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Spanish Association Against Cancer - AECC

Drupal Commerce with a customized donation flow

Drupal 7
Form API
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An imaginative fundraising tool for cancer research.

Over half a century of fighting cancer

The Spanish Association Against Cancer is a non-profit charitable organization. Founded in 1953 by José Biosca, the foundation is composed of patients, family members, volunteers and professionals who work to prevent, raise awareness, accompany people, and finance oncology research projects that will lead to a better diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

With more than 52 offices distributed throughout Spain, the AECC is a fundamental part of the assistance provided to patients and their families. This strong implantation also translates into an important online presence, where the AECC owns a whole ecosystem of specialized websites ranging from the official website to the Observatory, including the Online Shop.


An original solution for fundraising

One of these specialized minisites is the Mi Reto contra el Cáncer (My Challenge Against Cancer) page, an imaginative solution for making donations to support the Association's public activity. In this page the user (individual or company) can create their own retos (challenges), always related to AECC objectives. In a structure similar to crowdfunding, the challenges receive donations until their objective is achieved, in which case the funds go to the Association.

Since 2015, Metadrop has been in charge of creating, maintaining and updating this minisite.

Solidarity race organized by the AECC

Drupal to the rescue

From the beginning, the project was distinguished by being both small in size and complicated in scope. The website does not present a large number of pages or sections, but the flow of creation, validation, publication and completion of challenges is highly tailored and specific.

In these cases, in Metadrop we know that we need the flexibility, extensibility and resilience of a system like Drupal to be able to grow in unexpected directions and respond to customer needs.


An invisible e-Commerce

The great flexibility of Drupal Commerce allows donations to be managed through this system. In this way, AECC can benefit from all the potentialities of an e-Commerce platform (payment management, security, orders, receipts, etc…) without the web necessarily looking like an online store.

  • Unrestricted donations: Donations have a big difference with traditional e-Commerce: you name its price. Metadrop developed a solution so that the purchase process allows the user to manually enter the desired amount.
  • Goal to be achieved: A Challenge is defined by an objective and a goal quantified in money. In order to be able to measure what the progress is, it is necessary to sum up in real time the donations made and compare them with the goal. We create tools that are capable of making this comparison and translating it into action.
  • Integration with payment gateways: Throughout this project, we have integrated without friction the Realex and Adyen payment gateways.
  • Anonymous users and compliance with the law: The payment system needed to allow completely anonymous donations but, at the same time, to require the entry of personal data if the donation exceeded 100 euros in compliance with the law 10/2010. Metadrop modified the usual flow to adapt it to the current legal requirements in Spain.

A customised flow

The complex and specific flows of challenge creation and donation were undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges of the project. To meet the demands of the client, Metadrop developed the following points:

  • A form that helps the user: Complex forms, if not designed correctly, can end up in high abandonment rates by the user. The process of creating a Challenge requires a series of verifications and choices. Metadrop created a multi-step system that guides the user and is able to react contextually to offer only the right options at any given time.
  • Creation of various types of accounts: The project had to be able to discern between individual users, groups or companies. Throughout the project, and as the requirements varied, Metadrop has developed and evolved several ways to integrate this choice and react according to the type of user.
  • An a priori and a posteriori review system: Systems that allow anybody to create content are unfortunately attractive to trolls, bots and malicious users. The website includes several mitigation and control systems, including the need for the user to validate their account in order to have their Challenge published or, in some types of users, a prior review. The AECC team has access at all times to editing, publishing and deleting content created, as well as detailed and downloadable reports of donations, users and content.
  • Expiration and extension: The introduction of an end date is a key strategy for streamlining campaigns. Challenges expire on a date entered by the user, but that date is also extendable upon user request.
  • Comment... if you can: At first, a requirement of the project was that only donors could leave a comment on the challenge, even if they were anonymous. As this was a very specific use of the commenting system, we had to work on designing a system that would allow this. Today the comments are totally free but they are strongly protected from spam thanks to the use of strategies such as Honeypot or reCaptcha.
A challenge creation page

Automated notifications

Another of the project's cornerstones, which is essential for its smooth running, is the e-mail notification system. On the one hand, the user must be informed at all times of the status of his challenge: publication, progress and expiry date. On the other hand, the AECC team needed to be notified of changes to the website, especially of new challenges and particularly those that require action on their part.

  • Our own e-mail template: The design of the e-mail is managed by Drupal, so we developed our own template based on designs provided by the client to ensure that the e-mails received are optimal in form and content.
  • Automate and forget: None of the mailings have to be programmed or reviewed by the AECC team. Metadrop developed a system by which the user receives automatic notifications related to the creation, publication and expiration of his/her challenge, as well as a link to extend it automatically if objectives weren't yet fulfilled.


A web for two targets

The relationship between Metadrop and AECC goes back to the year 2015, so the website has undergone constant evolution. Perhaps the most radical change has been the separation of what were previously three types of potential users (company, group and individual) into two targets that are served from the same website: individuals (groups or individuals) and companies.

  • Slightly divergent flows: Companies and individuals share the vast majority of functionality but diverge on certain points (such as the categories available for challenges or the need for prior approval) and on the nature of their user and legal data requirements. Instead of duplicating efforts, we intervene in a single flow making it responsive and adaptable to the typology of the current user.
  • Meeting points: These are not, however, two completely separate systems. This mixed system has some specificities, such as the fact that users have two different challenge listing pages (individuals/companies) but the former must be able to list items from the later. The tools provided by Drupal allow us to solve such specific requirements.
Donation process

Attention to detail

As in all our projects, we incorporate everything necessary to ensure the smooth running of a website, down to the last detail.

  • Continuous testing and integration: Our tests protect us from introducing failures or regressions. On pages like Mi Reto Contra el Cáncer, with complex systems that can affect such crucial aspects as fundraising, early detection of problems shines brighter than ever.
  • GDPR compliance: The General Data Protection Regulation requires much more than the cookie banner. At Metadrop we have experience in implementing the GDPR, we advise the customer and develop and implement tools tailored to its needs.
  • Responsive design and constant dialogue with the client: Our designs are responsive (they adapt to mobile and tablet) and, in the case of AECC, we receive mockups and design guidelines but we have the capacity to propose our own alternatives. The redesign of the website published in 2020 is the result of this dialogue.
Desktop version of the "Companies" website

The future

The collaboration between Metadrop and the AECC in this project turns five years in 2020. As we have already highlighted, the Mi Reto Contra el Cáncer website has undergone several changes in design, scope and functionality during this time. At the same time, Metadrop has also been evolving its techniques and good practices and has been incorporating them into the project. 

Today, the My Challenge Against Cancer website is an active part of the ecosystem of websites of the Association and in Metadrop we are ready to continue moving towards new goals.

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