Cat Survival Trust Backend CMS solution, hosted in Azure

The charity is in its 45th year of operation and has ambitious plans to expand it's operation as the threats to cats across the planet increases, habitats diminish and the illegal trade in wildlife, continues unabated.

How can charity software development provide help to those in need?

For charities running donation-based eCommerce web applications, especially those focused on saving endangered animals, it's vital to ensure operational continuity, security, and an engaging donor experience. Relying heavily on a single web application solution can pose risks, including potential service interruptions, security vulnerabilities, and limitations in functionality that might impede fundraising efforts. Here are strategies to mitigate reliance on a single donation-based eCommerce solution:

  1. Exploring Multiple Platform Options: Regularly assess and compare various eCommerce platforms that support donation-based operations. Look for features that cater specifically to nonprofits, such as gift aid processing, recurring donations, and donor management tools. Keeping abreast of new technologies and platforms can help identify more efficient or cost-effective solutions.
  2. Developing a Customizable and Scalable Platform: Investing in the development of a customizable web application can offer greater control over features, security, and the donor experience. Ensure the platform is scalable to adapt to the charity’s growth and the changing landscape of online donations.
  3. Implementing Modular Design Principles: Building the web application with modular design principles allows for easy addition or modification of features without overhauling the entire system. This approach can accommodate evolving fundraising strategies and integrate new tools as they become available.
  4. Ensuring Data Portability and Interoperability: Prioritize solutions that offer data portability and are interoperable with other systems. This flexibility ensures that donor data can be securely transferred if needed, whether for analytical purposes, enhanced donor engagement, or transitioning to a new platform.
  5. Establishing Robust Data Backup and Recovery Systems: Secure, regular backups of all donor data and transaction records are essential. A clearly defined and routinely tested data recovery plan ensures that the charity can quickly resume operations after a software failure or data loss incident.
  6. Engaging in Vendor Management and Due Diligence: When relying on third-party solutions, conduct thorough due diligence on vendors, focusing on their stability, security measures, and support for nonprofits. Establish clear service level agreements (SLAs) that define expectations and remedies for service disruptions.
  7. Diversifying Donation Channels: While the web application may be a primary channel for donations, diversifying fundraising efforts across multiple channels (e.g., social media, crowdfunding platforms, direct mail) can reduce reliance on a single source and engage a broader donor base.
  8. Fostering a Community of Supporters: Building a strong community around the charity's cause can help sustain funding through various means beyond the web application. Engaging content, regular updates on the impact of donations, and community-building activities can encourage recurring donations and word-of-mouth promotion.
  9. Regular Security Assessments and Compliance Checks: Ensure that the web application and any third-party platforms comply with the latest security standards and legal requirements for data protection. Regular security audits can help identify vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.
  10. Transparent Communication with Donors: Keep donors informed about how their contributions are used and any changes to the donation platform. Transparency fosters trust and can encourage continued support, even if operational changes are necessary.

The Challenge

Daily, there is incursion into habitats which are destroyed as we increasingly encroach upon the earth. New ways need to be found so that we can coexist with species that are simply being displaced by our activity, a position that need not be the case.

The Cats Survival Trust recognises the value of the Wildcats of the world. We also
recognise the inextricable links that cats place in the food chain across a whole range of natural habitats. Their role as apex predator however is being usurped as humankind increasingly encroaches upon natural habitats and now many species around the world face extinction.

The Cats Survival Trust is a relatively unique charity with very low-cost overheads but however efficient, all charities need financial support. For years they have relied on almost entirely voluntary support. They don’t tolerate expensive overheads, chief executive salaries or board positions and this isn’t going to change any time soon.

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Almost the help the trust receives externally goes directly to what it was designed to do, to support the cats, take the mission forward and get the message out.

Preserving Wildcats and Their Habitats

The Cats Survival Trust faced the challenge of protecting wildcat species and their habitats in a world where human incursions into these habitats are on the rise. As we encroach upon the earth, natural habitats are being destroyed, displacing species that play crucial roles in various ecosystems. The trust recognized the value of wildcats globally and the vital role they play in food chains across diverse natural habitats. However, the role of wildcats as apex predators is increasingly threatened as humankind continues to encroach upon these habitats, pushing many species closer to extinction.

Despite their unique approach with low-cost overheads, the trust required financial support to continue their mission. They had a longstanding reliance on voluntary support and were committed to maintaining minimal overhead costs, avoiding expensive executive salaries and board positions. The challenge was to find a solution to support the trust's work effectively while preserving its efficient and cost-effective operation.

The Solution

The trust reached out to us to design and build an eCommerce solution and supporting website to support charitable donations, raise awareness and deliver a clear and honest message about how important the work is that they do for the preservation of rainforest and the welfare of these precious animals.

Assemblysoft's Approach in Building an eCommerce Solution and Website

Assemblysoft partnered with the Cats Survival Trust to design and develop a comprehensive solution. The primary goal was to create an eCommerce platform and a website that would facilitate charitable donations, raise awareness about the importance of their mission, and deliver a transparent and honest message to the public.

Key Technical Details:

  • .NET Core-Based CMS: Assemblysoft leveraged .NET Core technology to re-develop the trust's website into a Content Management System (CMS) web application. This technology provided a robust and flexible foundation for the website's functionality.
  • Orchard Core: The website was built using Orchard Core, a powerful and extensible open-source CMS framework. This choice allowed for the creation of a user-friendly and dynamic website.
  • Microsoft Azure: The trust's website and eCommerce solution were hosted on Microsoft Azure, ensuring scalability, security, and reliability.
  • User Experience (UX) Driven Design: Assemblysoft's approach emphasized user experience (UX) to ensure that the website effectively conveyed the trust's mission, facilitated donations, and engaged visitors.

The Result

Business Benefits and Observations

The collaboration between the Cats Survival Trust and Assemblysoft produced several notable results:

  1. Enhanced Online Presence: The trust's website and eCommerce platform provided a prominent online presence, raising awareness and encouraging charitable donations.
  2. Transparent Messaging: The website effectively communicated the importance of preserving rainforests and protecting wildcats, delivering a clear and honest message to the public.
  3. Sustainable Operation: Despite the need for financial support, the trust continued to operate efficiently with minimal overhead costs, ensuring that external help directly supported their mission.
  4. UX-Driven Design: The user-friendly design facilitated engagement and donations from visitors interested in supporting the trust's cause.

Having worked through some great design concepts and ideas driven by the User Experience (UX), we are currently in the phase we really excel at, the development and build.

The Cats Survival Trust's commitment to preserving wildcats and their habitats is more critical than ever. If you are passionate about wildlife conservation and want to support their mission, visit their website to learn more and make a charitable donation. Assemblysoft's expertise in .NET Core, Orchard Core, and Microsoft Azure can help organizations like the Cats Survival Trust effectively convey their message and engage with supporters.

At Assemblysoft we specialise in Custom Software Development tailored to your requirements. We can onboard and add value to your business rapidly. We are an experienced Full-stack development team able to provide specific technical expertise or manage your project requirements end to end. We specialise in the Microsoft cloud and .NET Solutions and Services. Our developers are Microsoft Certified. We have real-world experience developing .NET applications and Azure Services for a large array of business domains. If you would like some assistance with Azure | Azure DevOps Services | Blazor Development | .NET MAUI Development or in need of custom software development, from an experienced development team in the United Kingdom, then please get in touch, we would love to add immediate value to your business.

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