Exploring Bloomerang and Zapier Automations [Webinar]
This webinar was part of a series hosted by Bloomerang, a Sidekick Solutions partner.
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.
Instead of spending hours each month manually entering data between two or more systems or running tedious spreadsheet imports, let Zapier automation do the work for you. Zapier is an automation platform that connects to 5,000+ other apps and offers an all-in-one integration platform for automating your day to day workflows.
During this webinar, you will learn:
- Common automation opportunities for nonprofits
- How to approach full-system automation
- Examples of nonprofit automations
- Why it is important to adopt a continuous improvement model for automation
Click here to download the webinar slides.
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 Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. You might recognize me from attending Bloomerang Academy classes or listening to our release and help videos.
Today, we’re Exploring Bloomerang Automations.
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.
We’re excited to have Jessie here today to share her expertise and explore how integrations with Bloomerang can take your fundraising efforts and donor cultivation to the next level.
Thank you Diana. Hello everyone! It’s great to be here.
Many organizations say that the thought of integrating other apps with their CRM feels overwhelming or unattainable. With the right approach to technology adoption and automation, the integration of apps in your tech stack can be pain-free and result in considerable gains for your organization.
This webinar is the first in a series that will complete an incremental dive into Zapier integrations for Bloomerang. In July, you can join us for Zapier 101 and 201, which will focus on the Bloomerang Zapier app and utilities in Zapier that can be leveraged to customize your integration. And in August, we’re offering an Ask Me Anything style webinar where you can submit your questions about Zapier integrations and get a response from a Bloomerang and Zapier integration expert.
Our hope is that by the end of this webinar series, you’ll see how you can approach automations across your organization and attain outcomes that drive your mission and goals.
Today is the first webinar in this series and we are going to start by setting the stage for what can be accomplished with Bloomerang integrations.
- Explore common automation opportunities for nonprofits
- Discuss how to approach full-system automation
- Look at examples of nonprofit automations
- Review the continuous improvement model for automation
We believe that automated integrations are essential to your donor database. It is common for organizations of all sizes to use other software in addition to their CRM.
While Bloomerang serves as your central donor database, you may need additional tools for:
- Email marketing
- Event coordination
- Online giving
- Major gift pipeline
- Email and calendars
- Tasks and to-dos
- Peer to peer
- Reporting and analytics
- …and even that likely isn’t a comprehensive list.
Integrations can help connect these systems, creating a tech stack that supports your organization and its strategic goals.
There are three primary opportunities for automation in nonprofits that are worth noting.
Eliminate double data entry. Most organizations have a goal of reducing double data entry; we believe it should be eliminated. By eliminating double data entry, organizations can free up time and valuable resources, refocusing on efforts that further their mission and drive fundraising.
Strengthen reporting and improve data quality. The inability to report on desired metrics or poor data quality present unique opportunities for automation. Not only can automation be used to generate dynamic reporting capabilities beyond those presented in a Bloomerang’s reporting utility, but the automation of data entry also improves data quality and, as a result, consistent reporting as it removes the potential for human error.
Expand capability without more human capital/resources. A shortage of human capital and resources is a prime opportunity to explore automation and expand the reach of its people and resources.
When facing challenges with technology, we often see nonprofits go out and search for a new tool and then adapt their work to fit the solution. This often leads to the “square peg and round hole” feeling.
Instead, we encourage you to focus on your mission, strategic plan, and organizational goals, allowing real use-cases to drive the adoption of new tools/apps.
Start by identifying each use case, confirming its alignment with your organizational goals, and defining the experience you want your constituents to have. Then, go to the marketplace to find the tool that best fits the use case and that is integration friendly.
Automations across your tech stack should be approached through a lens that keeps Bloomerang as the central hub of your tech stack.
Data should flow in and out of your Bloomerang database, connecting to other best in class tools your organization uses. This ensures Bloomerang maintains a global record of your constituents’ engagement with your organization and centralizes reporting on constituent activity.
You can see in this illustration how some common apps could be arranged in a tech stack to flow into and out of Bloomerang as a central hub.
When we talk about Bloomerang integrations, there are two types we should differentiate between: native and custom.
Native integrations, often called “direct” integrations, are built within your Bloomerang software. These are often the most user-friendly form of integration and offer a standardized sync of data between two systems. We would consider these “templated” integrations. Meaning, there is little room for customization. Some popular native integrations with Bloomerang include QuickBooks Online, Mailchimp, and Fundraise Up.
The other option is pursuing custom integrations using the Bloomerang app in Zapier. 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, helping them “talk” to each other.
Bloomerang continues to expand its suite of native integrations, but may not connect with apps that meet your use case or the native integration is too limited. Zapier is the solution to these challenges.
There are three primary reasons custom integrations with Zapier are a value-add for your organization.
Zapier connects to 4,000+ other apps. Any apps in Zapier’s directory can be connected with any other app in the directory.
Zapier was designed for anyone to build integrations. You don’t need to know how to code to build Zaps.
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. Make sure to check out the upcoming Zapier 201 webinar for a deeper dive into how you can customize your Zapier automations.
Before we move on to talking about popular integrations, we’d like to do a quick poll to see how many of you have integrations with Bloomerang currently.
Let’s explore a few of the most popular integrations. We hope that highlighting these use cases will give you a sense of what’s possible with Bloomerang and Zapier. And, if you are interested in a deeper dive into the functionality of the Bloomerang Zapier, join us on the Zapier 101 webinar.
Many organizations are beginning to turn to other apps for more robust fundraising functionality, such as a donor portal, peer to peer fundraising, online forms with better design/graphics, and crowdfunding.
Bloomerang has a native integration with a few fundraising apps, but there are many others in the marketplace that do not natively integrate with Bloomerang. Without integration, manual data entry and imports are the only options for getting donation data into Bloomerang.
Zapier-enabled integration between a fundraising app and Bloomerang supports a real-time sync of donors and donations (one-time and recurring). This sync can be simple or complex, based on your organization’s use case.
In addition to finding (or creating) a constituent and creating a transaction in Bloomerang, the solution can dynamically code key transaction fields (e.g., Fund, Campaign, and Appeal) based on the campaign in the fundraising app. We cover how to dynamically code these fields in our upcoming Zapier 201 webinar.
This dynamic coding makes the solution scalable as new fundraising campaigns are launched in your fundraising app.
Syncing donation activity to Bloomerang, centralizes reporting and allows you to see a full picture of constituent engagement in a single platform. This not only supports revenue reporting, but also segmentation for future solicitation efforts.
Although Bloomerang has its own mass email feature, some organizations send email campaigns through a third-party email marketing platform like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
We find that organizations either manually enter data back and forth, run weekly or monthly imports, or keep the two lists exclusive and separate. The goal with an automated integration is to make email marketing efforts more efficient, more timely, and more targeted.
Organizations using Mailchimp have a choice to utilize Bloomerang’s native integration or explore a custom integration with Zapier. The decision to use Zapier comes down to the type of emails your organization wants to send. Certain types of emails/email series can only be triggered in Mailchimp via Zapier automation.
For organizations using an email marketing tool other than Mailchimp, Zapier is the primary avenue for integration.
We are going to illustrate the possible integration avenues using Mailchimp, but similar workflows could be designed with most email marketing tools.
- Send Bloomerang constituents to Mailchimp as subscribers. This is what we would call basic list sync.
- Send Bloomerang constituents to Mailchimp with groups, tags, and custom fields for sending one-off campaigns. This keeps your data up to date in real-time so you can log into Mailchimp and send one-off campaigns efficiently with no need to scrub the data.
- Send Bloomerang constituents to Mailchimp with groups, tags, and custom fields for enrollment in automated campaigns. This option gives you all the tools needed to run automated drip campaigns to your constituents with segmentation.
Here are a few ideas for automated email campaigns.
- Add new donors to a 6-month drip campaign
- Send automated birthday notifications to donors
- Send automated lapsed donor reminders annually
- Follow up on membership renewal dates automatically
- …and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
In addition to integrations from Bloomerang to your email marketing tool, you can also integrate from your email marketing tool back to Bloomerang.
- Send new subscribers in Mailchimp to Bloomerang as individual constituents.
- Log unsubscribes in Mailchimp as activities or notes in Bloomerang.
- Log preference changes in Mailchimp as updates to the constituent in Bloomerang
Efficiency and scale are the primary benefits of this integration…
- No more updating data manually between both systems or dealing with imports
- Ability to scale your email marketing efforts with automated campaigns
- Ability to segment subscribers automatically and accurately for targeted campaigns
Whether you are selling tangible or intangible products, an online store is a great way to boost your online giving experience beyond a standard donation form. Shopify and WooCommerce are great options because they provide the best in eCommerce functionality and a fully customizable look and feel.
Zapier-enabled integration can automatically create constituents and transactions in Bloomerang for new paid orders in Shopify or WooCommerce. The solution provides line-item support so that when a purchaser buys more than one item in a single order, a split transaction is created in Bloomerang (one split per line item).
Zapier-enabled integrations can account for Shipping, Tax, Discounts, and custom mapping to any field set in Bloomerang on the constituent and transaction.
- Write granular item detail AND report on total revenue per constituent across all transactions
- Use scalable mapping so that additions to product list flow through to Bloomerang dynamically
- Upgrade your online giving experience by selling physical, digital, or symbolic products
Integration with an accounting system is one of the most requested integrations. The goal of an integration with an accounting system is based on a single goal: sync transactions in real-time so development and accounting are on the same page.
An integration between Bloomerang and an accounting software starts when a new revenue transaction is created in the Bloomerang. The automation finds (or creates) a customer and creates a sales receipt/invoice for the transaction.
The workflow is dynamic and includes steps that convert Bloomerang transaction coding to the appropriate account codes in the accounting software. These lookups/conversions are covered in the upcoming Zapier 201 webinar.
Sales receipts/invoices are queued up in the accounting software for batch depositing/reconciliation.
With this integration…
- There is no more double data entry, sync in real time
- Map any field from Bloomerang to the corresponding account codes, not limited to a cookie cutter setup
- Deposit and statement reconciliations are faster and easier
- Reporting can be run immediately from both systems
- Accounting and development will have the same data
The last use case we want to explore is building dynamic reporting dashboards in Google Sheets.
These solutions are triggered based on the creation or updating of a record in Bloomerang. The data is pushed through Zapier to a Google Sheet for advanced reporting, visualizations of the data, and expanded access for team members.
This type of automation is typically pursued when…
- Non-Bloomerang users need access to data without a login
- You need up-to-date lists in “real-time”
- It is time efficient to have a real-time list instead of running a report
- You need advanced reporting beyond Bloomerang’s capabilities
The possibilities for generating dynamic dashboards in Google Sheets are extensive. Let’s look at a few examples.
The first is a Fund Activity dashboard. The dashboard will show the total raised for each Fund and the progress toward a goal. Additionally, the Fund Activity dashboard can go one step further and include the number of donations and progress toward a goal for this metric. A similar dynamic dashboard can be developed to track goal progress for Campaigns, Appeals, or other gift segmentation fields in Bloomerang.
Bloomerang does not have functionality to support the identification and cultivation of major gift opportunities. This provides greater flexibility to design a moves management model that aligns with your organization’s cultivation process. Custom fields can be configured and paired with a GSheet dashboard to track your major gift pipeline.
The last example is a dashboard to visualize task activity. This is a great dashboard if you want to see visualizations of activities your team is taking in Bloomerang.
The use cases we’ve touched on are just the surface. Other use cases nonprofits are exploring include…
- Eventbrite attendee registration and attendance — Syncing this data to Bloomerang to enable reporting on who registered but didn’t attend, as well as who is attending events but not donating.
- Searchable member directory with AirTable — Some membership programs publish a directory for members on a periodic basis. By utilizing a tool like AirTable, this can be automated and produce an electronic directory.
- Video acknowledgments (e.g. Bonjoro) — Some organizations want a more “human” element to acknowledgements and adopt a video acknowledgement tool to send personalized thank yous following certain types of donations. Donations can be segmented and funneled to different queues for acknowledgment.
- Online data collection forms — Organizations that offer a variety of programs often adopt an online form tool to deploy forms with more robust design features and conditional logic to streamline the user’s experience. Zapier integrations can support the sync of data from external forms into Bloomerang, creating interactions or notes.
- Major gift pipeline in sales CRM or GSheet dashboard — It is not uncommon for an organization to also use a sales CRM to help cultivate major gifts. A level of integration is typically needed between the sales CRM and donor management CRM to support organizational goals. Alternatively, if an organization does not want to use a sales CRM, custom fields can often be designed and integrated with a GSheet dashboard to provide visibility and management of an organization’s major gift pipeline.
When we think about integrations, it’s helpful to think of it as stacking bricks. Once you have one automation in place, you level-up to the next layer, and so on.
The journey to full-system automation is never over. As more use cases require automation or other apps are added to your organization’s tech stack, you will need to continue improving and expanding the solutions integrated with Bloomerang.
Native integrations and custom automation using Zapier supplement and extend the power of Bloomerang. They don’t replace it. Automation should start from a lens that Bloomerang is core to your donor management and fundraising technology.
By automating tasks and the flow of data between apps your organization uses day to day, you can save time, resources, energy, and more.
Thank you for attending today. It has been my pleasure providing a glimpse of what is possible with Bloomerang and Zapier integrations.
We are going to launch a poll. If you’d like to work with a consultant to set up an integration or explore your use case and tech stack, please let us know.
If you have an interest in learning more about Bloomerang and Zapier integrations, keep your eyes open as these webinars are upcoming in July and August.
Now, we’d like to open it up for questions.
- 5 automation use cases that save time
- Integration ideas for top apps like Eventbrite, Mailchimp, and Gmail
- New ways to think about your Bloomerang experience
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