Greater global digital governance drives donations.

WaterAid / Sam James

The Client

WaterAid is an international non-profit organisation that helps transform lives by getting water, toilets and hygiene to people living without these basic human rights.

To date, WaterAid’s Federation has seven members: Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Sweden, the UK and the US and works in 28 countries (35 countries in total).

It was established in 1981 by the UK water industry before becoming an independent charity, and has so far reached 25.8 million people with clean water and 25.1 million with decent toilets. Watch this short video for more on WaterAid.

The Brief

Access was appointed as WaterAid’s global web development partner in 2018 to support the charity with its world-wide digital transformation programme.

WaterAid selected Access not only for the agency’s unrivalled Drupal development capabilities and ability to deliver a flexible web platform on a global scale, but because it could also help WaterAid to unleash the platform’s full potential with industry leading digital design and usability features. 

WaterAid’s core strategy is to streamline and simplify its digital products across the entire Federation – one WaterAid (Federation), one platform. Its members work autonomously and collaboratively across the Federation, and previously this resulted in a variety of disjointed platforms, as well as different codebases and hosting providers. 

The Solution

As an Acquia Preferred Partner, with one of the most experienced Drupal teams in Europe, Access supports WaterAid in getting the most out of its platform and deliver a best practice user experience across its entire digital footprint.

As a multisite platform, Acquia Cloud Site Factory allows WaterAid to efficiently deliver and govern many digital experience websites at global scale, streamlining processes and centralising more operations. It has one codebase with many databases.

Drupal was the technology of choice as it was open source, with no licence fees and a first class editor experience.

The solution has allowed WaterAid to create new sites with ease. It now has 13 sites on the Acquia Cloud Site Factory platform, all of which have active content changes and that can facilitate donations.

By splitting the sites into members or country programmes, WaterAid can segment the sites into regions and languages without having to use multilingual or any complex multilingual role and permissions.

Access acts as the gatekeeper of the platforms – ultimately responsible for code going into production – but the solution also allows member sites to use local providers to create things for their site. The centralised team then simply reviews features and reliably adds them to the sites.

While making configuration changes across 13 sites can be challenging,  the configuration splits have been set up in such a way that the difference between the sites is minimal. This means maintenance and updates to the platform can be implemented away from the live site and locally tested and deployed safely.

The Results

Access’ partnership with WaterAid has allowed the charity to thrive.

Improved Conversion - Mobile conversion rate is up 244% and overall conversion is up 63% compared to the previous website. Bounce rate has reduced by 8%

Faster - The sites are much faster which is delivering a much better user experience for all; average page download speed has reduced by 71% and sites are being spun in around half a day compared to weeks on the previous platforms

Flexibility - WaterAid has much more flexibility with forms and more advanced data capture capabilities

Cost effective - The new solution has even enabled WaterAid to give an enterprise level quality solution to a small team in Malawi, at a cost they could afford

Increased efficiencies – The streamlining of processes means WaterAid achieves better compliance and sites are easier to govern.  There is a much faster turnaround on bug reporting and change requests, teams are also able to share documentation, training guides and there is collaborative code sharing across all developers. 

The Testimonial

"Working with Access with its unrivalled experience of Acquia’s products, as well as other third party suppliers, has been instrumental in the effective deployment of our new platform and our ongoing success as a charity overall. Enhancing our digital capabilities has not only delivered a significant uplift in donations but has streamlined our highly complex global operations."

They’ve been able to advise on some quite tough decisions, but because of their experience and our shared goals, the right solutions have been applied.

Isabel Glover, WaterAid’s Digital Product Manager

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