No Code Integrations with CauseVox and Zapier [Webinar]
This webinar was part of a series hosted by CauseVox, a Sidekick Solutions partner. CauseVox is a fundraising platform that helps you with donation forms, peer to peer fundraising, crowdfunding, pledges, and event ticketing.
In nonprofit organizations, it is common for an organization to use many apps 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 CauseVox automations
- Why it is important to adopt a continuous improvement model for automation
Webinar transcript (not including Q&A):
I’d like to introduce our presenter today, Jessie Gilchrist and Sidekick Solutions.
Sidekick Solutions is a Zapier Certified Expert, specializing in system automations for nonprofits. Sidekick Solutions has provided technical assistance and support for CRM software for over 10 years and is the only Zapier Certified Expert specializing in nonprofit automations.
We’re excited to have Sidekick Solutions here today to share their expertise and explore how Zapier integrations with CauseVox can take your fundraising efforts and outcomes to the next level.
Thank you. 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.
Today we are going to set the stage for what can be accomplished with CauseVox integrations using Zapier.
- Explore common automation opportunities for nonprofits
- Discuss how to approach full-system automation
- Look at examples of CauseVox 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 many types of software.
While a CRM often serves as a central donor database, organizations 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. The automation of data entry 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.
When we talk about integrations, there are two types we should differentiate between: native and custom.
Native integrations, often called “direct” integrations, are built within your 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.
The other option is pursuing custom integrations using Zapier. Zapier is the software that enables additional integration and fundraising opportunities. It’s a middleware that sits in between apps you use, helping them “talk” to each other.
Let’s do a quick overview of Zapier for those that may not be familiar.
Zapier is automation software. It’s a middleware that sits in between apps you use, helping them “talk” to each other.
CauseVox’s Zapier app extends the power of the platform by enabling integrations with over 5,000 other apps in Zapier’s directory. And, Zapier was designed for anyone to build an integration. You don’t need to be a developer or know code to build an automation.
You may be wondering why or when to pursue a Zapier integration instead of a native integration.
Organizations pursue a custom Zapier integration when:
- No native integration exists
- Native integration does not align with organization’s use case
- High level of customization required
- Desired functionality is not provided in native integration
- Multi-app automations
It is a good practice to explore native integrations first, if one exists, and pursue a Zapier integration if a native one does not exist or does not align with your use case.
Now, before we dive into some CauseVox integration use cases, it is important to understand a few key concepts in Zapier first.
Zapier is a builder that lets you design integrations using steps. Zapier integrations are like blocks, each block is a task in the integration workflow.
A single integration workflow is called a Zap. Zaps start with a trigger and then proceed to complete one or many actions.
Zaps are linear flowing based on an initial trigger and then a subsequent set of actions.
Zaps can be simple or expanded to include:
- Multiple steps and multiple apps
- Filters, paths, and conditional logic
- Data transformation and formatting
We won’t dive into these features today, but it is important to note that the basics we are covering today can be enhanced to customize a Zap for your organization’s use case.
A trigger is an event that starts a Zap.
When the event happens, the trigger starts a Zap. Each trigger event starts a Zap to run and complete a subsequent set of actions.
For CauseVox integrations, triggers are based on data entry events in CauseVox:
- New Donation
- New Installment
- New Installment Profile
- New Recurring Profile
- New Ticket
- New Ticket Order
- New / Updated Personal Page
- New / Updated Team Profile
If we receive three new donations in CauseVox and we use the New Donation trigger, our Zap will run three times, once for each new donation.
The time it takes for a trigger to run in Zapier based on a trigger event in CauseVox will depend on your Zapier plan, but generally your Zap will trigger to run in less than 5 minutes from the time of the event in CauseVox.
An action is an event a Zap performs after it is triggered.
It can be helpful to think of an action like a task. If you were to complete the steps of the Zap manually, each step in the Zap would be a task that you would be required to do.
Zapier is automating that process by completing those same manual steps in an automated way. Each task is an action completed by Zapier.
Generally speaking, when we are talking about actions for CauseVox integrations, we are talking about activities in other apps. This could be:
- Create donation in CRM
- Add/Update subscriber in email marketing
- Create sales receipt/invoice in accounting
- Send email or Slack notification to staff
Zapier apps can also include search steps, which are essential to nearly every Zap.
A search in Zapier finds an existing record and, in some cases, may allow for the creation of a new record if none are found.
In CauseVox integrations, searches will be performed in other apps primarily to prevent duplication:
- Find Constituent in CRM
- Find Subscriber in email marketing
Now that we know the basics about Zapier and how Zaps are structured, let’s take a look at some CauseVox automation use cases.
Although many nonprofit fundraising have their own mass email features, many organizations prefer to 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 from different data sources, run weekly or monthly imports, or keep the lists exclusive and separate. The goal with an automated integration is to make email marketing efforts more efficient, more timely, and more targeted.
We are going to illustrate the possible integration avenues using Mailchimp, but similar workflows could be designed with most email marketing tools.
- Send donors to Mailchimp as subscribers. This is what we would call basic list sync.
- Send donors 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 donors to Mailchimp to trigger different drip campaigns based on donation activity.
- Donations to a specific campaign
- Converting one-time donors to recurring donors
- Lapsed donor recapture series
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 CauseVox and an accounting software starts when a new donation and/or installment is created in CauseVox. The automation finds (or creates) a customer and creates a sales receipt/invoice for the transaction.
The workflow is dynamic and includes steps that dynamically code the appropriate account codes in the accounting software based on the CauseVox Campaign.
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
- Deposit and statement reconciliations are faster and easier
- Reporting can be run immediately from both systems
- Accounting and development will have the same data
Many organizations turn to CauseVox for more robust fundraising functionality and want to seamlessly sync this data from CauseVox to their CRM.
Zapier-enabled integration between a CauseVox and a CRM can support a real-time sync of donors and donations (one-time, recurring, and installments). 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 your CRM, the solution can dynamically code key transaction fields (e.g., Fund, Campaign, and Appeal) based on the CauseVox campaign.
This dynamic coding makes the solution scalable as new fundraising campaigns are launched in CauseVox.
By syncing donation activity to your CRM, you will centralize reporting and save time previously spent performing manual data entry or completing imports.
Now, we want to give you a demonstration of how easy it is to set up an automation in Zapier.
We’re going to build an automation to sync new donations in CauseVox to Bloomerang. While Bloomeranag is the CRM we chose for today’s demo, a similar workflow could be designed with many other CRM that provide an app in Zapier’s marketplace.
This Zap will trigger when a new donation is created in CauseVox. After finding/creating a constituent, the solution will lookup the Bloomerang Fund, Campaign, and Appeal in a Google Sheet lookup table, using the CauseVox Campaign ID. Then, a donation will be created in the timeline of the found/created constituent and dynamically coded with the data returned from the GSheet.
We are demonstrating the Google Sheet lookup step in this webinar as it creates a workflow that is scalable. Meaning, you can use a single Zap in Zapier for all of your fundraising Campaigns deployed in CauseVox.
If you find the addition of a Google Sheet lookup table in this workflow to be a bit intimidating, you can accomplish this same workflow without the Google Sheet lookup step. The impact is that you’ll lose the dynamic transaction coding in the solution. When we get to the build, we’ll show you how you could assign static values for the Fund, Campaign, and Appeal for every CauseVox donation instead (if desired).
We want to start by setting up our lookup table in Google Sheets before building the workflow in Zapier.
- We’ve added column headers that represent the data we want to pull into our integration for each Campaign. For each new Campaign created in CauseVox, we’ll add the Campaign ID and Campaign Name to this lookup table and add the appropriate Bloomerang coding for the event.
- The Campaign ID is what will be used for the lookup to ensure the solution is future proofed (i.e., won’t break if you update the Campaign name). We can locate the Campaign ID In CauseVox by going to the Campaign settings and grabbing the ID from the web URL.
- As we create new Campaigns in CauseVox, we simply add the details into this GSheet to ensure donations synced to Bloomerang are coded appropriately. We can also update the Bloomerang coding, as needed, and the donations moving forward will be coded based on the updated values assigned. This is most common if you have a value that includes a year-code (ex: 2022 Annual Campaign).
Now, let’s hop into Zapier and set up our Zap.
- Click on the +Create Zap button in the upper left.
- The workflow starts when a new donation is created in CauseVox, so that’s our trigger. The trigger prompts the integration to run when that event occurs. We are going to select CauseVox as our app and New Donation as our trigger event.
- Next step is to test our trigger and generate sample data. This will return up to 3 recently created donations. These are samples only and will not run through the integration because they were created before the integration is turned on. Zap triggers run in real time only.
- Once we have sample data, we want to add a filter step to only continue the Zap if the order was processed by CauseVox, i.e. is not an offline donation. This is intentional as most offline donations are paid by cash, check, DAF, IRA distribution, etc. and your CRM will often require additional details that may not be required or captured in CauseVox. Best practice is to filter out these donations and manually enter them into your CRM. You can still add them as offline donations in CauseVox to ensure campaign progress is reflective of all donations received to date.
- After we’ve set up our filter, 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.
- If you collect donations for organizations and individuals via your CauseVox donation pages, there is advanced functionality in Zapier that can support conditional paths/logic to sync organization and individual donors to Bloomerang, as applicable. For this demo we are focusing on individual donors.
- Next, we can map the donor’s first name, last name, email, phone (if collected), and address (if collected) to the appropriate fields in the search from the CauseVox trigger. 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 name and contact information to the appropriate fields to create a constituent. Now we’ll click Test & Run to confirm this action is configured appropriately. This will return a payload of data we’ll use in our subsequent action steps in the Zap.
- Next, we need to look up the custom coding for the donation in our Google Sheet. We’ll select Google Sheets as the app and Lookup Spreadsheet Row as our action. After selecting our Google Sheet spreadsheet and worksheet for our lookup table, we’ll set the lookup column as the Campaign ID and map the Campaign ID from the CauseVox New Donation trigger to the lookup value field. Now we’ll click Test & Run to confirm this action is configured appropriately and pull in the specific coding for the donation.
- The CauseVox Zapier app provides the date of the transaction in UTC timezone. We want to set up a formatter step to not only convert the time zone from UTC to Eastern, but also to remove the timestamp. We are going to add a new action and select the Formatter by Zapier app.
- Select the Date / Time Action Event and a Transform of Format.
- Map the date/time field we want to convert to the Input field.
- In the Zap we will define the From Format and Timezone, as well as the Format and Timezone we want to convert the data to.
- Once we test the action, then we can map the output that is returned later in our Zap.
- Next we’ll add the action to create the donation in Bloomerang for the order. We’ll select the Bloomerang app and the Create Donation action.
- To make sure we create the donation on the timeline of the constituent we found/created in the prior step, we need to map the Constituent ID from the Find/Create Constituent test to the Constituent field in the action.
- Map the Date, Amount, and the Transaction ID from the CauseVox trigger. Then, assign a method of Credit Card, and populate the Fund, Campaign, Appeal from our Google Sheet lookup step.
- Now, we are done editing and can turn on the Zap.
- Optionally, we could add another filter here to only continue the Zap if the constituent was found and then update the matched constituent to add new address, phone, and/or email information collected from CauseVox.
The first step in getting started with CauseVox automations is signing up for a Zapier account, if you don’t have one already.
All Zapier accounts begin with a 14-day free trial of the Professional tier functionality. Following the free trial, your plan is converted to a Free plan until you choose to upgrade. Most organizations will need to upgrade to the Starter plan, at a minimum in order to build multi-step Zaps.
It is also important to remember that Zapier provides a 15% discount to nonprofits. If you sign up for a paid plan, make sure to apply for the discount.
Once you sign up for Zapier, the first step is to connect your CauseVox account.
After logging in:
- Click My Apps on the left menu.
- Click Add Connection.
- Search for and select CauseVox.
- Grant access using the API key from CauseVox.
- Settings > Integrations > Zapier
Then, it is time to explore.
- Search available apps in Zapier’s marketplace
- Look at CauseVox Zap templates
- Review Zapier resources on getting started with building Zaps
- Begin building!
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 across your tech stack.
Thank you for attending today. It has been my pleasure providing a glimpse of what is possible with CauseVox 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.
Now, we’d like to open it up for questions.
- 5 automation use cases that save time
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- New ways to think about your Bloomerang experience
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