Bloomerang + Zapier: Automating PayPal Donations [Webinar]

Your Bloomerang database is the central donor management and fundraising platform for your organization, but Bloomerang likely isn’t the only app that you use day to day. We believe Bloomerang is your central system and that integrations supplement your Bloomerang database. Automation should start from a lens that Bloomerang is core to your donor management and fundraising technology.

Bloomerang is now connected to Zapier and Zapier connects to 3,000+ other apps, including PayPal. The combination of Bloomerang and Zapier offers an all-in-one integration platform for automating your day to day workflows.

The goal of this webinar is to show you how integrating PayPal with Bloomerang using Zapier can streamline data entry, save time, and reduce effort.

During this webinar, we will:

  • Introduce Bloomerang + Zapier, how they work together, and why Zapier integrations are a key feature of your Bloomerang system and fundraising strategy
  • Explore and demonstrate how you can use the Bloomerang Zapier app to…
    • Sync donations from PayPal to Bloomerang
    • Dynamically code the Fund, Campaign, and/or Appeal in Bloomerang


Webinar transcript (not including Q&A):
Good afternoon, and welcome to Bloomerang Academy! Thank you for joining us. My name is Diana Otero, and I am the Product Engagement Manager at Bloomerang. You might recognize me from attending Bloomerang Academy classes or listening to our release and help videos.

Today, we’re talking about “Bloomerang + Zapier: Automating Donations from PayPal to Bloomerang.”


I’d like to introduce our presenter today, Jessie Gilchrist. Jessie is a Zapier Certified Expert and Bloomerang Integrations Consultant at Sidekick Solutions. Sidekick Solutions is a Bloomerang Partner, specializing in system automations for Bloomerang. Sidekick Solutions has been a Bloomerang user since 2013 and most recently was part of the Bloomerang team that launched the Bloomerang Zapier app, which is a key component of today’s webinar.

We’re excited to have Jessie here today to share her expertise and explore how you can use the Bloomerang Zapier app with PayPal to automate entry of donations processed by PayPal.

Thank you Diana. Hello everyone! It’s great to be here.


The goal of today’s webinar is to show how a Bloomerang integration with PayPal using Zapier can support your fundraising efforts by reducing the time spent performing data entry and ensure consistency across donation coding in Bloomerang.

Our webinar today will…

  • Introduce Bloomerang + Zapier, how they work together, and why Zapier integrations are a key feature of your Bloomerang system and fundraising strategy
  • Explore and demonstrate how you can use the Bloomerang Zapier app to…
    • Sync donations from PayPal to Bloomerang
    • Dynamically code the Fund, Campaign, and/or Appeal in Bloomerang

We have demos throughout the webinar to show you how to set up these automations for your organization!

As Diana mentioned, feel free to submit any questions during the presentation. We’ll take a couple of breaks to answer questions and then open up for more questions at the end.

Alright, let’s dive in.


First, we want to do a quick poll to see how many are using Zapier and using it with Bloomerang.


Thank you for that feedback. Since we have a few of you that are new to Zapier, let’s start with a high level overview of “what is Zapier” and why we believe it is a key feature of your Bloomerang system and fundraising strategy.

You might be wondering why we are talking about Zapier, when this presentation is about Bloomerang and PayPal. That’s a fair question. And it offers an exciting answer.


Zapier is the software that enables additional Bloomerang integration and fundraising opportunities. It’s a middleware that sits in between your Bloomerang database and other apps like PayPal, helping them “talk” to each other.

Zapier is automation software. With Zapier, you can build one integration or many, automating hundreds of tasks around your Bloomerang system within a single platform.

So, why get excited about Bloomerang Zapier integrations?


Three reasons…

First and most important, Zapier connects to 3,000+ other apps. Any apps in Zapier’s directory can be connected to Bloomerang. If it’s on Zapier’s list it can be integrated with Bloomerang. That includes PayPal!

Second, Zapier was designed for anyone to build integrations. You don’t need to know how to code to build Zaps. Anyone can build and maintain a Zap. We’re going to walk through some builds today so you can get a feel for what that process looks like.

Third, Zapier enables custom integrations. You aren’t limited to one-size fits all workflows, mapping, or formatting. You can build integrations that are perfect for your organization and your workflows.

Now, let’s dive into how you can connect your PayPal account to Zapier.


In order to sync donations from PayPal to Bloomerang, we first need to connect both of these apps to Zapier.

Let’s start with Bloomerang.


If you’ve used Zapier before, Bloomerang connects to Zapier in much the same way as other apps.

  • To connect Bloomerang to Zapier, log into Zapier and click My Apps.
  • Then, click Add Connection and search for Bloomerang.
  • A window will pop open to authenticate your Bloomerang account. If you’re already logged into your Bloomerang account, it will show which user is logged in and ask you to Grant Access. To grant access under a different user, click “Log Out” and then enter the username and password before selecting “Grant Access”. As a best practice, we recommend creating a “Zapier” user in your Bloomerang database. This will future proof your sync. If you connect a specific user’s account to Zapier, you may experience issues if that user is deactivated or deleted in the future.

Connecting PayPal is a more complicated, two-step process. The first step is in Zapier and the second is in PayPal.

  • To start, we need to begin building our Zap with our PayPal trigger. Select make a Zap. Zaps are workflows in Zapier and each Zap starts with a trigger. A trigger is an event that happens in one app. The trigger prompts the integration to run.
  • We are going to search for and select PayPal as our app. And we’ll select Successful Sale as our trigger action. You’ll see that there are two Successful Sale options in PayPal. For this demonstration we are building a standard sync and do not need the version with line item support. The trigger will only start the workflow for successfully completed payments.
  • Once we select our trigger Zapier provides us with a webhook URL for PayPal. We are going to click “Copy”.

Webhooks are one way that apps can send automated messages or information to other apps. To put it as simply as possible, the Webhook URL is how PayPal tells Zapier when a donation/payment is made. Everytime we have a successful sale in PayPal, the Webhook URL allows PayPal to send a payload of data about the transaction to Zapier. We then are able to use that data to find/create constituents and create donations in Bloomerang.

Now that we have our Webhook URL, we need to add it into PayPal’s Instant Payment Notification (IPN). IPN is a PayPal feature that sends data about new payments from PayPal to our desired target app. In this case, it is Zapier.

  • The easiest way to add our Webhook URL into PayPal’s IPN settings is to click the hyperlinked “PayPal IPN Settings” below the Webhook URL in Zapier. This will prompt us to log into PayPal and automatically direct us to our IPN Settings page. If you need to access this from PayPal directly, go to the Account Settings Page, select Notifications, and then Update next to Instant Payment Notifications.
  • We will click Choose IPN Settings and paste our Webhook URL into the Notification URL.
  • Update the IPN Messages to “Receive IPN messages (Enabled)” and click Save.

This Notification URL serves as a global setting for your PayPal account. However, PayPal also allows you to set different Notification URLs for donation buttons. If you use PayPal donation buttons, do not set a button-level notification URL or donations made via that button will likely be missed. Meaning, they will not trigger your Zapier workflow.


Now that we’ve connected our Webhook URL to PayPal via the IPN settings, we can set up our sync of donations from PayPal to Bloomerang.


When syncing donations from PayPal to Bloomerang, there are two primary steps. First, we need to find or create the constituent in Bloomerang. Then, we want to create a donation on the timeline for the found or created constituent.


Now, let’s hop into Zapier and set up our Zap.

  • I’m going back to the trigger I used to connect PayPal and Zapier. Our next step is to test our trigger and generate sample data. This will return recent successful sales. Or, if you don’t have any transaction history in PayPal, it will return a dummy data to help with mapping. The sample data will not run through the integration because it was created before the integration is turned on. Zap triggers only run in real time.
  • One item to note before we move forward. Many organizations that use PayPal donation buttons allow donors the option to set up a recurring donation. If you provide this option, the Successful Sale trigger will fire for each installment of the recurring donation. The standard sync we are going to demo here today will only create donations on a constituent’s timeline, not a recurring donation payment.
  • Once we have the sample data, we can move forward with creating our Bloomerang actions. We’ll add our first action to find or create a constituent in Bloomerang for the donor. We’ll select the Bloomerang app and the Find Constituent action. We’ll select a Type of Individual.
  • Next, map the donor’s first name, last name, and email to the appropriate fields in the search from the PayPal trigger. You may configure your PayPal button to collect address information, but this is not required. If you do collect address details, you can also map the address here to improve the constituent search.
  • We’ll leave the constituent’s cumulative giving and household information field blank as we don’t need the search to return this data.
  • We need to check the box at the bottom to create a constituent in Bloomerang if one is not found in the search. We’ll map the donor’s first name, last name, and email to the appropriate fields to create a constituent. When mapping any contact information in the Create Constituent section, we need to select the Type. We are going to set this to Home as most constituents will provide their personal email when donating.
  • Now we’ll click Test & Run to confirm this action is configured appropriately. You’ll see that once we test, a second payload of data will be returned for the found/created constituent. We’ll need this in our Create Donation step.
  • Before we can create our donation, we need to format the date of the donation from PayPal. Every app has its own “preferred” format for dates and Bloomerang works best with YYYY-MM-DD. To convert the Payment Date to this format, we’ll click the plus “+” to add another action. We’ll search and select the Formatter by Zapier app.
  • Then, select Date/Time as our action event. We want to Format the date, not Add/Subtract time. We’ll click in the Input field and select the Payment Date from our Successful Sale in PayPal trigger. Then, we’ll set out To Format as YYYY-MM-DD. Once we click continue, we can test this step and confirm or output is formatted correctly. We’ll use this in our Create Donation action.
  • Next, we need to click the plus “+” to add another action. We’ll search and select Bloomerang again. But this time we’ll select Create Donation as our action event.
  • Then, we’ll map…
    • Constituent ID from the Find/Create Constituent test to the Constituent field
    • Date from our Formatter
    • Mc Gross to Amount
  • Since this standard sync is assuming we’re only accepting donations to a single purpose, we’ll hardcode the Fund, Campaign, and Appeal. We are going to use Unrestricted, Annual Campaign, and Online Donations. We’ll cover dynamic mapping for these fields here in a minute.
  • We also recommend setting up two custom fields to support this sync. The first is Transaction Source. This is configured as a “Pick 1” field and we will use this to code the transaction with “PayPal”. The second field is a “Type It In” field where we will map the Txn ID from PayPal. This serves as a linking reference to the transaction in PayPal.
  • Now, we are done editing and can turn on the Zap.

Normally in these Bloomerang Academy webinars we do a “live” demonstration of the Zap. However, it can occasionally take a few minutes for a new transaction in PayPal to be updated as a “Successful Sale” and trigger a Zap. Therefore, I am going to show you how a donation we processed a few days ago in PayPal looks in Bloomerang.


Before we move on, let’s take a quick break for any questions.


The workflow we just showcased is a simple, standard sync when you’re only collecting donations via PayPal for a single purpose. However, this is rarely the case.

Many organizations that use PayPal collect donations for a variety of purposes and PayPal’s donation buttons can be designed to allow the donor to select which program/purpose to direct their funds. This can be an easy way to provide donors with greater control over the impact of their donation.


Let’s hop over to PayPal to show you how to add this option on a PayPal button.

  • On the top menu click Pay & Get Paid, then select Donations.
  • If you have any existing Donation buttons, they’ll show up on this page. If you don’t have a button set up yet, you can click on Custom Donation Experience to open the editor.
  • We are going to open our existing donation button by clicking “Manage”. Then, we’ll choose to Edit the donate button.
  • We’re going to go to Step 2 of 4 and toggle “Let your donors choose specific programs for their donations?” to “Yes”. Then, we can enter the programs/purposes we want our donors to be able to choose from when making an online donation. The list of options can change over time, as needed.


Now that we’ve made our PayPal donation button more dynamic, we also need to make the coding on the donation in Bloomerang more dynamic. By adding in lookup steps in the standard sync we just demoed, we can dynamically code the Fund, Campaign, and/or Appeal on the donation in Bloomerang.


For this demonstration today, we are going to add lookup steps for the Fund and Campaign only, and will hardcode the Appeal as “Online Donations.

Let’s hop into Zapier and set up our lookups:

  • We are going to open the standard sync Zap and click the plus “+” after the date formatter step.
  • We want to search and select the Formatter by Zapier app again. We’ll select an Action Event of “Utilities” this time.
  • We want to select Lookup Table as the Transform type.
  • Select “Item Number” as our Input Value. This is the field where the program/purpose is returned in the Successful Sale Zap
  • Then, we’ll enter the Programs from our donate button on the left and the corresponding Bloomerang Fund we want to assign on the right.
    • Where it’s needed most > Unrestricted
    • Capital Campaign > Building Fund
    • Student Sponsorships > Temporarily Restricted
  • We can enter a fallback value as well, which would be the Fund assigned in Bloomerang IF the program/purpose isn’t found in the lookup. We recommend creating a “Default” Fund in Bloomerang for this purpose and set up a scheduled report of donations with this Fund to be delivered weekly for data quality review.
  • Now, we’ll click Test & Run to confirm the output.
  • Next, we’ll add another formatter the same as the one we just built for Fund. The only difference is that this time we’ll identify the Campaign that should be assigned to each program/purpose on our donate button.
    • Where it’s needed most > Annual Campaign
    • Capital Campaign > Capital
    • Student Sponsorships > Sponsorships
  • Same as the Fund lookup, we recommend creating a “Default” Campaign in Bloomerang and setting up a weekly data quality report.
  • We’ll click Test & Run to confirm the output.
  • Now we need to make a couple minor changes to the Create Donation action. We’ll remove the hardcoding on the Fund and Campaign and instead map the output from our formatter steps as a custom value.
  • Once we make this change, we can turn our Zap on.


The workflow we’ve demoed today is considered a standard sync designed to support a sync of donations made via a PayPal donation button. However, PayPal is often connected to other apps, such as online forms, eCommerce stores, fundraising platforms, etc.

The workflow today is the base of any PayPal sync, but it can be expanded to support more advanced use cases such as:

  • Line item support for multi-item purchases/payments
  • Trigger multiple workflows from single PayPal donation to — accommodates different mapping rules for different types of transactions
  • Filter out donations from Fundraise Up when native integration with Bloomerang is leveraged — can also be explored for other platforms


To wrap up today’s presentation, I’ll leave you with a few thoughts on the power of Bloomerang integrations with Zapier.

We believe Bloomerang is your central system and that integrations supplement your Bloomerang database. Data entry, reporting, and automation should start from a lens that Bloomerang is core to your donor management and fundraising technology.

PayPal and Zapier supplement and extend the power of Bloomerang. They don’t replace it. By syncing donations made via PayPal to Bloomerang, you can save time, resources, energy, and more. Spend less time performing data entry and more time focusing on your mission and cultivating donors.


Next step is getting started.

  • Sign up for a Zapier account, it’s free with a trial and free up to certain limits, nonprofits get a discount
  • Connect your Bloomerang and PayPal accounts to Zapier
  • Set up the standard PayPal sync.
  • Turn on your Zap and monitor it, watch as tasks queue in your task history, resolve errors and high-five for successes


Thank you for attending today.

Again, my name is Jessie Gilchrist. My email is here and my door is always open.


If you’d like to work with a consultant to set up Zaps or develop a custom Bloomerang integration to address a unique use case, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

I will hand it off to Diana for a quick poll before we open up for more questions.


Would you like a follow-up about consulting services to set up Bloomerang integrations?


Let’s take a few final questions.

Thank you to everyone for joining us today. We, at Bloomerang, are very excited for the extended capabilities through Zapier. We’re very excited to see where all of you will take it. Zapier enables integration with over 2,000 different apps and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what you can do with Bloomerang and Zapier. We hope that you can find a way to automate your processes and work better with Bloomerang using Zapier.

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