescales.. Due to our relationship with ActionAid, there was no need to familiarise ourselves with their websites so we were able to hit the ground running from day one
We upgraded their website from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 as the end of life deadline was approaching, this meant they could also improve user experience on the website.
Their Stripe payment integration required updating before the end of life deadline; they have now moved over to the new Stripe Checkout API.
Their ‘Gift in Action’ site has migrated to Drupal, for a seamless experience, ironing out the inconsistencies whilst helping the internal team to work more efficiently across multiple technologies.
ActionAid has a global audience that they work with and receive donations from. Over time, they’ve grown bigger and their online presence was split into three sites built on three different CMSs. With only a team of one working behind the scenes to keep up with the changes of each domain, in addition to the day to day maintenance and support of the site, there was a need for a third party to be brought in.
With the help of an agency, working as an extension of their team, ActionAid wanted to streamline their website eventually, into just one platform. There were some initial problems to be resolved before this could be possible, such as upgrading the version of payment processor, Stripe, and migrating their Drupal website onto a newer version before both elements hit their end of life.
This end goal of using just one website would help with their stretched resourcing to maintain the website as well as cut costs and ultimately, improve customer experience when using the website.
Our team worked alongside the developer from ActionAid to deliver the project and upskill along the way, becoming a delivery member project managed under our team through the process. Eventually, the ActionAid site will be moved completely over to one CMS to completely cut costs and workload for the team, however, with the time restraints on a lot of the features, CMS’s and their internal teams time, we’ve had to roadmap our way through to that end goal.
First up was to upgrade their Drupal 7 website to Drupal 8. Drupal 7 is shortly reaching its end of life, so the move was made to make sure the website is kept secure for their website visitors and to provide a better user experience. The move to Drupal 8 comes with some challenges that weren’t part of previous updates Drupal has released, and so our team got straight to work on building repeatable content migrations that would ultimately be used to safely move the majority of the content over to the new site.
Next up was their Stripe integration. The version of the API in use was reaching its end of life and needed to be upgraded. Stripe powers their donations page therefore it was crucial we updated to the latest version to make sure the security features such as 2-factor authentication was enabled, for the best and safest user experience possible.
Making sure that the website visitors have a seamless experience is really important, especially through times like 2020 when online donation was the only way for the charity to continue to carry out the work they do. With no means of being able to do their usual fundraising activities, it really was vital to the success of the charity to make this work well.